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Pieces of Eight: A Very Charitable Donation, a Good Little Urn-er & Something Smells Like Teen Spirit

Pieces of Eight: A Very Charitable Donation, a Good Little Urn-er & Something Smells Like Teen Spirit

🎸 Kurt Cobain’s mythical 1969 Fender Mustang electric guitar from Nirvana’s landmark 1991 music video, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was auctioned for nearly $5 million at Julien’s Auctions on May 22.

“To have this legendary guitar, one of the most culturally significant and historically important guitars of Kurt Cobain and in all of rock music history return to my home state of Indiana to be part of Jim Irsay’s renowned memorabilia collection is a great honor and personal highlight of my life,”

- Darren Julien, president and chief executive officer of Julien’s Auctions

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Our Take: The Guitar that led to a seismic shift in the music industry. The cultural significance of the album and no doubt the nature of the artist's untimely demise add to the item's mystique. The gesture of donating part of the proceeds to "Kicking The Stigma", an initiative to raise awareness about mental health disorders is a fitting tribute to an artist tormented by demons throughout his short career.

🏺 An "extremely rare" 18th Century Chinese vase bought in the 1980s for a few hundred pounds and kept in a kitchen has sold for £1,449,000.  The 2ft (60cm) blue-glazed, silver and gilt vase was created for the court of the Qianlong Emperor.  Decorated with cranes and bats, it had been estimated to sell at auction for between £100,000-£150,000.

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Our Take: A global audience can see auctioned items significantly outperform expectations. A hammer price 10x above the estimate took a few people by surprise, including the auction house! They highlighted the uniqueness of the item as we all as competitive interest from the US, the UK and America as the driving forces.

💴. A rare £100 bank note found in a charity shop has sold for £140,000.  Oxfam volunteer Paul Wyman was working in the Brentwood branch in Essex, when he spotted an unusual bank note in a box of donated items.  The £100 'Palestine pounds' note is one of less than ten known to exist and was issued to high ranking officials during the time of the British Mandate in Palestine in 1927.

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Our Take: Another example of collection as a force for good! A wonderful gesture by a collector and selfless act by the staff member results in significant boost for Oxfam coffers. It's reminiscent of the generous donations given by collectors during the early stages of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

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That's it for this week, thanks as always for reading and if you have any comments please get in touch via hello@showpiece.com.

The Showpiece Team