If you want to own a small and probably smelly piece of rock 'n' roll history, and have at least $200,000 to spare, the green cardigan Kurt Cobain wore on Nirvana’s 1994 MTV Unplugged is heading back to auction for the second time in four years.
Last sold for $137,500 in 2015, the Manhattan brand sweater, which is “a blend of acrylic, mohair and Lycra with five-button closure (one button absent)," is back on the market again via Julien's Auctions. Speaking to Rolling Stone, Darren Julien of Julien’s Auctions says that it's still never been washed, explaining, “It’s very important that we don’t wash it. The stains are still there. There’s even cigarettes [sic] burns that you can see on the sweater.” Originally, Julien’s obtained the sweater from “a close friend of the Cobain family.” Its current owner, an anonymous businessman, is storing it "in acid-free tissue in a safe." Official bidding starts October 25 with a minimum bid of $200,000, which has already been matched; it's expected to reach upwards of $300,000 this time.
While the urge to own a piece of history is obviously understandable, this is all very weird, sort of macabre, and solely attainable for bored rich people. Take this quote from Julien, where he tells Rolling Stone: "Rock & roll memorabilia has become an investment. It’s not just a collector’s market—it’s an investor’s market." He adds, "I call it the new fine art market. People are investing more and more in pop culture, especially rock & roll. It’s a way to diversify their portfolios.”
With uncertainty in the economy, rising health care costs, and instability about the country's future, he might be onto something. If you're friends with a band about to achieve success, maybe steal their socks or something. They might be worth a quarter of a million dollars someday.