Kurt Cobain’s Old Jeans Just Set an Auction Record for Levi’s

The Nirvana frontman wore his patched denim in the "Heart-Shaped Box" music video.

The Levi's jeans once owned and worn by Kurt Cobain. Courtesy Julien's.

A pair of jeans that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain wore in his final days have set a record for Levi’s at auction, going for 40 times over their $10,000 estimate and fetching $412,750. 

The feat was part of a three-day sale, “Played, Worn & Torn: Rock ‘N’ Roll Iconic Guitars and Memorabilia” at New York’s Julien’s Auctions, which also included a Skystang I guitar that Cobain played at his final public performance during the band’s 1993–94 In Utero tour, which sold for $1.6 million. The house also sold Eric Clapton’s “Fool” guitar for north of the $1 million mark, at $1.27 million. 

Courtesy Julien’s.

“Throughout Julien’s 20 years in the business, it has been our privilege and honor to represent rock’s most historic and important artifacts and notably a lifetime achievement to have been entrusted in preserving the legacy of one of rock’s most influential musicians and icons, Kurt Cobain,” said Darren Julien, the auction house’s CEO and president, in a press release.

Babes in Toyland drummer Lori Barbero reportedly gave the jeans to Cobain and applied the decorative patch repairs. The distressed button-fly jeans sport numerous rips and holes, and they have been adorned with floral patterned fabric hems at the bottom of each leg.

Cobain’s roommate at the Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles held on to the pants after Cobain died by suicide on April 5, 1994. 

Cobain was seen and photographed wearing the jeans on numerous historic occasions, including in the Anton Corbijn-directed music video for the song “Heart-Shaped Box.” He donned them onstage during a concert at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City, when meeting the legendary author William S. Burroughs in Kansas, and at the 10th Annual MTV Video Music Awards, which he attended with his wife Courtney Love and their daughter Frances Bean. He was last reported wearing them publicly in France on February 12, 1994, during the In Utero tour.


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