Six strands of Kurt Cobain’s hair are coming up for auction today in the US.
The late Nirvana frontman’s locks are included among the lots featured in the Amazing Music Auction (Vol. 1) being hosted by the IconicAuctions house, and bidding opens today, May 6, at 8pm Eastern Standard time. Other items set to feature includes Beatles, Cream and Van Halen memorabilia, but frankly, all eyes are likely to be on the golden tresses lopped from Cobain in Birmingham, England in October 1989.
Revealing the story behind how they came to acquire this unique snippet of rock ’n’ roll history, the people at IconicAuctions say: “This one-of-a-kind artifact is entirely fresh-to-market and is accompanied by an impeccable lineage of provenance including photos of Kurt posing with the woman who cut this hair, scissors in hand, and a fantastic shot of the hair actually being cut! The lucky friend who trimmed the Nirvana front man’s iconic blond locks was an early confidant, Tessa Osbourne, who cut his hair in 1989—well prior to his Nevermind breakthrough—while on the Bleach tour. Tessa presented the original lock to Seattle artist Nicole DePolo as a heartfelt gift after Kurt’s passing, and she provided the original bag with handwritten provenance note, “29/10/89: Tess cut Kurt's hair in Birmingham, England, 27 Holy Rd., Handsworth, Birmingham B202BU.”
The auction house goes on to say that this rare items is bolstered by a detailed two-page provenance affidavit signed by DePolo.
It reads in part, ‘Tessa had known Kurt back in England, and they had hung out during the Bleach Tour. 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 like Astrid Kirchherr had been to the Beatles—the woman who had 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” 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.’
A portion of proceeds from the auction will benefit Crew Nation, a global relief fund for live music touring and venue crews who are facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crew Nation works to provide monetary grants to crew members during the pandemic and beyond.
“We are honored to be able to help support crew members who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make concerts the incredible, memorable experiences that listeners have come to expect,” says John Brennan, Music Specialist for Iconic Auctions. “The pandemic has been a challenging time for the performing arts, and we’re hopeful that live music will make a comeback soon—but until then, it’s important to help the dedicated personnel who make it all happen.”