The iconic crown worn by the Notorious B.I.G. and love letters written by his arch-rival Tupac Shakur are among the main items up for sale at the first major hip-hop auction to be held at an international auction house.
Fans of Biggie will get the chance to own the recognisable crown which was worn and signed by the rapper during a 1997 photoshoot, only three days before he was the victim of a fatal drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.
It is being offered up by the shoot’s original photographer, Barron Claiborne, but comes with a hefty price tag. Auction house Sotheby’s is expecting it to sell for between $200-300,000 at the New York event next month.
Fans of Tupac, meanwhile, will get the chance to bid on an archive of 22 autographed love letters written by the rap icon to a high school sweetheart when he was at the ages of 15-17.
While significantly cheaper than Biggie’s crown, it’s still expected that the letters will sell for between $60/80,000.
The letters illustrate Shakur’s close friendship with a young Jada Pinkett, before she shot to global fame.
In one letter, he writes to school sweetheart Kathy Loy: “Jada told me she can see how much I love you…”
The items will go under the hammer during a live auction at Sotheby’s New York, with a portion of proceeds going towards the Queens Public Library Hip Hop programs and Building Beats, a non-profit community organisation.
Cassandra Hatton, Vice President & Senior Specialist in Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department, said: “Since its birth in the Bronx in the 1970s, Hip Hop has become a global cultural force, whose massive influence continues to shape all realms of culture: music, fashion, design, art, film, social attitudes, language, and more.
“This sale is a celebration of the origins and early eras of that influence. We are pleased to announce the auction with two renowned and beloved icons whose lives and lyricism continue to resonate — Biggie and Tupac — with lots that offer an introspective look, in their own way, at the personalities behind their respective public personas.”