Tupac Shakur's Crown Ring Fetches $1 Million at Auction: The Most Valuable Hip-Hop Artifact Ever Sold
The rap and hip-hop universe recently witnessed a historic event as a crown ring, once owned by the legendary Tupac Shakur, shattered records by selling for a staggering $1 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York. The final bid was significantly higher than the pre-sale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000, making the ring the most valuable hip-hop artifact ever sold.
Tupac, the iconic New York-born rapper, donned the ring during his last public appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 4, 1996. He tragically lost his life to a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas just a few days later.
Intriguingly, Tupac had personally designed the ring over several months with assistance from his godmother, Yaasmyn Fula, who later offered the ring for sale. The inspiration for the ring's design came from Tupac's study of "The Prince," a political treatise by the 16th-century Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli, which he read during his prison term for sexual abuse charges.
The design emulates the crowns worn by medieval European kings, lending the ring an air of regality. The gold ring is studded with a central cabochon ruby, flanked by two pave-cut diamonds on a diamond-encrusted band, and it carries the engraving "Pac & Dada 1996," referencing Tupac's girlfriend, Kidada Jones.
This sale formed part of a dedicated auction celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, marking a key milestone in the genre's history. Tupac, having sold 75 million records, is universally considered one of the greatest rappers of all time.
His untimely demise followed a fierce rivalry between the West Coast and East Coast hip-hop scenes, centered around Los Angeles and New York, respectively. The murder of East Coast rapper Christopher "The Notorious BIG" Wallace six months after Tupac's death intensified the speculation around their deaths, fueling theories that continue to circulate decades later.