Nirvana Poster Wins BIG at Recent Auction

by Jessica Meyer

heritage-196x300 Nirvana Poster Wins BIG at Recent Auction

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions

This past Saturday, 11/14 marked the closing of Heritage Auctions’ Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction for the month. There were hundreds of amazing posters and pieces of music memorabilia available in this auction. While most of the results are not surprising, there are a few noteworthy sales. One such sale was a Nirvana poster from 1991 designed by Mark Bendix.

Legendary Nirvana Show

The show this poster advertised took place on April 17, 1991, in Seattle. The bill also featured Riot Grrrl legends Bikini Kill and punk band Fitz of Depression (misspelled on this poster), but the stacked bill is not the only exciting thing about this concert. This particular show happened to be one where Nirvana debuted what is arguable their most famous track, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.  This was the lead single from Nirvana’s second album “Nevermind”. The song had incomplete lyrics at the time, so frontman Kurt Cobain sang gibberish for the unwritten sections. Interestingly enough, the title for the song can be traced back to Bikini Kill’s frontwoman Kathleen Hanna. Cobain got the idea for the title when Hanna wrote “Kurt smells like teen spirit” on his wall. Clearly, she’d been referring to the deodorant brand of the same name. nirvana-300x199 Nirvana Poster Wins BIG at Recent Auction

It’s also worth noting that it is of significance that the show took place in Seattle, Washington. Nirvana is credited with pioneering the “grunge” genre, which is often referred to as the “Seattle sound”. Though the band is generally thought of as being from Seattle, they actually came from Aberdeen, Washington, just a few hours outside of Seattle. Even so, was essentially a hometown show for the band.

Historically Huge Sale Price nevermind-300x296 Nirvana Poster Wins BIG at Recent Auction

This particular poster sold for a whopping $9,375. It’s rare that a Nirvana poster sells for even close to this amount. Generally, the band’s posters sell for around $5,000 on the higher end and less than $1,000 on the lower end. Thus, this is a historic sale. Posters from this era in general often do not yet go for high dollar amounts at auction. But, that is something that is clearly changing. Additionally, this poster is not even in mint condition. It contains pinholes and a fold mark down the center. These factors usually count against the value of a poster. However, even with these signs of wear and tear, the poster remains in what is considered to be “Very Good Plus Condition”.  It is very possible that had the poster been in better condition, it would have sold for even more.

This poster has legendary stories behind it and features multiple well-loved bands. It is unsurprising that collectors saw its potential as a piece of concert history. I expect from here on out that we will start to see posters like these skyrocket in value, as more pieces from this era gain popularity with collectors.

For more information about concert posters and their values, make sure to check out our Concert Poster Price Guide for FREE today!


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