*The plastic crown worn by the Notorious B.I.G. in the 1997 “King of New York” photograph, shot by Barron Claiborne, has sold for nearly half a million dollars.
On Tuesday, Sotheby’s conducted its first-ever auction dedicated to hip-hop items.
Biggie’s crown, which was signed by both Biggie and Claiborne, sold for $594,750, Complex reports.
“Probably the top lot is the crown,” Sotheby’s senior specialist Cassandra Hatton told Reuters last week. “I think that crown is one of the most recognizable symbols of hip hop, 20th century culture. Everybody around the world recognizes this crown. You see it on T-shirts. You see it on coffee cups and prayer candles. It’s huge.”
Memorabilia of more than 120 pieces from hip hop fashion, design, art and pop culture were featured in Sotheby’s Auction House in New York. Items from the Notorious B.I.G. and the Wu-Tang Clan reportedly brought in $2 million.
“For Sotheby’s and the art market, it’s extremely significant,” said Sotheby’s Senior Specialist Cassanda Hatton, who has been working on the collection for more than two years. “I just said, ‘I’m doing this. This is important.’ And nobody stopped me.”
The “King of New York” session was Biggie’s last photo shoot before his death in (inser year)
The auction featured hip-hop items from the late 1970s to the present day, including Salt n Peppa’s “Push It” jacket and 22 love letters written by Tupac Shakur to his high school sweetheart.
A portion of the auction’s proceeds will go to the Queens Public Library hip hop programs and the nonprofit Building Beats, which “provides DJ and music programs that teach entrepreneurial, leadership, and life skills to underserved youth,” according to its website.