The Real Reason Kurt Cobain's Guitar Is Expected To Sell For So Much Money

Prior to performing his final song for MTV Unplugged in New York, Kurt Cobain shared an anecdote about a very special guitar. He was preparing to play "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," a song by his favorite performer: Lead Belly. According to Cobain, a representative of Lead Belly's estate offered to sell him Lead Belly's guitar for $500,000. He went on to give a riveting performance that culminated in a shiver-inducing wail. Now, the guitar that Cobain played during that song is expected to fetch a pretty penny during the Julien's Auctions that are slated to occur in June.

As Rolling Stone reports, Cobain's 1959 Martin D-18E that boasts an estimated starting bid of $1 million. It comes with the original hard-shell case, which Cobain decorated with a flyer for an album by the band Poison Idea. And the case contains a used package of guitar strings and a so-called "suede 'stash' bag." In case you wanted someone's two-cents on why that guitar costs so many dollars, here they are.

One in $1 million

To put it bluntly, Kurt Cobain is famous and dead, so that makes his guitar sound like a string of dollar signs. That's nothing new or surprising. Per Rolling Stone, the cardigan worn by the iconic Nirvana frontman while playing his pricy guitar sold for "a record $334,000." According to Curbed, the Seattle home Cobain shared with Courtney Love, which the couple purchased for $1.49 million (roughly $2.6 million when adjusted for inflation) was "quietly put on the market" for a listing price of $7.5 million in 2019. In short, people want a piece of his life. 

Heck, if someone auctioned a jar of Cobain's territorial pissings, it would probably sell for millions of dollars. It's celebrity worship 101. And as the phenomenon of excessively expensive rare sneakers illustrates, scarcity makes people scared of missing out on a thing, increasing its perceived value. In terms of celebrity rarity, it doesn't get scarcer than being dead.