Many valuable hip-hop items were auctioned off Tuesday at the Sotheby’s auction, including the iconic Notorious B.I.G’s crown. The plastic crown was auctioned off for $500,000. Along with the crown, love letters from Tupac Shakur to his girlfriend while he was 16 were also auctioned.
September 15th was the first auction from Sotheby’s that was all about hip-hop and its culture. Overall most of the stuff was cleared out. Out of 120 items, there were 119 sold, which is 91% of the lots. Not only that, but they also made a grand total of $2,075,250. A portion of the proceeds is going toward Queens Public Library and more.
The most prized and valued item sold
The most prized and valued item at the auction was the Notorious B.I.G. iconic crown. The crown was worn by him during a King Of New York (K.O.N.Y) photoshoot in 1977.
For quite a while, the estimated value ranged between $200,000 and as high as $300,000. The photographer, Barron Claiborne, who had taken the photographs of the legend was already on the search for the crown. The crown has a signature of both Barron and the Notorious B.I.G, along with a message that reads “Crown from Biggie KONY Shot NYC 3-6-97.”
The crown is very iconic, and worth way more than what it seems especially after the tragic events that had gone down only a few days after this iconic photoshoot.
“After 23 years in my possession, I’m very excited to share this iconic piece of Hip Hop history with the public,” Claiborne says. “With the tragic events that unfolded just days after the photoshoot, this image of a crowned Notorious B.I.G. became much more than a portrait—the image transformed Biggie Smalls into an aristocratic or saint-like figure, forever immortalized as not only the King of New York but a king of Hip Hop music and one of the greatest artists of all time.”
Sotheby also auctioned off a letter from the young icon Tupac Shakur that he wrote to his girlfriend around that same time. The letters are incredibly detailed, and also mention a few of his flaws and insecurities. An example is when his letter states, “My old manager came over and said she doesn’t want me to retire from rap but I think I am because I can’t handle too much rejection and I don’t have the time,”.