As the most coveted relic in Sotheby's inaugural auction of legendary hip-hop memorabilia, The Notorious B.I.G.'s plastic crown worn during a 1997 cover shoot for Rap Pages magazine sold for $594,750.
Photographed by Barron Claiborne, the iconic snapshot is called "King of New York" and was taken just days before Biggie was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles at 24 years old.
Both Biggie and Claiborne signed the prop, which originally cost $6 and was expected to auction for around $300k. Sotheby's senior specialist Cassandra Hatton called the crown "one of the most recognizable symbols of hip-hop, 20th-century culture."
"Everybody around the world recognizes this crown," she added. "You see it on T-shirts. You see it on coffee cups and prayer candles. It’s huge."
Before being auctioned, the crown was on display at Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop, an exhibit at the International Center of Photography in New York.
Additional items sold include Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" jackets crafted by Dapper Dan ($23,940); Slick Rick's diamond eye patch ($25,200); Fab 5 Freddy's gold and diamond MTV ring ($35,280); Questlove's 5-piece drum kit ($30,240); and over 20 hidden letters written by Tupac to his high school sweetheart ($75,600).
A handful of more contemporary pieces were offered as well, like a Supreme x Louis Vuitton hoodie ($6,048) and a skateboard by the two brands with a trunk ($88,200). Plus, an unreleased prototype of Drake Air Jordan 4 sneakers.