Tupac Shakur’s Crown Ring Sells for $1 Million at Auction, Becoming Most Valuable Hip-Hop Artifact
A gold, ruby, and diamond crown ring worn by rap legend Tupac Shakur during his final public appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 4, 1996, was sold for an impressive $1 million at an auction in New York.
The winning bid far exceeded Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000, making it the most valuable hip-hop artifact ever sold, as announced by the auction house.
Tupac Shakur, a renowned New York-born rapper whose hits included “California Love,” designed the ring over a few months, drawing inspiration from 16th-century Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli’s political manifesto “The Prince,” which he read while in prison. The design was influenced by the crowns of medieval European kings.
Engraved with “Pac & Dada 1996,” a reference to his girlfriend Kidada Jones, the gold circlet adorned with a central cabochon ruby flanked by two pave-cut diamonds sat atop a diamond-encrusted gold band.
The sale was part of a dedicated hip-hop auction commemorating 50 years of the genre, scheduled for August.
Tupac Shakur, considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, sold a remarkable 75 million records. He played a pivotal role in the West Coast hip-hop scene, which had a well-known rivalry with East Coast rappers in New York.
Tupac’s murder in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on September 13, 1996, at the age of 25, remains unsolved.
His death was followed six months later by the killing of East Coast rapper Christopher “The Notorious BIG” Wallace, fueling speculations of a rivalry between their music labels, Death Row in LA and Bad Boy Entertainment in New York.
However, some music historians argue that the coastal rift was exaggerated for commercial reasons.
Just last week, Las Vegas police searched a home as part of their ongoing investigation into Tupac Shakur’s murder, highlighting the enduring intrigue surrounding the rap legend’s tragic death.
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