In what might be the most bizarre rock music memorabilia auction of all time, strands of Kurt Cobain’s hair have been sold for an eye-watering figure of £10,005 ($14,145).
According to Iconic Auctions’ listings, the strands come from a haircut Cobain had back in 1989 when he was touring Nirvana’s debut album Bleach. The cut was given to Cobain by his “early confidante”, Tessa Osbourne.
“Tessa had known Kurt back in England, and they had hung out during the Bleach tour,” the listing explains. “She must have had a sense that Kurt would become a musical force.”
Following his death in 1994, Osbourne passed the hair onto Seattle artist Nicole DePolo as a gift. However, it ended up in the hands of John Reznikoff, who claims to be the world’s “foremost hair collector and expert”.
“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 auction house said of the item. “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.’”
A large two-page certificate of provenance, which has been signed by DePolo, states: “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.”