Unwashed cardigan belonging to Nirvana's Kurt Cobain sells for $334,000
As part of the ‘Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll’ auction held in New York, an unworn, stained and cigarette scorched cardigan once worn by Kurt Cobain has sold for more than most houses do.
Kurt Cobain was the frontman and lead guitarist for the rock band Nirvana. Cobain founded the band in 1987 along with bassist Krist Novoselic, Cobain however committed suicide in 1994, three years after the immense success of songs like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Come as You Are’.
Back in November 18, 1993 Cobain and the rest of Nirvana performed for an airing of MTV’s 'Unplugged' series, a collection of live album recordings. The live album became immensely famous both for the fact it was recorded in just a single take, and also because it was recorded just four months before Cobain’s death.
During this impressive live show, Cobain wore a fairly ordinary olive green button-down cardigan. The cardigan, which had cigarette burn holes, was also stained and dirty. The cardigan has not been washed in decades and yet has still recently fetched US $334,000 at auction.
SOLD for $334,000! A vintage cardigan sweater worn by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana's MTV Unplugged performance in 1993.
Sold in our "Icons & Idols: Rock 'N' Roll" auction at the @HardRockCafeNYC and online at https://t.co/ahsXX38A8G! #JuliensAuctions #Auction #KurtCobain #Nirvana pic.twitter.com/lnxaTpxuoJ— Juliens Auctions (@JuliensAuctions) October 26, 2019
The cardigan was sold by Julien’s Auctions, and CEO Darren Julien explained the appeal: "This cardigan, it’s the holy grail of any article of clothing that he ever wore.”
The grubby cardigan was expected to cough up between US $200,000 and US $300,000 but topped that estimate by a fair margin. The item is made of acrylic, mohair and Lyrca, with one of the buttons missing.
The cardigan also comes with a handwritten letter found in the pocket. The letter, written by Jackie Farry, explains how Farry came to own the piece once owned by Cobain. Farry was the nanny of Frances Bean Cobain, Cobain’s only child. Farry explains that Courtney Love, Cobain’s partner, gave the cardigan to Farry for safe-keeping.
Julien explained that “Kurt [Cobain] created the grunge look; he didn’t wear show clothes.”
Another notable belonging of Cobain which went for an enormous amount was his custom-made guitar. His Fender Mustang guitar, which was made to be left-handed, went for US $340,000, just a hair more than the green cardigan.
Julien concluded with saying: “It’s not just a collector’s market — it’s an investor’s market. The person that bought the sweater in 2015 bought it as an investment. Now, because we’ve been getting record prices for Kurt Cobain, people are starting to sell it. We anticipate that it will sell for more than double. I call it the new fine art market. People are investing more and more in pop culture, especially rock & roll. It’s a way to diversify their portfolios.”
Check out the official listing here.