On Tuesday, 9.15, the plastic crown worn by the Notorious B.I.G. in one of his most iconic photo portraits taken just days before his death was sold at auction for $595,000.
Surpassing its initial projection, Sotheby’s first-ever Hip-Hop memorabilia auction boasted $2 million in revenue, with 91% of all lots sold to an audience of 400+ registered buyers from 19 countries, over 25% of whom were new to world famous auction house. As one of many items up for grabs, the Biggie Smalls-autographed crown (along with three prints from the photo shoot) that originally cost $6, was sold by photographer Barron Claiborne for more than double the pre-auction estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.
Other items sold at the Sotheby’s auction included Fab 5 Freddy’s custom MTV ring; a complete run of The Source magazines; Salt-N-Pepa’s famous “Push It” jackets; an archive of love letters written by teenaged Tupac Shakur’s; a pair of custom Air Force 1 by Ms. Opal Lee, Niko Brim, and Sierato in honor of Juneteenth Holiday Campaign; Dr. Dre’s shiny World Class Wreckin’ Cru “Wrapped in Romance” suit and a cover study for De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising album.
Coordinated by “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels and Building Beats, a non-profit community organization that teaches tech, entrepreneurial and leadership skills to under served youth through DJ and other music programs, a portion of the proceeds from the pop culture music auction will benefit the Queens Public Library Foundation, to support their Hip Hop Programs.
Photo (Cropped): Phillip Pessar