TYPE: Musical Instrument
CONDITION: Light play wear noticeable on the pickguard; otherwise, in Excellent condition. Includes a hardshell case.
NOTES: COA from Heritage Auctions. Several of Cobain’s guitars have been sold before, with a Fender being sold for $100,000 in 2008 and his Mark IV Gospel being sold for $131,000 in 2006. Other memorabilia has been sold over the years, including a cardigan of Cobain's for £93,000.
ITEM ID: 4516

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Nirvana Band-Signed Epiphone Electric Guitar

DATE
Century: 20th (1901-2000)

An attractive white Epiphone Custom Shop Les Paul Studio electric guitar, signed on the pickguard by the late Kurt Cobain in silver felt tip, and by Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl in blue felt tip, on the body of the guitar. Guitar made in China, with the serial number 09051513818 printed in black on the back of the headstock.

Whilst the majority of notable rock sales come from stars of the 1960s and 70s, and appeal in large to collectors from the Baby Boomer generation, Cobain is the first rock star whose memorabilia is collected by a younger generation of music fans.

As his iconic status grows and new generations of fans discover Nirvana’s back catalogue, the value of his memorabilia such as guitars and handwritten lyrics could well be set to rise in the same manner as Jimi Hendrix memorabilia, which is now highly prized by collectors.

Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994) was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. Born in Aberdeen, Washington, Cobain formed the band Nirvana with Krist Novoselic and Aaron Burckhard in 1987 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene which later became known as grunge. Nirvana’s debut album Bleach was released on the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989.
Since their debut, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, has sold over 25 million albums in the U.S., and over 75 million worldwide. Cobain was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, along with Nirvana bandmates Dave Grohl and Novoselic, in their first year of eligibility.

Legacy and influence
Cobain has been remembered as one of the most iconic rock musicians in the history of alternative music. In 2003, David Fricke of Rolling Stone ranked him the 12th greatest guitarist of all time. He was later ranked the 73rd greatest guitarist and 45th greatest singer of all time by the same magazine, and by MTV as seventh in the “22 Greatest Voices in Music”. In 2006, he was placed at number twenty by Hit Parader on their list of the “100 Greatest Metal Singers of All Time”.

Since becoming a member of the infamous ’27 Club’, a group of iconic rock stars including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison who all tragically died at the age of 27, Cobain’s legacy has grown and grown.

In 2006 he topped Forbes’ list of the highest earning dead celebrities with earnings of $50 million, and his memorabilia has become steadily more sought after for fans looking to get their hands on a fragment of his life.

Whilst the majority of notable rock sales come from stars of the 1960s and 70s, and appeal in large to collectors from the Baby Boomer generation, Cobain is the first rock star whose memorabilia is collected by a younger generation of music fans.

As his iconic status grows and new generations of fans discover Nirvana’s back catalogue, the value of his memorabilia such as guitars and handwritten lyrics could well be set to rise in the same manner as Jimi Hendrix memorabilia, which is now highly prized by collectors.

Reflecting on Cobain’s death over 10 years later, MSNBC’s Eric Olsen wrote:

In the intervening decade, Cobain, a small, frail but handsome man in life, has become an abstract Generation X icon, viewed by many as the “last real rock star” [..] a messiah and martyr whose every utterance has been plundered and parsed.

In 2006, Cobain took the place of Elvis Presley as the top-earning deceased celebrity, after the sale of the Nirvana song catalogue. Presley reclaimed the spot the following year.

Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins referred to Cobain as “the Michael Jordan of our generation”. He also stated that Cobain opened the door for everyone in the 1990s alternative rock scene.

Lars Ulrich of Metallica reflected on Cobain’s influence stating that “with Kurt Cobain you felt you were connecting to the real person, not to a perception of who he was — you were not connecting to an image or a manufactured cut-out. You felt that between you and him there was nothing — it was heart-to-heart. There are very few people who have that ability”.