During an auction in New York, a gold, ruby, and diamond crown ring once worn by the legendary rapper Tupac Shakur was sold for a remarkable $1 million. Sotheby’s had estimated it to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000, making it the most valuable hip-hop artifact ever sold.
Tupac, born in New York, sported the ring during his final public appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 4, 1996, shortly before he tragically lost his life in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on September 13, 1996, at the age of 25.
The design of the ring was influenced by the political manifesto “The Prince” by Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli, which Tupac read while in prison. He drew inspiration from the crowns of medieval European kings and crafted the ring with the assistance of his godmother Yaasmyn Fula, who later put it up for sale.
Engraved with “Pac & Dada 1996,” a reference to his girlfriend Kidada Jones, the ring features a gold circlet adorned with a central cabochon ruby flanked by two pave-cut diamonds on a diamond-encrusted gold band.
This auction was part of a special event commemorating 50 years of hip-hop, a genre in which Tupac played a pivotal role, selling an impressive 75 million records. He was a prominent figure in the West Coast hip-hop scene and was involved in the infamous East Coast-West Coast rivalry.
The mystery surrounding Tupac’s murder remains unsolved, and theories about the identity of his assailant have persisted for years. Some speculate that the killings of Tupac and East Coast rapper Christopher “The Notorious BIG” Wallace were part of the feud between their music labels, Death Row from LA, and Bad Boy Entertainment from New York. However, some music historians believe that the rivalry was exaggerated for commercial reasons.
Recently, Las Vegas police searched a home as part of their ongoing investigation into Tupac’s murder, but the case still remains open.