More than twenty years after the death of rock legend and Nirvana front-man Kurt Cobain, a one-of-a-kind guitar, owned and played by the artist himself, will be available for auction – exclusively on eBay.
The guitar, a Hagstrom Blue Sparkle Deluxe, came into Cobain’s possession in late 1992. Following his death in April 1994, the guitar was gifted by Courtney Love to a close friend – a member of another Seattle grunge band – and ultimately landed in the hands of a Portland-based collector. Now, at a time when authentic Nirvana memorabilia has become increasingly coveted – in 2016, US sales of Nirvana t-shirts on eBay had increased by 52 percent in comparison to five years prior* – the exclusive auction is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans and collectors around the world to own a piece of rock history. Coinciding with what would have been Cobain’s 50th birthday on February 20, the auction will run for ten days, beginning February 16 at 8 am PT and concluding on February 26 at 8 am PT. Fans can access the auction at eBay.com/KurtCobainGuitar.
“Bringing this unique piece of memorabilia to the eBay marketplace is an amazing opportunity for our 167 million active shoppers,” said Sam Bright, Senior Director of Art & Collectibles, eBay. “Connecting fans with authentic and rare collectibles like Cobain’s Hagstrom Blue Sparkle Deluxe is at the heart of eBay’s mission. The guitar represents the significant impact Nirvana continues to have on American rock history.”
eBay DataLabs analyzed a collection of buying statistics specific to Nirvana merchandise, finding that in the last decade alone, global sales of Nirvana t-shirts have more than tripled, solidifying the enduring legacy the band has imprinted on pop culture. In fact, Nirvana vinyl and apparel sales on eBay spiked worldwide in 2014 and 2015, with increased enthusiasm likely motivated by Nirvana’s 2014 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the 2015 release of HBO’s documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.*
The top five eBay markets for sales of Nirvana merchandise include the USA, UK, Australia, Germany and Canada. In the last six months of 2016, the US and UK markets accounted for 87 percent of eBay’s total global sales for Nirvana t-shirts.*
Currently, Cobain’s Blue Sparkle Hagstrom Deluxe is in the possession of Nathan Fasold, owner of Black Book Guitars in Portland, Oregon, a vintage guitar shop specializing in instruments with unique histories. Fasold remarks that “The guitar has remained un-played for decades, still bearing the left-handed wear from its former owner. When holding the guitar, it’s easy to imagine the songs Cobain could have created with it. It’s a true relic of the music icon.”
Fasold has collaborated with eBay for Charity, which enables sellers to list items to benefit nonprofit organizations. Cobain struggled with homelessness and depression at various times in his life while battling addiction – to honor his legacy and help people battling similar afflictions, 10 percent of proceeds of the auction will be donated to Transition Projects, Inc. – a Portland-based nonprofit that helps more than 10,000 people every year transition from homelessness to housing in the Pacific Northwest.
About The Guitar
The guitar has been authenticated by Earnie Bailey, an authority on Kurt Cobain guitars and Nirvana’s primary guitar technician. Bailey hand-delivered the Hagstrom Blue Sparkle Deluxe to Cobain in Seattle in 1992 at the musician’s request. Upon receiving the guitar and several other similar models from Bailey, Cobain wished to keep the Hagstrom as a Christmas gift to himself. Bailey converted the guitar to a left-handed orientation for Kurt specifically. George Gruhn, a leading expert on vintage guitars, authenticated the Hagstrom Blue Sparkle Deluxe as a 1958-1960 Hagstrom Deluxe Model 90.
Guitars are a popular item among eBay consumers – nearly 4.5 million guitars were purchased on eBay in the US over the last decade, followed closely behind by the UK and Germany.*
The opportunity to own a piece of rock history will begin on February 16 at 8 am PT, and conclude on February 26 at 8 am PT. For additional information including archival images, video footage and certificate of authentication, visit eBay.com/KurtCobainGuitar
*Data gathered from eBay global sales of guitars, Nirvana vinyl and Nirvana apparel between January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2016.