Kurt Cobain Guitar Pick Sold for $14K Now Reportedly the World’s Most Expensive Pick
Is it the most expensive guitar pick ever sold?
Not only is it a signed Kurt Cobain guitar pick — it's thought to be among the earliest of any authentic Nirvana signatures, as it was used and signed by Cobain in 1990, shortly after the influential grunge band released the debut album, 1989's Bleach, and before drummer Dave Grohl (now of Foo Fighters) joined the band.
The Kurt Cobain guitar pick was obtained after Nirvana tracked demo recordings for what would become their 1991 breakthrough, Nevermind. The auction for the guitar pick, which includes a Bleach-era "Kurdt Kobain" signature and a hand-drawn rendering of the Dunlop Tortex turtle, was arranged through Iconic Auctions and ended on June 10.
Cobain Guitar Pick Provenance
The Kurt Cobain guitar pick's letter of provenance says the individual who acquired the item "did so on Friday, April 6, 1990," among a batch of other signed Bleach-era Nirvana memorabilia, including a signed Nirvana poster.
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It continues, "During the week of April 2, 1990, to April 6, 1990, Nirvana was at Butch Vig's Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. [The band recorded] very early versions of songs that would ultimately end up on Nevermind. The week ended on Friday night with a show at The Club Underground."
The obtainer, who attended that show, got several items autographed that night. "An original Nirvana poster from the Bleach tour is exceedingly rare," the letter explains. "Group signatures from the period with Chad [Channing] as the drummer are virtually non-existent and are of the utmost rarity. Nevermind would not be released [until 1991]. The only reason these exist is because the person who originally collected them made it a habit to get things signed by whoever was playing."
The Pick's Winning Bidder
Longtime Nirvana fan Shaun Ertischek, who had the winning bid for the Kurt Cobain guitar pick, told Guitar World, "I knew this piece was special when I saw it come up at auction. Guitars and other equipment used by Kurt Cobain have gone for exorbitant prices."
The buyer marveled, "I often try to get my hands on guitar picks during live concerts. But there is usually no way to authenticate them. … This pick, however, was signed by Kurt on one side, and he drew on the other side. His personality comes through in this little doodle."
Ertischek added, "It feels surreal to own this piece of music history. I haven't seen anything like it before, and it is truly one-of-a-kind. Kurt was obviously an incredible singer, songwriter and guitarist. It is [exceedingly] rare and special to have something played by his hand and subsequently signed."
While assuredly the most expensive guitar pick in the world, a Kurt Cobain guitar pick selling for thousands is nothing new — a separate plectrum used by the Nirvana bandleader sold last year for $5,760. Other Cobain guitar gear goes for much more.
Kurt Cobain Signed Guitar Pick