Sotheby’s held its first Hip Hop auction on Sept. 15 and fielded numerous offers for 120 pieces of memorabilia. Most notably, the crown The Notorious B.I.G. wore for his iconic “King of New York” photoshoot for Rap Pages in 1997 sold for over $500,000.
Sotheby’s tweeted a photo of the item and Biggie wearing the crown with the caption, “#AuctionUpdate Following a bidding battle, one of the most iconic symbols of Hip Hop’s heyday: the crown worn and signed by Notorious B.I.G. from #BarronClaiborne’s iconic 1997 ‘King of New York’ photoshoot for Rap Pages Magazine soared to $594.8k.”
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All hail the King of New York! Tonight during our inaugural Hip Hop auction, one of the most iconic symbols of Hip Hop’s heyday: the crown 👑 worn and signed by Notorious B.I.G. from @barronclaiborne’s iconic 1997 ‘King of New York’ photoshoot for Rap Pages Magazine sold for $600,000. The photograph is one of the most recognizable images in Hip Hop culture and it has endured as the defining portrait of the artist more than 20 years since it was taken. Achieving an overall total of $2 million, the auction was a celebration of the history and cultural impact Hip Hop has had on art and culture from the late 1970s through the “Golden Age” of the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, and up to the present. A majority of items included in the sale were consigned directly from Hip Hop’s most pivotal and well-known artists and figures, several of who will be sharing their proceeds with a variety of charities. A portion of Sotheby’s own proceeds from the sale will benefit the Hip Hop programs at the @qplnyc, as well as @buildingbeats, a non-profit community organization that teaches tech, entrepreneurial and leadership skills to underserved youth through DJ and music programs. #hiphop #hiphopmusic #notoriousbig #biggiesmalls #barronclaiborne #HipHopxSothebys #QPLHipHop
From original Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill Tour posters and Slick Rick’s multicolored diamond eye patch, the auction was a Hip Hop heaven for any collector. The auction, which was available to watch on the Sotheby’s website, also netted over $126,000 for the Rammellzee vs. K-Rob “Beat Bop” 12” vinyl with Jean-Michel Basquiat artwork. The auction also sold Tupac Shakur’s love letters, which went for $75,600.
Additional notable items are one of Dr. Dre’s World Class Wreckin’ Cru outfits ($32,760), J.J. Fad’s custom jackets (up to $6,930), a total run of The Source magazine ($32,760) and Drake’s unreleased Air Jordan IV Retro Prototypes ($32,760).