Our Top Five auctioned pieces of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana memorabilia

This weekend (Saturday, September 24) marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Nevermind, US grunge rockers Nirvana's second LP - a record which is today credited with forever transforming the musical landscape.

While special reissues of the album promise to expose the music of Nirvana to younger listeners, Cobain's legacy has been increasingly felt on the collectibles markets in recent years.

So much that, in 2006, Cobain topped Forbes' list of the 'highest earning dead celebrities' with earnings of around $50m. The chart is usually dominated by the likes of Elvis Presley.

Along with other 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.

To examine this legacy, and to mark to Nevermind's impending 20th anniversary, here is Paul Fraser Collectibles' Top Five most expensive pieces of Kurt Cobain memorabilia.

5# Nirvana's angry letter to MTV

Nirvana's troubled relationship with the music industry is well-documented - perhaps nowhere better than in this letter written by the group to music channel 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 lifes Dedication/ is Now to Do Nothing/ But SLAG something / Kurdt Kobaineee professional Rock musician."

It was sold at auction in 2010 by Juliens for $12,800.

4# Original Fax from Kurt Cobain to Courtney Love

While on tour in England in 1991, Cobain faxed the two page letter to his future wife and Hole singer Courtney Love (pictured above) 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 while 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 U.S tour. 

He later 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!', a slogan which later passed into rock 'n' roll lore, and was sold by Sluggo in a private sale in 2008 for $100,000.

kurt cobain guitar

#1 Kurt's Mosrite Gospel Mark IV guitar

Another guitar, this time purchased by Cobain in San Francisco. The Mosrite was one of only two known 1960's 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 - more proof that rare guitars are among the most bankable collectibles.


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