Seattle Record Store Staff Discovered a $26.57 Royalty Check—Made Out to Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain performs in the music video for Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Kurt Cobain performs in the music video for Smells Like Teen Spirit. / Nirvana, YouTube

In the early 1990s, Matt Vaughan bought a record collection with the intention of reselling some of its contents at Easy Street Records, his Seattle record store. He looked through it briefly and ended up putting the collection in storage.

Last week, upon further inspection of the collection, Easy Street employees found a royalty check for $26.57 addressed to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. NME reports that the check was issued from Broadcast Music, Inc. and dated March 6, 1991—just six months before Nirvana released their legendary album Nevermind. Easy Street Records shared photos of the check on Instagram, noting in the caption that they’re “guessing the next royalty checks were a bit larger.”

Though the check might be the most noteworthy item of Cobain’s in the record collection, it’s not the only one: Vaughan and his staff unearthed a money order to Cobain’s landlord, an old backstage pass, and even a past-due doctor’s bill. There are also itineraries for Nirvana’s 1992 tour following the release of Nevermind and their 1993 tour for In Utero.

The inclusion of the tour itineraries could have been the reason the personal items were overlooked originally, because tour itineraries were very common at the time and therefore not deemed particularly interesting. “Seemed like every band in Seattle had tour itinerary books,” Vaughan told NME. “[Between] girlfriends, roadies, management, [and] sound companies, [it] wasn’t uncommon to run across one.”

NME notes that $26.57 is about $50 today due to inflation, but the check itself could probably sell for much more if Vaughan decides to auction it off—the starting bids for a lock of Cobain’s hair and his expired credit card were both in the thousands.

[h/t NME]