(AllHipHop News) New York City-based Sotheby’s is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious auction houses. The private corporation is set to sell-off some special memorabilia connected to two late rap icons.
On September 15 at 6 pm ET, Sotheby’s will offer buyers the chance to purchase the crown once worn by Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace during the emcee’s final photoshoot for the 1997 “K.O.N.Y. (King of New York)” Rap Pages portrait sessions. Biggie was killed in Los Angeles three days later. The headdress is estimated to sell for $200,000 to S300,000.
“After 23 years in my possession, I’m very excited to share this iconic piece of Hip Hop history with the public,” says photographer Barron Claiborne. “With the tragic events that unfolded just days after the photoshoot, this image of a crowned Notorious B.I.G. became much more than a portrait – the image transformed Biggie Smalls into an aristocratic or saint-like figure, forever immortalized as not only the King of New York, but a king of Hip Hop music and one of the greatest artists of all time.”
In addition, an archive of autographed love letters written by a 16-year-old Tupac Shakur to Kathy Loy, a high school classmate at the Baltimore School for the Arts, will be auctioned as well. The handwritten notes are estimated to sell for $60,000 to $80,000.
2Pac penned the letters as a 10th grade theater class student between March 1987 and April 1988. The 42 pages on 24 sheets of paper and one greeting card are signed by Shakur with closing words such as “Love, Tupac,” “4 Eternity, Tupac,” “With Passion, Tupac,” “Forever Yours, Tupac,” and “With All My Heart, Tupac.”
Shakur’s letters also mentioned Jada Pinkett, his childhood friend who would go on to become an A-list actress in films like Menace II Society, The Matrix Reloaded, and Girls Trip. Plus, the future Rock & Roll Hall of Famer also wrote to Loy about possibly walking away from making rap music before he even released his debut studio album, 2Pacalypse Now, in 1991.
“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,” says Cassandra Hatton, Vice President & Senior Specialist in Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department.
Hatton adds, “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.”
Over 120 lots will be available at the auction. The collection is comprised of unique artifacts, contemporary art, photography, fashion, jewelry, rare flyers and posters, publications, and more. The majority of the items have been consigned directly by artists or their estates. The full contents of the auction will be announced at a later date.
A portion of Sotheby’s proceeds will benefit the Queens Public Library Hip Hop Programs which are coordinated by legendary Hip Hop DJ/VJ “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels. Building Beats, a non-profit community organization focused on deejay and music programs, will also receive funds.
Sotheby’s September 15 auction was organized in collaboration with former Tommy Boy Records president Monica Lynch. She helped launch the careers of Queen Latifah, De La Soul, and Naughty by Nature, and others.
An exhibition for the Hip Hop auction will be on view by appointment in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries from September 11 through September 15. The exhibition will also be available to the public online via Sotheby’s digital gallery.
All photos provided by Sotheby’s.