Notorious B.I.G crown, Tupac’s love letters sold for £519,872 at auction

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Tupac Shakur’s teenage love letters and the Notorious B.I.G.’s “King of New York” crown are two of the top lots up that have been sold at the first Sotheby’s auction dedicated fully to hip-hop in New York.

The plastic crown worn by the rapper in the iconic “King of New York” picture – three days before his death – was expected to go for about $300,000 (£225,900).

It fetched $594,670 (£461,243) in Sotheby’s first-ever auction dedicated to hip-hop items.

The auction also included love letters written by Tupac Shakur at 16. Described as “incredibly sweet and at times steamy” by the auction house, a total of 22 handwritten letters sold for $75,600 (£58,629).

The crown was signed by photographer Barron Claiborne and Biggie, who was shot dead on 9 March 1997.

Sotheby’s senior specialist Cassandra Hatton told Reuters the crown “is one of the most recognizable symbols of hip-hop”.

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“Everybody around the world recognizes this crown. You see it on T-shirts. You see it on coffee cups and prayer candles. It’s huge.”

The Tupac letters were sent to Kathy Loy during a two-month relationship at the Baltimore School for the Arts in the 1980s.

In them, Tupac declares his love for Kathy and writes about coming to terms with her calling off their relationship, including a letter of regret sent a year later.

There were sweet sign-offs such as: “Love, Tupac”, “4 Eternity, Tupac”, “With Passion, Tupac”, “Forever Yours, Tupac” and “With All My Heart, Tupac”.

The letters also reveal the rapper was often insecure and feared rejection.

“I just want to be less sensitive and less of a pest…what I am feeling has to do with my insecurities, and I have to handle that on my own.”

Tupac was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in September 1996, aged 25.

A portion of the money from the auction will be donated to charities for community projects in New York.