Home News Self-Coronation at Sotheby’s: Tupac’s Crown Ring Comes to Auction

Self-Coronation at Sotheby’s: Tupac’s Crown Ring Comes to Auction

by Madonna

Three days before he was fatally shot on September 7, 1996, Tupac Shakur made his final public appearance at the annual MTV Video Music Awards. A custom ring he wore to the event is set to go on the block as part of Sotheby’s Hip Hop sale with an estimate of $300,000—the latest in a series of memorabilia auctions connected to the hip hop legend, who also went by 2Pac, Pac and Makaveli.

The ring is grand in stature, with a thick diamond-encrusted band topped by a prominent crown featuring diamonds and cabochon rubies. The outer-facing side of the band is inscribed with “Pac & Dada 1996”—a reference to Tupac’s engagement to Kidada Jones. Tupac designed the piece, but its creation was organized by Tupac’s godmother, advisor and money manager Yaasmyn Fula, who is also the current owner of the ring.


Inspired by Tupac’s well-known admiration of Niccolo Machiavelli’s political manifesto The Prince, the ring was modeled after the crowns worn by European medieval kings, according to Sotheby’s, which will offer the jewelry for sale later this month during its third annual auction dedicated to hip hop history. The design was “an act of self-coronation,” according to Fula.


“Few, if any, cultural moments have made as explosive a global impact in such a short amount of time as Hip Hop,” said Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s global head of science and popular culture, in a statement. Artwork, sneakers, clothing and artifacts from hip hop greats like the Wu-Tang Clan and Nas will also be part of the sale. Celebrating the 50th year of the music genre, created in the South Bronx in 1973, the auction is presented in collaboration with entertainment company Mass Appeal and was curated by Monica Lynch, former president of Tommy Boy Records.


Mass Appeal is also hosting several other initiatives marking the anniversary, including an exhibition at Fotografiska, an immersive show at Hall des Lumieres and an upcoming concert at Yankee Stadium headlined by Run DMC.

The demand for Tupac memorabilia

This isn’t the first time Sotheby’s has offered rare items previously owned by Tupac, which remain in demand decades after the artist’s death. In 2020, the auction house sold an archive of high school love letters written by the rapper while he attended the Baltimore School for the Arts. The 22-page trove written for fellow student Kathy Loy chronicled their two-month long romance and sold for $75,600.

Two years later, Sotheby’s also offered up an unpublished book of haikus written by an 11-year-old Tupac to his incarcerated godfather Jamal Joseph, who was a member of the Black Panther party. The poems sold for more than $300,000. Tupac, whose parents were also active Black Panthers during the 1960s and 1970s, likely wrote the manuscript under constant FBI surveillance, according to the auctioneer.

Other Tupac sales have included the 2019 auction of a 1995 prison ID card issued to Tupac by the State of New York Department of Correctional Services, which sold for $30,000. And in 2016, a four-page letter written by an incarcerated Tupac to the publicist of Death Row Records fetched more than $172,000.

One of the more notable Tupac memorabilia auctions occurred in 2017, when his former girlfriend Madonna managed to halt the online sale of a letter written to her by the late hip-hop icon. Madonna later lost a legal battle over the sale of the letter, which eventually went up for auction in 2019.

Meanwhile, the car Tupac was riding in during his shooting in 1996 is currently being offered up by a Las Vegas dealership, which has been attempting to sell the BMW 7 Series for five years. Originally owned by Death Row Records, the infamous vehicle is currently being offered for $1.75 million.

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