Kurt Cobain's 'Unplugged' Cardigan, Hair Up for Auction - Rolling Stone
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Kurt Cobain’s ‘Unplugged’ Cardigan, Lost John Lennon Guitar Up for Auction

Beatles’ ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ drumhead, Elvis Presley’s gold leaf piano, Cobain hair also hitting Julien’s Live auction block

Kurt CobainKurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain's green cardigan from Nirvana's 'MTV Unplugged' is among more than 300 items set to hit the auction block

Frank Micelotta/Getty

Kurt Cobain‘s green cardigan from Nirvana‘s MTV Unplugged taping, the Beatles‘ drumhead from their 1964 visit to the Ed Sullivan Show and a long-lost acoustic Gibson belonging to John Lennon are among the nearly 350 rock-related items that will hit the Julien’s Live auction block on November 7th.

Cobain’s Manhattan brand 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,” the auction house notes – from Nirvana’s legendary 1993 performance is estimated to fetch between $40,000 and $60,000, with a requisite opening bid of $20,000. The sweater is accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity from a “close friend of the Cobain family” who obtained the cardigan.

The iconic sweater isn’t the only Cobain item to hit the auction block: A lock of the rocker’s blonde hair, given to doll maker and comic artist Dame Darcy by Courtney Love, will also be offered up with a $4,000 starting bid price. Love gave a bundle of Cobain’s hair to Dame Darcy after she commissioned a doll for her daughter Frances; this lock is the remaining hair that was unused in creating the doll. Other Nirvana items include a Platinum record plaque for Nevermind and a Gold record plaque for In Utero.

Kurt Cobain

The Ludwig bass drumhead used on Ringo Starr’s drum kit for the Beatles’ February 9th, 1964 debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, a performance that introduced the band to millions of Americans, will also be auctioned off, with an estimate winning bid falling in the $800,000 to $1 million range. The drumhead was also used at the Beatles’ first U.S. concert at Washington Coliseum on February 11th, 1964 as well as other stops along the Beatles’ inaugural North American visit.

john lennon

Another big-ticket item (opening bid: $300,000) is Lennon’s long-lost acoustic Gibson J-160E, used to compose and record early Beatles hits like “Love Me Do,” “Please Please Me,” the Please Please Me and With the Beatles LPs and more. It’s unclear how Lennon got separated with the instrument, but it resurfaced in a San Diego music shop in the summer of 1967; however, the purchaser had no idea the guitar once belonged to Lennon. It wasn’t until 2008 that the guitar’s provenance was discovered. “Its importance in Beatles history cannot be overstated; this guitar is intimately bound to the early career of The Beatles,” Julien’s Live says of the item. “This is the earliest and most significant John Lennon guitar to be auctioned.” 

Other unique items in the Julien’s Live auction include Elvis Presley’s 24-karat gold leaf grand piano, Steven Tyler’s insurance card, Eddie Vedder’s handwritten Pearl Jam lyrics and numerous items from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. That lot includes the jacket he wore to Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding, the pajamas he wore in the “Leave Me Alone” video and six life-sized Native Americans and cowboys statues that served as Neverland decoration.


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