A couple of the most important guitars in rock-and-roll history are about to be up for the taking.
The notable instruments, used by Eric Clapton and Kurt Cobain, headline Julien’s Auctions’ upcoming “Played, Worn, and Torn” sale, which includes more than 1,000 items in total. Both guitars are expected to hammer down for somewhere between $1 million and $2 million, and they’ve got the lore to back up that price tag.
“For Julien’s two-decade anniversary, we’re turning it up to 20 with this definitive music auction of a lifetime that encompasses all genres from Classic Rock, Punk, Hard Rock, Metal, Progressive, Grunge, Rap, Country, the Blues, and beyond,” Darren Julien, the auction house’s president and founder, said in a statement. “From the stage to studio, we’ve curated over 1,000 of the most culturally significant and historically important music artifacts ever to be offered for sale to the public.”
The Clapton guitar, a circa 1964 Gibson SG electric, has over the years become known as “The Fool,” thanks to its psychedelic paint job created by the Dutch art collective of the same name. It was first stage-played by Clapton when he was touring the United States with the band Cream—notably during the band’s U.S. debut in 1967 at the RKO 58th Street Theatre in New York. The Fool became one of Clapton’s main guitars, and it was later owned and stage-played by Todd Rundgren. He sold it at auction in 2000 to its current owner, who is bringing it back to the block after more than 20 years.
Cobain’s guitar, meanwhile, is the one that the Nirvana frontman used during his final public performance of the band’s In Utero tour, at Munich’s Terminal 1 in March 1994. Known as the “Skystang I,” the blue left-handed Fender Mustang electric guitar is coming to auction for the first time ever. The musician loved that model so much, he ordered 10 left-handed versions in advance of the tour, with Skystang I delivered in 1993. The instrument is considered to be one of the most well-documented and recognizable of the late Cobain’s guitars, and he used it for almost all of Nirvana’s In Utero performances.
Elsewhere in the “Played, Worn, and Torn” auction, Julien’s is featuring items from stars like Elvis, John Lennon, Slash, and more. But the guitars formerly owned by Clapton and Cobain represent the pinnacle of the house’s rock offerings.