New York - A quarter century after grunge's enigmatic rhapsodist took his own life, Kurt Cobain's iconic cigarette-singed cardigan worn during Nirvana's 1993 Unplugged performance has sold for $334 000 (R4 885 718).
The tattered, olive-green, Manhattan-brand, button-up sweater, which has never been washed since Cobain wore it, came with dark stains and a burn hole.
The seller, Garrett Kletjian, owner of Forty7 Motorsports, bought it four years ago for $137 500 (R2 011 336).
"This cardigan, it's the holy grail of any article of clothing that he ever wore," said Darren Julien, CEO and president of Julien's Auctions.
"Kurt created the grunge look; he didn't wear show clothes," Julien told AFP at a New York exhibition preview.
(Kurt Cobain's cardigan from Nirvana's 1993 MTV Unplugged performance is on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City ahead of the auction of Julien's Auctions. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP)
CNN reports that it is the most expensive sweater ever sold at an auction, according to the auction company.
The auction house had predicted it would fetch $200 000 – 300 000 (R2.9m – R4m).
The music cable channel MTV began its Unplugged series in 1989, recording live performances of acts that generally played their normally electrified music on sparse acoustics.
Cobain's haunting "Unplugged" performance with Nirvana - recorded less than six months before his suicide at age 27 - is considered one of the most iconic shows of the series, and was released posthumously.
Already deep into an emotional, drug-addled downward spiral, the depressive but singular talent with ocean-blue eyes reportedly lamented to Unplugged programmer Amy Finnerty after the set that the audience seemed not to like the show.
"Kurt," she told him, "they think you are Jesus Christ."
Cobain's left-handed Fender Mustang guitar, which he used during the band's In Utero tour, sold for $340 000 (R4 973 486).