For those looking for a proper way to honor the late Kurt Cobain besides listening to his music and that’s it, the online auction house Paddle8 is offering an indispensable piece of Nirvana memorabilia: Cobain’s iconic, expired Visa, which rocked a generation with its raw and uncompromising purchasing power. To many, Cobain symbolized “cred” in a sea of manufactured pop stars, and now you can own the source of that cred, as issued by Seattle’s similarly demised Seafirst Bank. Of course, like so many opportunistic “alternative rock” stars who followed in Cobain’s footsteps, you will first have to buy that cred, for around $7,000 to $9,000. And you will quickly find that this borrowed “cred” is useless, having expired in February 1995—shortly before the release of Collective Soul’s second album.
As the Paddle8 website notes, the Visa was signed by Cobain in blue ballpoint pen, and next to it he scrawled what appears to be a phone number that you could probably call right now and be a jerk. It also comes in a “King Of Clubs: Slot Club” cardholder from the Riverside Resort in Laughlin, Nevada where Cobain memorably composed the song “All Apologies,” in the wake of a particularly hot streak in its world-famous Bingo Paradise.*
Besides inspiring young people all across the world to reject the mainstream’s old-fashioned insistence on paying with cash, Kurt Cobain’s Visa could have been used for so many other, equally influential things. Paddle8 muses aloud about some of these, suggesting Cobain may have pulled it out to buy his sweaters, spiral notebooks, and hummus with it, or even to pay for trashed hotel rooms—all equally plausible scenarios, as drug dealers do not take credit cards. But whatever its original purpose, it will soon serve its most important one: as a corporate-issued totem of Cobain’s death that lives on in someone’s collection.
Paddle8’s “Legendary: Memorabilia From Rock Gods And Pop Stars” auction runs through Feb. 26 and also includes Frank Sinatra’s old driver’s license and a handwritten, War-era set list from U2, in case you’d rather buy something useless.
[via Rolling Stone]