The infamous BIG plastic crown sells for around $ 600K at auction

written by Oscar Holland, CNN

A crown adorned with plastic jewelry, worn by the infamous BIG during his last ever photo shoot, sold for $ 594,750 on Tuesday evening in Sotheby’s, New York.

The item, signed by the rapper before his death in 1997, broke auction estimates that initially valued it at between $ 200,000 and $ 300,000.

The crown was auctioned by Sethby’s collection of hip hop memorabilia, in a sale dedicated to the genre’s “history and cultural influences”.

The crown, worn by the notorious B.I.G., is on display in New York ahead of Tuesday’s sale. Credit: Cindy Ord / Getty Images

Other lots included a five-piece drum kit, once used by Questlove of the Roots, and a rapper Slick Rick’s diamond eyes, which sold for $ 30,240 and $ 25,200, respectively. The 2015 Super Bowl commercial featured a pair of “Push It” jackets worn by Hip Hop Duo Salt-N-Pepa for just $ 24,000.

Elsewhere, a collection of letters written by a teenager Tupac Shakur to fellow student for Arts at the Baltimore School also went under the hammer. Described by the auction house as “incredibly sweet and at times steamy”, hand-written correspondence sold for $ 75,600.

In a press statement released prior to the sale, Cassandra Hatton, vice president of Sotheby’s Department of Books and Manuscripts, said Biggie’s crown and Tupac’s love letter offered and “look introspect, in their own way, of their respective public personalities On the personalities behind. “

A collection of twenty-two love letters from Tupac Shakur to high school is displayed during a preview for their inaugural HIP HOP auction on September 12, 2020 in New York City.

A collection of 22 love letters written by Tupac Shakur sold for over $ 75,000. Credit: Cindy Ord / Getty Images

“Since its birth in the Bronx in the 1970s, hip hop has become a global cultural force, whose vast influence continues to shape all places of culture: music, fashion, design, art, film, social perspectives, language And much more, “he proclaims” This sale is a celebration of the original and the early era to that effect. ”

A lucky photo shoot

The crown, once worn by the infamous B.I.G., was put up for sale by photographer Barone Claiborne, who has kept the item since styling the rapper as “King of New York” in a photo shoot for Rap Page magazine. After gaining two crowns, Claiborne found that both were too small for Biggie’s head, although he was able to use one by removing its foam cushioning.

Sean “Diddy” Coombs, who owned Big Sean’s label Bad Boy Records, was also present at the 1997 shooting. According to Sotheby’s, Coombs expressed concern at the time that the photos would make the rapper look like a “Burger King”.

Still the shoot did not proceed, and as a result the photos became some of the most recognizable and lasting pictures of hip hop. In a press statement released through Sotheby’s, Claiborne described the crown as “an iconic piece of hip hop history”.

“With tragic events unfolding just a few days after the photoshoot, this image of a notoriously infamous B.I.G. became much more than a portrait – the image transformed Biggie Small into an aristocrat or saint-like figure, not forever. Immortalized only as the new king. York, but a king of hip hop music and one of the greatest artists of all time, “the photographer said.

The crown worn by the infamous BIG, photographed as the King of New York, is on display during a press preview at Sotheby's for their inaugural HIP HOP auction in New York City on September 10, 2020.

Sotheby’s featured a crown in New York before the sale. Credit: Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images

Tuesday’s auction also featured various hip hop-inspired luxury goods and contemporary artwork. A collection of boomboxes from the 1980s and 1990s turned into an art installation called “The Wall of Boom” by DJ Ross One, one of the evening’s biggest sellers, going for more than $ 113,000.

In addition, 120 lots had several “experiences”, including virtual wine tasting with Big Daddy Kane and a private styling session with Harlem fashion designer Dapper Dan.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated, including the Queens Public Library Foundation of New York, which coordinates hip hop community events.