Legendary pieces from Tupac and Slick Rick also went under the hammer at Sotheby’s first rap auction.
The plastic crown The Notorious B.I.G. wore in his final photo shoot went for $600,000 at Sotheby’s first-ever hip-hop memorabilia auction on Tuesday (Sept. 15). The late rapper wore the crown in his 1997 “King of New York” photo shoot for Rap Pages magazine, just three days before Biggie was gunned down in a still-unsolved murder on March 9, 1997, in Los Angeles.
According to a release running down the $2 million sale, the auction also included an archive of 22 love letters written by a 16-year-old Tupac Shakur to his high-school sweetheart ($75,600); the most expensive hip-hip vinyl record ever sold at auction, a Rammellzee vs. K-Rob “Beat Bop” original, sealed 12-inch single with original artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat ($126,000); Fab 5 Freddy’s custom MTV ring ($35,280); and a complete run of The Source magazine ($32,760).
With 91 percent of the lots sold, the auction drew 400 registered bidders from 19 countries, who ponied up for Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” jackets ($23,94); a pair of custom Air Force 1 by Ms. Opal Lee, Niko Brim, and Sierato in honor of a Juneteenth Holiday Campaign ($6,048); Dr. Dre’s shiny World Class Wreckin’ Cru “Wrapped in Romance” suit ($32,760); and a cover study for De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising album ($21, 420).
A portion of Sotheby’s proceeds from the auction — organized in collaboration with former Tommy Boy president Monica Lynch — will support the Queens Public Library Foundation’s hip-hop programs and the non-profit Building Beats.