Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Kurt Cobain's Personally Owned, Worn, and Photographed Punk Rock Duck Shirt and Nirvana Memorabilia Group. In the late 1980s Seattle was the epicenter of one of Rock's most dynamic and distinct movements. Grunge was the name given to a style that incorporated Punk, Hard Rock, and Alternative music in a new and original way, with a stripped-down, back-to-basics intent that greatly emphasized the music and raw lyrics over performance theatrics. Groundbreaking Grunge bands included Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains, but no band was more influential than Nirvana, fronted by Kurt Cobain. The group first recorded in the late '80s, but it was the '91 release of the album Nevermind that fully launched the group and the Grunge phenomenon.

    Our offering is a shirt owned and worn by Cobain for at least two important occasions at the height of Nirvana's popularity. On January 2, 1992 Nevermind reached #1 on Billboard's Top Albums chart, and just days later Nirvana taped a live performance at MTV Studios where Cobain is first photographed wearing the "Punk Rock Duck" shirt. A few weeks later, he again wore the shirt, now modified with a hand-drawn message "Kill the Grateful Dead", in an attempt to derail an important photo shoot with Rolling Stone for the magazine's cover. Cobain actually brought two shirts to the Rolling Stone shoot In Australia in February 1992, and both were photographed. Cobain proved a difficult subject, refusing to remove his sunglasses in several of the shots. Surprisingly the magazine chose a photo of the shirt that was customized by Cobain with the message, "Corporate Magazines Still Suck", rather than the Punk Rock Duck shirt, and the published cover became iconic. The Punk Rock Duck shirt photo would, however, be used in other publications.

    Included with the Punk Rock Duck shirt are two different color posters of the shirt, from the Rolling Stone shoot (with and sans sunglasses), framed to 16.5" x 20.5"; a copy of the Japanese magazine Crossbeat (1993) with the same Punk Rock Duck photo used in one of the posters on its cover; a copy of the beautiful retrospective Cobain Unseen by Charles R. Cross (Little, Brown and Company, 2008), which reprints the same photo; a copy of Come As You Are, Michael Azerrad's biography on Nivrana, with the Punk Rock Duck shirt photo on page 253; and a copy of issue #628 of Rolling Stone (April 16, 1992), with Nirvana on the cover in the alternate shirt.

    Our consignor, who purchased the shirt in 2001, relates that the shirt was left behind by Cobain years earlier at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle. He notes, "I have kept the shirt in a pet-free/smoke-free household for the past 10 years. I've kept it out of sunlight to prevent fading. The shirt is a bit grungy, a few stains and some yellowing from lack of washing, it was that way when I bought it. The handwritten message has faded a bit....I assume Kurt had washed it a few times after scrawling the message. However overall the shirt is in very good shape."

    In case you were considering wearing the shirt, it's a Medium, and although worn many times as evidenced by its label and several minor stains, it's in Very Good condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2013
    30th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,968

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $50,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $50,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Mar 30, 2013 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 December 12 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction .

    Learn about consigning with us

    Again I say thank you and I have recommended your company to several people.
    Roberta Thornhill,
    Clyde, NY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search