Tupac Shakur ring scores record-breaking sale at hip-hop auction

New York, New York – A gold, ruby, and diamond crown ring worn by rap legend Tupac Shakur during his last public appearance just sold for a record $1 million at auction.

Sotheby's in New York auctioned off a gold, ruby, and diamond crowned ring on Tuesday which belonged to rapper Tupac Shakur, and sold for a record amount.
Sotheby's in New York auctioned off a gold, ruby, and diamond crowned ring on Tuesday which belonged to rapper Tupac Shakur, and sold for a record amount.  © Collage: IMAGO / UPI Photo & ZUMA Wire

The winning bid was well above Sotheby's pre-sale estimate of between $200,000 and $300,000, and has become the most valuable hip-hop artifact ever sold, the auction house said.

The New York-born rapper wore the ring during his final public appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 4, 1996.

He was shot dead by an unidentified assailant in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas just days later on September 13, at only 25-years-old.

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Tupac, whose hits included California Love, designed the ring over the course of a few months, doing so through his godmother Yaasmyn Fula, who put the ring up for sale.

The rapper was influenced by 16th century Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli's political manifesto The Prince, which he read while in prison on sex abuse charges.

A gold circlet studded with a central cabochon ruby flanked by two pave-cut diamonds, modeled after the crowns of the medieval kings of Europe, sits atop a diamond-encrusted gold band, and includes the engraving "Pac & Dada 1996," a reference to his girlfriend Kidada Jones.

Tupac Shakur leaves his imprint on hip-hop history

The sale was part of a dedicated hip-hop auction to mark 50 years of the genre which falls in August this year. As Tupac is considered by many to be one of the greatest rappers of all time, it makes sense the ring ended up being the top seller.

He was a central figure in the Los Angeles-based West Coast hip-hop scene, which feuded with rival East Coast rappers in New York. His killers have never been caught and theories about who was responsible have long abounded.

Last week, Las Vegas police searched a home as part of their reopened investigation into Tupac's murder.

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / UPI Photo & ZUMA Wire

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