It’s amazing what fans are willing to pay to own a piece of their favourite celebrity.
If you had R200 000 to burn, for example, you could be the proud owner of six whole strands of late Nirvana rocker Kurt Cobain’s hair. The bizarre auction listing recently fetched a whopping $14 145 (R198 030).
According to the Iconic Auctions, the golden strands were cut from the rocker’s head just four months after the release of Nirvana's first album, Bleach, and years before they became the biggest rock band in the world.
The hairs, the longest of which measures about 6cm, are preserved in plastic. They came from Kurt’s friend and early confidant, Tessa Osbourne, who cut his hair in Birmingham, England, back in 1989.
The item, which the auction house says is the only available hair of Kurt’s on the market, came with a detailed two-page provenance affidavit signed by Seattle artist Nicole DePolo.
“Tessa had known Kurt back in England, and they had hung out during the Bleach Tour,” it says.
“Nirvana had broken in England first, and she must have had a sense that Kurt would become a musical force.
“When it came to Kurt, Tessa was kind of what [German photographer] Astrid Kirchherr had been to the Beatles – the woman who’d given him his iconic haircut. She even had a series of pictures to prove it: a snapshot of her and Kurt with long straggly hair while she held a pair of scissors high, then a shot of the scissors going through about 7 inches of hair. The rest was history.
“Kurt was known for his bleached blond pageboy, and she’d given him his first one back in October of 1989, just before his image began to circulate throughout the world.”
Kurt's locks have been on quite a journey.
The haircut happened in England and Tessa kept the locks in a bag which she gave to Nicole after Kurt's death. Nicole passed the hair along to John Reznikoff, who has a Guinness World Record for "largest collection of historic hair," and it finally hit the auction block this month.
Anything that has to with the Nirvana legend is sure to fetch big money.
Last year Goldin Auctions obtained the insurance company letter for the Seattle home where Kurt died by suicide in 1994 and which was signed with his full name, Kurt D Cobain, just 74 days before his death.
It was considered a rare item as Kurt rarely signed his full name on any documents and eventually sold for a whopping $18 000 (R252 000).
Before that, Kurt's acoustic guitar from Nirvana's iconic 1993 MTV Unplugged in New York performance sold for a record-breaking $6 million (R84m) at auction in June 2020.
The 1959 Martin D-18E was expected to fetch between $1m and $2m at the online Music Icons sale hosted by Julien's Auctions, but it ended up breaking the record for the most expensive guitar.
Sources: tmz.com, dailymail.co.uk, loudwire.com