The iconic plastic crown worn by Notorious B.I.G. in his final photo shoot crushed expectations Tuesday night and sold for a whopping $594,750 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York.
The instantly recognizable relic of hip-hop history, valued before bidding at between $200,000 and $300,000, was signed by the Brooklyn-bred rapper on March 6, 1997 – just three days before his murder in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.
Biggie wore the crown for his famous “K.O.N.Y” (King of New York) portrait shot by photographer Barron Claiborne in New York.
After the studio shoot, the legendary MC flew to California to attend the fateful Soul Train Awards show and after-party that led up to his still-unsolved murder.
Sotheby’s offered the historic headpiece as part of an auction of hip-hop memorabilia that also included vintage posters, show flyers, label artwork from Jean Michel Basquiat and Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push-It Jackets” worn by the duo on tour – which sold for $23,940.
A collection of “incredibly sweet and at times steamy” love letters written by a teenage Tupac Shakur when he was a student at the Baltimore School for the Arts sold for $75,600, the auction house said.
Biggie, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, posed in the plastic jewel-encrusted crown for a cover of Rap Pages. Barron brought two crowns of different sizes to the shoot, Sotheby’s said.
“One was far too small to be used, and in order to get the now-legendary crown to fit, the interior foam cushioning had to be removed,” the auction house said before putting the piece under the hammer.
“Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs (aka Puffy), the owner of Bad Boy Entertainment (Biggie’s label), had accompanied Biggie on the shoot, and was reportedly unhappy with the concept, as he worried it made Biggie look like ‘the Burger King,’” Sotheby’s said.
“Thankfully, Biggie was game to give it a try; the result is one of most stunning and iconic portraits, and sadly, the last, to be taken of the superstar,” it said.
Wallace, 24, presented an award to Toni Braxton at the Soul Train show before attending an after-party at the Petersen Automotive Museum.
It was on a street outside the museum that a gunman opened fire on Biggie’s GMC Suburban, killing the rapper with rare metal-piercing German ammunition.
©2020 New York Daily News
Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.