Jim Irsay makes $2 million bid on Kurt Cobain guitar

Kurt Cobain Memorabilia on Display at Hard Rock Cafe in London
Getty Images

Colts owner Jim Irsay has spent millions of dollars on music memorabilia, and he’s prepared to spend millions more in an auction that he says he’s supporting not only for the item up for sale but for the cause it will support.

The item in question is a Fender guitar Kurt Cobain played in the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video. And Irsay opened the bidding at $2 million because Cobain’s heirs have pledged that a portion of the proceeds will go to Kicking The Stigma, an Irsay family initiative for mental health.

“This guitar is big, and it relates so much to stigma,” Irsay said, via the Indianapolis Star. “When you have a mental illness, people die. These are fatal diseases — bipolar, schizophrenia, post-partem depression, alcoholic addictions. With fatal diseases, people die and they don’t choose to die. Those of us who are alive, we’re not stronger or better. We didn’t get our act together more. We didn’t have more character. That’s where it’s so false.”

The auction will take place May 20-22 at juliensauctions.com.

7 responses to “Jim Irsay makes $2 million bid on Kurt Cobain guitar

  1. Great act of self-awareness by Irsay. Not sure that half the NFL fanbase cares about anything beyond football and its apparent there will be haters. But Irsay’s statement caught me.

  2. For someone like Irsay this is like buying a trading card. I’d be shocked to learn he bought Nevermind the first day it was released. For him, this is just another meaningless fancy thing he bought to impress people.

  3. Only the IndyStar would describe a guitar sitting in an office as “glistening in the sun.” Oh and they buried the lede that apparently the Colts are auctioning the guitar in the first place so basically Irsay is bidding against himself because something something charity. A normal person would of course just donate directly to charity, but then they wouldn’t get a glistening write up in the IndyStar.

  4. I’m sure Kurt would be super stoked his cherished belongings are being hoarded by the ultra rich. The whole cardigan selling for several hundred thousand dollars thing had to have him turning over in his grave.

  5. I’m happy to see Irsay improve his life. As a recovered alcoholic myself (and lover of Nirvana and grunge music), this hits home for me. I wasn’t a big fan of his dad moving the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis, but this family initiative shows Jim’s passionate cause for helping the country deal with its mental health crisis.

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