Kurt Cobain’s £4.53million acoustic guitar is the most expensive piece of rock memorabilia | Music | Entertainment
The late Nirvana singer’s 1959 Martin D 18E guitar sold for £4.53million in 2020. Record Collector magazine has searched for the 101 most expensive pieces in rock history sold at public auction and Cobain , who committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 27, came out on top.
His guitar beat out a life-size porcelain figurine of Michael Jackson and his monkey Bubbles, below, which sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2001 for £3.8 million.
76-year-old Pink Floyd legend David Gilmour’s guitar ranked third in the all-time best-selling study.
His black Fender Stratocaster went to Christie’s in America in 2019 for just over £3million.
But the top 10 – worth an incredible £23,421,602 – is dominated by items belonging to Beatles John Lennon and Ringo Starr.
Lennon’s Gibson J 160E Acoustic Guitar fetched £1.89m in 2015, putting it fifth on the list.
That puts it second only to the Asian guitar signed by various artists – including Jeff Beck, Liam Gallagher and Mick Jagger – which raised £2.1million in 2005 for tsunami relief.
Lennon’s Rolls-Royce, which had a unique psychedelic gypsy-style paint job, sold at Sotheby’s in 1985 for £1.7million.
It was the first car in the UK to have tinted windows.
The piano on which the late Beatle composed the iconic song Imagine has been sold to the late Wham! singer George Michael for £1.67million in 2000, putting him seventh on the list.
Ringo’s first drum set – a Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl kit used in the rise of Liverpool’s Fab Four – attracted a sale price of £1.59million in 2015, to come eighth in the table.
His Ludwig bass drum – featuring the Beatles logo – sold for £1.55million in 2015.
In 10th place are Sixties singer Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for LikeA Rolling Stone, which sold at Sotheby’s in 2012 for £1.54million.
Record Collector expert Ian Shirley spoke of the lure of rock memorabilia, saying: “I remember an auction which sold several used Elvis cigars. Indeed, one of the prongs of Lennon was even sold.”
This molar was purchased by a Canadian dentist and Beatles fan for £19,000 in 2011.
Other items highlighted include Paul McCartney’s £1.37million 1964 Aston Martin and Elvis’ £265,000 stage belt.
Rolling Stone Keith Richards’ 1965 Bentley went for £763,000 and Janis Joplin’s 1965 Porsche 356C – hand painted with butterflies – fetched £1.3million.
Jimi Hendrix’s Fender Stratocaster guitar sold for £237,000 in 2012 to become the 66th most expensive piece in rock history.