Two days after Kurt Cobain’s body was found in the greenhouse of their Seattle home, Courtney Love showed up late to a raucous candlelit gathering of distraught Nirvana fans. She played a grief-stricken, vulgar recording of herself reading part of his suicide note, led the crowd in a chant calling Cobain an “asshole,” and handed out some of Cobain’s clothes, which she continued to do in the weeks that followed. Twenty-five years later, one of the sweaters that Love gave to a family friend is expected to fetch $300,000 at an auction this weekend.
“Courtney couldn’t have realized that the value of these things would be worth what they are today,” Darren Julien, who is running that auction, tells Fortune. “Those are John Lennon prices.”
The most reticent of rock stars—one who agonized about his artistic truth being fed into the thresher of corporatism—now commands his own economy from beyond the grave. In 1991, the cover of Nirvana’s major-label debut, Nevermind, satirically depicted a baby chasing a dollar bill on a fishhook. In 2019, the Kurt Cobain business is big business.