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Tupac's crown ring fetches €900,000 becoming the most expensive hip-hop item ever sold

Tupac Shakur ring sells for record $1 million
Tupac Shakur ring sells for record $1 million Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By Theo FarrantAFP
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In a special auction marking the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the legendary rap icon Tupac Shakur's gold, ruby, and diamond crown ring has been sold for a staggering $1 million (€900,000).

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A gold, ruby and diamond crown ring designed and worn by legendary rap icon Tupac Shakur has sold for an astounding $1 million (€900,000) at Sotheby's auction in New York. 

The auction house were pleasantly surprised by the winning bid, which significantly surpassed their pre-sale estimate of $200,000 (€180,000) to $300,000 (€270,000), making it the most valuable hip-hop artefact ever sold.

Tupac donned the ring during his final public appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards on 4 September 1996. Just days after the event, tragedy struck when the young rapper, at the age of 25, was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on 13 September.

ED JONES/AFP
A gold, ruby, and diamond crown ring, designed and worn by the late US rapper Tupac Shakur, is displayed during a press preview at Sotheby'sED JONES/AFP

The ring's design was the product of Tupac's creative vision, influenced by his admiration for Niccolo Machiavelli's political manifesto "The Prince," which he avidly read while incarcerated on sex abuse charges. 

Drawing inspiration from the majestic crowns worn by medieval European kings, he collaborated with his godmother Yaasmyn Fula to bring his vision to life. 

What are the previous most expensive hip-hop related items ever sold?

Ted Shaffrey/AP
Sotheby's specialist Cassandra Hatton holds the plastic crown worn and signed by the Notorious B.I.G., Monday, 14 September 2020, in New York.Ted Shaffrey/AP

In 2020, Sotheby's staged the first-ever international auction devoted entirely to artefacts from the hip-hop world. 

During the event, the plastic crown worn by the famed rapper Notorious B.I.G in a 1997 photo shoot sold for an impressive $600,000 (€540,000) amid fierce bidding, becoming the most expensive hip-hop item ever sold at that time.

Additionally, the auction featured the Rammellzee vs. K-Rob “Beat Bop” sealed original 12-inch single, which boasted custom artwork by the renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who also contributed to the LP's production. 

This vinyl, considered a hip-hop holy grail of sorts, fetched an astonishing $126,000 (€113,000) – a whopping 50 times the catalogue estimate, setting a record as the most expensive hip-hop record ever sold at auction.

Check out the video above for a closer ring at the ring worn and designed by Tupac Shakur.

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