The Notorious B.I.G.’s plastic crown sells for B.I.G. money at Sotheby’s, the largest broker of fine and decorative art, jewelry, real estate and collectibles, first-ever auction dedicated to hip-hop.
On Tuesday (Sept. 15), it was announced that the crown worn by Biggie Smalls in the famous “King of New York” photo shoot sold for nearly three times its original estimate. The crown Smalls once wore went for nearly $600,000.
Based upon tweets shared by one auction attendee, the crown sold for $594,750. That would be more than $290,000 if the crown sold on the latter half of the previous estimate.
The headpiece, which was signed by both Biggie and Barron Claiborne, the shoot’s photographer in 1997, was the highest-priced item in the auction hosted at Sotheby’s. Besides being worn by the “Juicy” rhymer, it’s also the same piece of memorabilia he donned before being killed three days later in Los Angeles.
A week before the auction, Sotheby’s senior specialist Cassandra Hatton told Reuters, “I think that crown is one of the most recognizable symbols of hip hop, 20th-century culture. Everybody around the world recognizes this crown. You see it on T-shirts. You see it on coffee cups and prayer candles. It’s huge.”
Back in late August, when the auction’s announcement was first made, the crown was projected to sell for $200,000 to $300,000. According to The Washington Post, other hip-hop-related artifacts, including handwritten letters by Tupac Shakur, were also sold at last night’s auction. The unpublished letters from Pac to a high school sweetheart sold for $60,000.
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