Kurt Cobain's iconic 1969 Fender Mustang guitar sold for a cool $4.5 million on May 22nd. The famed guitar was but one of the many instruments that went under the hammer at Julien's Auctions' three-day, “Music Icons” sale. The Cobain guitar — used most famously in Nirvana's groundbreaking 1991 “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video — was purchased by Jim Irsay, owner and CEO of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. The guitar, which was originally listed with an estimate for only $600,000, caused a bidding war, which led to the exorbitant final price.
Blabbermouth reported, “In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Cobain family is donating a portion of the proceeds of the legendary guitar and select Kurt Cobain items to Kicking The Stigma, the Irsays' initiative to raise awareness about mental health disorders and remove the stigma associated with these illnesses. Through grants, as well as personal donations by the Irsay family, more than $16 million has been committed to local and national organizations to expand treatment and research and raise awareness in Indiana and beyond.”
Jim Isray said in a statement: “I am thrilled to preserve and protect another piece of American culture that changed the way we looked at world. The fact that a portion of the proceeds will go toward our effort to kick the stigma surrounding mental health makes this acquisition even more special to me.”
Not long after Nevermind's mega-platinum success Kurt Cobain spoke about the effect the massive adoration and fame Nirvana was suddenly dealing with: “Either I've accepted it or I've gone beyond insane to where I can deal with it emotionally. I really don't care. I know that I'm too stubborn to allow myself to ever compromise our music or get so wrapped up in it and involved to where it's going to turn us into big rock stars. I mean, I just don't feel like that. Everyone else accuses us of it, but y'know, we're not as popular as everyone thinks and we're not as rich as everyone think, y'know? We've always had a good sense of humor, I don't think that's been translated very well. We'd rather laugh about it — (feigns happiness) ha, ha, ha.”