Kurt Cobain’s famed green cardigan from Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged concert sold for $334,000 at auction Saturday, establishing a new record for the most expensive sweater ever sold at auction and more than doubling its final-bid sale price from just four years ago.
Once again, the olive green Manhattan brand sweater exceeded expectations upon its sale at Julien’s Auctions: In November 2015, Cobain’s sweater — “a blend of acrylic, mohair and Lycra with five-button closure (one button absent), with two exterior pockets, a burn hole and discoloration near left pocket and discoloration on right pocket” — sold for $137,500 through Julien’s Auctions, far exceeding the sweater’s pre-auction estimate of $60,000.
Ahead of Saturday’s auction, the sweater had already surpassed its $200,000 minimum bid before bidding blew past the item’s $300,000 pre-auction estimate. The sweater was accompanied with a handwritten letter of provenance from Jackie Farry, Frances Bean Cobain’s nanny and a close friend of Courtney Love, who gifted Farry with the sweater following Cobain’s death in April 1994.
“It’s very important that we don’t wash it,” Darren Julien of Julien’s Auctions told Rolling Stone earlier this month. “The stains are still there. There’s even cigarettes burns that you can see on the sweater.”
Remarkably, the Unplugged sweater’s $334,000 sale price wasn’t the highest bid on a Cobain-related item at Julien’s Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll auction: His custom-built Fender Mustang guitar, used by the Nirvana frontman on the In Utero Tour, sold for $340,000. The guitar, which was previously housed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, came with a handwritten letter by Courtney Love, who stated that the instrument was among Cobain’s favorite.
Other notable sales at Julien’s Auctions this weekend included Elvis Presley’s 1974 gold Mercedes-Benz 450 ($125,000), a Jimi Hendrix-autographed copy of Are You Experienced? ($45,000), a Heroes-era David Bowie self-portrait ($51,000) and Bernie Taupin’s handwritten lyrics for Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” in a custom Wizard of Oz frame ($75,000, well over its $6,000 pre-auction estimate).