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One of Kurt Cobain’s old royalty checks was found in the basement of a Seattle record store – The A.V. Club

Photo: Frank Micelotta Archives (Getty Images)

The owner of Seattle’s famous Easy Street Records has discovered a buried treasure in its basement. Matt Vaughan found a royalty check addressed to cultural icon Kurt Cobain with a value of $26.57 (closer to $50 in 2019) dated March 6, 1991, which was a whole six months before Nirvana found fame with the seminal Nevermind. This check has gotta go to a museum for eternity now, right?

Vaughan told CNN that he was moving stuff around in the basement last week and, out of nostalgia, started flipping through pages of Nirvana’s 1993 tour itineraries. “That’s when these thin pieces of paper dropped out.” Also among these “thin pieces” was a medical bill, a backstage pass, and a rent money order receipt of Cobain’s from 1990 valued at $177. Somewhere, a hardcore Nirvana collector is continually refreshing eBay.


If you’re wondering why in the world would Cobain walk around with an overdue medical bill or a money order, you’re not alone. “It’s almost like these were reminders to him—or good luck charms—of harder times of what he had gone through,” Vaughan added. Think about it, Cobain could’ve really, really used that money early on to help repair the guitars he relentlessly smashed in the band’s cash-strapped early days.


No one really knows or remembers how all of this excellent Cobain material ended up at Easy Street in the first place. The independent record store has been around since 1988, right when Seattle’s grunge music scene was becoming big. Some of the artists who’ve performed there over the years, according to their website, include Patti Smith, Lana Del Ray, The Sonics, Pearl Jam, Brandi Carlile, The Head & the Heart, and more. So Vaughan believes anyone from Nirvana’s circle—“girlfriends, roadies, management, sound companies”—could’ve left these notable items lying around. 


The only sensible thing to do now is to continue digging through that basement. Who knows what other cherished treasures might resurface?