Notorious B.I.G.’s Plastic Crown May Fetch $300,000 at Sotheby’s
(Bloomberg) -- A crown worn by rapper Christopher Wallace (aka Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls/Biggie), three days before his murder in 1997 could fetch $300,000 at auction next month.
The plastic prop is part of Sotheby’s first hip-hop auction on Sept. 15. The event will include 120 lots with iconic artifacts, contemporary art, photography, fashion, jewelry as well as fliers and posters that document the rise and impact of the musical genre. The majority of items comes from the artists and their estates, according to Sotheby’s.
The crown is being sold by Barron Claiborne, a photographer hired by Rap Pages Magazine in 1997 for what became Wallace’s last recorded photo shoot. Wallace was killed three days later in Los Angeles. Claiborne wanted to portray the rapper as the King of New York, seated on a throne. Sean “Diddy” Combs, owner of Biggie’s label, accompanied the artist on the shoot, and was unhappy with the concept, worrying that it made him look like “the Burger King,” according to Sotheby’s.
The item is accompanied by three prints of the photographs and the contact sheet. The interior of the crown is inscribed “Crown from Biggie KONY Shot NYC 3-6-97” and is signed by both Biggie and Claiborne.
The auction also includes 22 love letters written by Tupac Shakur at the age of 16 to Kathy Loy, a high school sweetheart and fellow student at the Baltimore School for the Arts. The trove is estimated at $60,000 to $80,000.
A portion of Sotheby’s buyer premium will benefit Building Beats, a non-profit community organization that teaches tech, entrepreneurial and leadership skills to underserved youth through DJ and music programs.
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