A famous crown once worn by Notorious B.I.G. just sold at an auction for more than half a million dollars.
On Tuesday, Sotheby’s ended up conducting its first-ever auction dedicated to coveted hip-hop items. Unsurprisingly, the most anticipated item of the night was the crown Biggie wore in the iconic 1997 “King of New York” photograph shot by Barron Claiborne. The portrait session was conducted for Rap Pages magazine just a few days before Biggie’s murder.
While the piece was predicted to sell for an already outrageous $300,000, it ultimately sold for a whopping $594,750. While that seems pretty high for a plastic crown, the number makes a lot more sense once you add the fact that the item was signed by both Biggie and Claiborne and is inscribed with the date of the photoshoot.
“Probably the top lot is the crown,” Sotheby’s senior specialist Cassandra Hatton told Reuters last week prior to the auction. “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.”
Some of the other items that sold at the auction included a pair of Salt-N-Pepa “Push It” jackets that sold for $19,000; Slick Rick’s diamond eye patch for $20,000); Fab 5 Freddy’s gold and diamond MTV ring for $28,000; a complete run of Source magazine for $26,000; and 22 unpublished letters from 2Pac to his high school sweetheart for $60,000.
For a hip-hop head with hundreds of thousands of dollars laying around, that piece was definitely a good investment.