A plastic crown worn by the Notorious B.I.G. three days before his murder has sold for $594,750 in Sotheby’s’ first ever auction of rap memorabilia and artefacts. As the New York Post reports and Stereogum points out, the crown, worn by Biggie in an iconic photo taken by Brooklyn photographer Barron Claiborne, was purchased for only $6 back in 1997, and was one of the most notable items up for auction in the lot, which also included love letters written by Tupac and Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It” jackets.
The photo was published on the cover of Rap Pages magazine, quickly becoming one of the most indelible images of Biggie. According to Claiborne, the image almost never came to fruition, due to the fact that Sean “Puffy” Combs — head of Biggie’s label Bad Boy Records — thought the crown looked like Burger King paraphernalia. “Biggie didn’t listen,” Claiborne told the Post. “He wore it anyway. And nobody’s ever told me that they look at the photo and think the crown is plastic… His power cancels out the fact that it is a novelty crown."