Sotheby’s has made history announcing its first ever hip hop auction which will be taking place next month. Items to be auctioned include the love letters Tupac wrote as a teenager and Biggie’s iconic crown.
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The auction will kick off on Sept. 15. In addition to the crown and the letters, the sale will also feature 120 lots including hip hop related clothing, jewelry arts and more.
Biggie’s crown is the one he wore during his last photo shoot in 1997 that took place three days before his murder. It is expected to go for somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000.
That is quite a large sum of money considering the crown is made of plastic. In fact, the hip hop star’s record label was concerned the crown would make him look more like Burger King than the King of New York.
“You’re not so much selling the object as selling the story behind it,” explained senior specialist at Sotheby’s Cassandra Hatton.
“It’s something that we all recognize. All you have to say is Biggie’s crown. Even my grandma – and I love Grandma, but she’s not hip. She knew what Biggie crown was,” Hatton went on to say.
The other items that will be the stars of the show are Tupac’s love letters. The collection includes 22 letters he wrote to his girlfriend Kathy Loy when he was a teenager in Baltimore.
The 42 pages are written in a shaky adolescent handwriting and offer some insight into Tupac’s lyrical talent that would make him famous in later years. He talks about his romantic feelings and his fears of losing his girlfriend.
Some quotes from the letters include the following.
“I love you now more than ever. So forgive me for carrying on. I love you beautiful. Still love me? With all my heart, Tupac Shukar.
Then he adds the postscript, “Will you call me tonight at 11:40? Just to check to see if I’m okay.”
The letters are expected to sell for anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000.
The sale will not only be about selling memorabilia, it will be about the history of hip hop. It will trace the genre from its origination in the late 70’s, through its golden age in the 80’s and 90’s, up until the present.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to non-profit community organizations including the DJ program Building Beats which aims to engage underserved youth.
Hatton explains that the charity aspect is important because it’s “about celebrating the history of hip hop and how much of an impact it’s had on culture.
We wanted to support organizations that themselves supported the preservation of the history of hip hop.”
The sale is unique, not only because it’s the first of its kind to honor hip hop, but also because many of the cosigners are artists rather than collectors.
Hatton explains, “That’s kind of a big conversation in this world, do the artists get any benefits form the sale of their art? In this case we can absolutely say yes.”
If you have a big enough wallet, mark your calendars for the auction that starts Sept. 15, or just tune in to find out how much these items end up raking in.