The Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘King Of New York’ Crown Sells For Over $500,000 At Sotheby’s Hip Hop Auction

2Pac’s teenage love letters, a “Beat Bop” vinyl, and The Wall of Boom brought in large bids too.

(AllHipHop News) On September 15, Sotheby’s held its first auction dedicated to Hip Hop. Over 91% of the 119 lots were sold, and the New York City-based event made $2,075,250 in sales. According to Sotheby’s, more than ten new artist auction records were also achieved that night. 

Monica Lynch, former president of Tommy Boy Records, helped organize the auction. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels-coordinated Hip Hop Programs for the Queens Public Library Foundation as well as the non-profit DJ/music community organization Building Beats.

Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace’s ‘K.O.N.Y. (King of New York)’ crown worn during his final photoshoot in 1997 was one of the top items up for sale. Photographer Barron Claiborne said, “After 23 years in my possession, I’m very excited to share this iconic piece of Hip Hop history with the public.”

The signed Biggie headpiece sold for $594,750. Reportedly, five different bidders competed for the crown for over 7 minutes. The price rose to nearly triple the low pre-auction estimate of $200,000. 

An archive of 22 autographed love letters from a 16-year-old Tupac Shakur to a high school sweetheart at the Baltimore School for the Arts made $75,600. The 42 pages on 24 sheets of paper were written between March 1987 and April 1988.

A Rammellzee vs. K-Rob “Beat Bop” original vinyl from 1983 sold for $126,000, becoming the most expensive Hip Hop vinyl record sold at auction. The “Beat Bop” 12-inch featured original artwork by famed graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

DJ Ross One’s The Wall of Boom art installation also brought in over six figures by fetching $113,400. Artist auction records were set for Janette Beckman, Chi Modu, Schoolly D, Tim Conlon, Shirt King Phade, Ed Piskor, Buddy Esquire, LA2/LAROC, Derek Ridgers, Mpozi Tolbert, John Nordell, Egyptian Lover, and Phil Knott.

“We are thrilled with the results from tonight’s historic Hip Hop auction in New York, the birthplace of Hip Hop,” stated Cassandra Hatton, Vice President & Senior Specialist in Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department.Since the idea of this sale first began taking shape more than seven years ago, before coming together in earnest two years ago after I was introduced to Monica Lynch, it has been a labor of love to organize an auction of this magnitude and significance at Sotheby’s.”

Hatton added, “Throughout the sale, we saw strong bidding from across age brackets and countries, with significant interest from leading cultural institutions in the U.S. Most importantly, we’re proud to have been able to showcase the works of so many talented artists, rappers, designers, and photographers, among others, many of whom consigned their work directly to the auction. To give back to the culture and share a portion of Sotheby’s proceeds to support two critical organizations in educating the next generation about Hip Hop and preserving its legacy is emblematic of the supportive community that defines Hip Hop.”