A diamond and ruby ring designed by rap legend Tupac Shakur sold for more than $1 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York on Tuesday, well beyond the $300,000 it was expected to fetch.
Tupac designed the crown ring in 1996, just before he was shot and killed in one of the music industry’s greatest mysteries, to celebrate his now infamous deal with Death Row Records and his release on bond from a correctional facility in New York.
The ring bears the inscription “Pac & Dada 1996” on the palm-facing side of the band to celebrate his recent engagement to Kidada Jones, the daughter of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton and sister to fellow actress Rashida Jones.
Tupac wore the ring during his last public appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards, just days before his death. The late rapper’s godmother and trusted advisor, Yaasmyn Fula, put it up for auction.
It is among the most valuable hip-hop artifacts ever sold at auction, trailing behind the Wu-Tang Clan’s literal one-of-a-kind album , which sold in 2015 for a reported $2 million to pharma bro Martin Shkreli.
While facing charges of securities fraud in 2017, Shkreli, the former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, tried to ditch the album in an eBay auction, listing it with a starting price of a single dollar. The highest bid recorded reached $100,000 but the album was ultimately seized by authorities, which sold it to an undisclosed buyer for an undisclosed price.
It was later reported the album was sold to a collective called PleasrDAO for $4 million.
Tupac’s ring led the Sotheby’s auction, which was dedicated to the 50th anniversary when hip-hop developed in the Bronx. The auction house said the sales reached $1.8 million, marking the second-highest total for an auction dedicated to hip-hop.