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Kurt Cobain’s ‘Unplugged’ sweater sells for $437K

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana during the taping of 'MTV Unplugged' at Sony Studios in New York City, in November 1993.
Kurt Cobain of Nirvana during the taping of 'MTV Unplugged' at Sony Studios in New York City, in November 1993. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

For the second time in nearly four years, Kurt Cobain‘s vintage green cardigan from Nirvana‘s 1993 MTV Unplugged performance has been sold off at an auction.

The iconic garment worn by the late Nirvana frontman was listed on Julien’s Auctions under the Icons and Idols: Rock ‘n’ Roll category. It sold for US$334,000 last Saturday, which equates to more than $437,000 CAD.

The item, which has never been washed, was expected to pull in between US$200,000 and $300,000.

“It’s very important that we don’t wash it,” Darren Julien of Julien’s Auctions told Rolling Stone. “The stains are still there. There’s even cigarettes burns that you can see on the sweater.”

 

This image released by Julien’s Auctions shows an olive green cardigan sweater worn by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s MTV’s ‘Unplugged’ performance. The sweater, along with Cobain’s custom Fender guitar, were among many rock and roll items up for auction on Oct. 25 and 26.
This image released by Julien’s Auctions shows an olive green cardigan sweater worn by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s MTV’s ‘Unplugged’ performance. The sweater, along with Cobain’s custom Fender guitar, were among many rock and roll items up for auction on Oct. 25 and 26. Julien's Auctions via AP

Its most recent seller, Garrett Kletjian — who is a diehard Cobain fan — bought the sweater in November 2015 for just over $180,000, according to Rolling Stone — meaning he profited more than 100 per cent from the investment.

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On his decision to sell the piece, Kletjian admitted that protecting it felt more like a burden than something he could enjoy.

Kletjian claimed he made the decision after the iconic Louvre Museum (in Paris, France) asked if they could display the item and realized no one was fully able to appreciate it while it was locked away in his Pennsylvania home.

“That’s what started to bother me,” he said. “I have this sweater. And in a million years, you would never think that this thing would be sitting in a safe in some house in rural Pennsylvania, right?”

WATCH: Nirvana rehearses ‘Polly’ before their infamous ‘MTV Unplugged’ set in 1993

“That this is not what you would expect from such a significant piece of rock and roll history,” he added.

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While the Manhattan-brand sweater has been preserved well over the last half-decade, it has a lot of wear, according to the original listing, including a missing button, cigarette burn holes and discolouration near each of its exterior pockets.

Before making it’s way to Kletjian and then it’s more recent buyer, the cardigan had been gifted by Cobain’s wife Courtney Love to a close friend, Jackie Farry, after the death of the Smells Like Teen Spirit rocker in 1994.

Farry also served as the nanny for the celebrity couple’s only child, Frances Bean Cobain.

Click to play video 'Dirty paper plate once used by Kurt Cobain sells at auction for $22,400 USD' Dirty paper plate once used by Kurt Cobain sells at auction for $22,400 USD
Dirty paper plate once used by Kurt Cobain sells at auction for $22,400 USD

Upon its sale, the garment was accompanied by both a handwritten letter and a typed, signed letter from Farry confirming its authenticity.

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adam.wallis@globalnews.ca