The item, signed by the rapper days before his death in 1997, shattered the broken auction estimates that had initially valued him at between $ 200,000 and $ 300,000.
The crown, worn by Notorious BIG, was on display in New York before the sale on Tuesday. Credit: Cindy Horde / Getty images
Other lots included a five-piece drum kit once used by Questlove of The Roots and one of rapper Slick Rick’s diamond glasses, which sold for $ 30,240 and $ 25,200, respectively. A pair of Push It jackets worn by the hip-hop duo Salt-N-Pepa in a 2015 Super Bowl ad cost just under $ 24,000.
Elsewhere, a collection of letters written by teenager Tupac Shakur to a fellow student at the Baltimore School of the Arts also went with the hammer. Described by the auction house as “incredibly sweet and at times evaporated”, the handwritten correspondence sold for $ 75,600.
In a press release issued before the sale, Sotheby’s Vice President of Books and Manuscripts Cassandra Hatton said Biggie’s crown and Tupac’s love letters also offered “an introspective look in their own way at the person behind their respective public figures.” “
An archive of 22 love letters written by Tupac Shakur is selling for over $ 75,000. Credit: Cindy Horde / Getty images
“Since its birth in the Bronx in the 1970s, hip-hop has become a global cultural force whose enormous influence continues to shape all areas of culture: music, fashion, design, art, film, social attitudes, language. and others, ”she was quoted as saying. “This sale is a celebration of the origins and early ages of this influence.”
Fateful photo session
The crown, once worn by Notorious BIG, was put up for sale by photographer Barron Claiborne, who has retained the subject since shaping the rapper as “King of New York” in a photo shoot for Rap Pages magazine. After obtaining two crowns, Claiborne found that both were too small for Biggie’s head, although he managed to use one to remove her foam.
Sean “Didi” Combs, who owns the Biggie Bad Boy Records label, also appeared in the 1997 filming. According to Sotheby’s at the time, Combs expressed concern that the photos would make the rapper look like “Burger King”.
The Notorious BIG, wearing the crown “KONY (King of New York)”, which will be sold at auction as part of the hip-hop sale of Sotheby’s Credit: Baron Clerborn
However, the photos continued and the resulting photos became one of the most recognizable and lasting portraits of hip-hop. In a press release published by Sotheby’s, Claiborne described the crown as “an iconic part of hip-hop history.”
“With the tragic events that unfolded just a few days after the photo shoot, this image of a crowned Notorious BIG became much more than a portrait – the image turned Biggie Smalls into an aristocratic or saint figure, forever immortalized as not only the king of New York but the king of hip “Hop music and one of the greatest artists of all time,” said the photographer.
The crown of the photo at Sotheby’s New York before the sale. Credit: Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty image
Tuesday’s auction also included a variety of hip-hop-inspired luxury goods and contemporary artwork. A collection of boomboxes from the 80s and 90s, turned into an art installation entitled “The Wall of Boom” by DJ Ross One, was one of the best-selling dinners for over $ 113,000.
Also among the 120 lots were a number of “experiences”, including a virtual wine tasting with Big Daddy Kane and a private styling session with fashion designer Harlem Dapper Dan.
Part of the proceeds will be donated to charities, including the Queens Public Library Foundation in New York, which coordinates the hip-hop community’s programs.