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Sweater worn by Kurt Cobain sells at auction for $75K

Photo by Gie Knaeps/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Photo by Gie Knaeps/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A sweater worn by Kurt Cobain during the singer/guitarist’s last photo shoot with Nirvana sold for $75,000 at auction on Saturday (May 18th). The cardigan, which Cobain wore in the summer of 1993 during a photo session before the release of the band’s In Utero LP, more than tripled pre-auction estimates of $20,000.

Julien’s Auctions, which offered the item, wrote about it, “The shoot was meant to take place in Central Park in New York City, but due to Cobain being sick just hours before, the shoot was relocated to the basement of the hotel where the band was staying. Cobain showed up three hours late to the shoot and immediately asked for a bucket due to his nausea.”

Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, later gave the sweater to “an acquaintance” at her husband’s funeral in 1994. It is unclear if that acquaintance was the sweater’s seller or if it had changed hands since then.

Although designers at the time of Nirvana’s success tried to copy Cobain’s dress style, Nirvana biographer Charles R. Cross told us that idea of Cobain being a fashion icon was absurd: “Kurt picked his clothes by sheer accident. They were really about his poverty. He had ripped-up jeans, he wore flannel shirts . . . the most insane aspect of his legacy is that, you know, even while Kurt was alive, fashion designers started selling fancy flannel shirts. So it’s really ironic that this style he created by accident has had such a lasting impact.”

Cobain’s green cardigan from Nirvana’s 1994 MTV Unplugged performance sold for $137,000 at auction in 2015.

Another Cobain item, a handwritten setlist from an April 1990 concert in Washington, D.C. — which he wrote with black marker on a paper plate — sold for $23,000, more than 10 times its pre-auction estimate of $2,000. According to Julien’s, Cobain had eaten some pizza before the show and proceeded to write the set list on his plate.

Other items of note from the Julien’s Auctions sale were a black acoustic guitar used by Prince that went for $89,000; Bob Dylan’s handwritten and signed lyrics for “Blowin’ In The Wind,” which sold for $70,000; a military style jacket worn by Michael Jackson that sold for $76,800; a shirt worn by Queen’s Freddie Mercury for his last filmed performance that went for $54,000; Eddie Van Halen’s signed and played 2004 black and yellow striped Charvel EVH Art Series guitar that sold for $15,000 and more.