A Dirty Paper Plate Used by Kurt Cobain Just Sold for $22,400

After eating pizza off the plate, Cobain used it to write the setlist for a Nirvana show in 1990.
Bettina Makalintal
Brooklyn, US
a split-screen image of a rectangular paper plate with a pizza imprint to the left of kurt cobain singing into a microphone
Photo: Larry Washburn via Getty Images; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc. via Getty Images

The California-based auction house Julien's traffics primarily in celebrity memorabilia, from the lurid (like property from Sharon Tate's estate) to the recognizably iconic (like Marilyn Monroe's "Happy Birthday Mr. President" dress). Britney Spears's rough mixes… on cassette? They had them. A ten shilling note signed by Paul McCartney? Apparently worth $570. There is truly no telling where people with too much disposable income will stop when it comes to their celebrity obsessions.


And that's why someone, this weekend, spent the equivalent of a brand new car on a used paper plate: one that Kurt Cobain allegedly once held and used, and onto which he scrawled the setlist for what appears to be a pretty solid show. The auction house obviously knew it was valuable, listing its estimated value as $1,000-2,000, but they severely underestimated the bounds of fandom. The plate raked in 11 times more than expected, with a winning bid of $22,400. Alas, over time, the drops of pizza grease appear to have faded.

And because a high-value item on auction would be nothing without provenance, Julien's had that, too. According to the listing, Cobain was eating pizza before a show at the 9:30 club in DC on April 23, 1990, and after downing a slice or two, he wrote the setlist for the show on his plate. When Nirvana finished playing, Johnny Riggs of the band THUD—who provided a signed letter of authenticity, as well as a show flyer, with the plate—then took the plate and apparently held onto it for almost three whole decades.

Even that, however, was nothing compared to another piece of Cobain memorabilia. As Rolling Stone reported, Julien's also auctioned the argyle mohair sweater that Cobain wore in his last official photoshoot, which sold for a cool $75,000 and at the very least comes with a book from the photographer.

Earlier this month, a man in Kansas tried to sell a piece of half-eaten pizza that had allegedly been bitten into by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Maybe that man underestimated its worth: he listed it for only $50, even with the addition of a "used hand wipe and toothpick" and a saliva test strip. Mahomes might not yet be as famous as Cobain, but hopefully that dude held onto the plate, at least.