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Kurt Cobain


The top five sales of Kurt Cobain memorabilia

Since becoming a member of the infamous '27 Club', a group of iconic rock stars including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison who all tragically died at the age of 27, Cobain's legacy has grown and grown.

In 2006 he topped Forbes' list of the highest earning dead celebrities with earnings of $50 million, and his memorabilia has become steadily more sought after for fans looking to get their hands on a fragment of his life.

Whilst the majority of notable rock sales come from stars of the 1960s and 70s, and appeal in large to collectors from the Baby Boomer generation, Cobain is the first rock star whose memorabilia is collected by a younger generation of music fans.

As his iconic status grows and new generations of fans discover Nirvana's back catalogue, the value of his memorabilia such as guitars and handwritten lyrics could well be set to rise in the same manner as Jimi Hendrix memorabilia, which is now highly prized by collectors.

Here we list the top five most expensive pieces of Kurt Cobain memorabilia sold to date:

5) Angry letter to MTV

The undated handwritten letter read:

"Dear Empty TV/ the entity of all Corporate / GODS / We will survive without you/ easily - - the / oldschool is going / DOWN FAST/ my life’s Dedication/ is Now to Do Nothing/ But SLAG something / Kurt Kobaineee professional Rock musician."

It was sold at auction in 2010 by Julien's for $12,800.

4) Original fax from Kurt Cobain to Courtney Love

Whilst on tour in England in 1991, Cobain faxed the two page letter to Courtney Love from a hotel in Sheffield. It contains a description of him tripping on acid, along with mentioning their appearance of Top of the Pops. The original letter sold at a Christie's auction in 2004 for $19,120.

3) Kurt Cobain's 1953 Martin D-18 guitar

The guitar was purchased by Cobain whilst on tour, shortly before the release of the seminal 'Nevermind' in 1991. It was later given by Cobain as a gift to singer Mary Lou Lord during their brief relationship and sold at auction in 2007 for $29,875.

2) Kurt's smashed Fender Mustang guitar

Cobain smashed the guitar at a gig during their first US tour. Whilst in New Jersey, he then traded it with friend and punk guitarist Sluggo (of the band Grannies and Huballaloo) for a playable Gibson SG. The Fender was signed and inscribed 'If it's illegal to rock and roll, throw my ass in jail!', and was sold by Sluggo in a private sale in 2008 for $100,000.

1) Mark IV Gospel guitar

The guitar, purchased by Cobain in San Francisco, was one of only two known 1960s Mark IV Gospels. Still in its original case, it was first sold at auction in 1994 for $75,000. It appeared for sale again in Texas in 2004, when it brought $117,500, and finally sold for a third time by Heritage Auction Galleries in 2006 for $131,000.

Images: Julien's, Christie's, Heritage, Kurts Guitars Now

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