Sotheby’s Hosts Premiere Hip-Hop Auction: Raises $2 Million

Sotheby’s hosted their inaugural Hip Hop auction on 15 September in New York.

Notorious B.I.G.'s plastic crown from his very last photo shoot went for almost $600,000.

Other lots included a five-piece drum kit, once used by Questlove of The Roots, and one of rapper Slick Rick's diamond eyepatches, which sold for $30,240 and $25,200 respectively. A pair of "Push It" Jackets worn by hip hop duo Salt-N-Pepa in a 2015 Super Bowl commercial went for just under $24,000.

A celebration of the history and cultural impact of Hip Hop, the sale reflects on the impact the movement has had on art and culture from the late 1970s through the “Golden Age” of the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, and up to the present. Among the newly announced highlights in the sale include the iconic Salt-N-Pepa “Push It” jackets; visual artist, filmmaker and Hip Hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy’s ‘MTV’ ring made specially for Yo! MTV Raps; a private lyric writing lesson and studio session with the God MC Rakim Allah; a unique art installation by DJ Ross One entitled The Wall of Boom, which is comprised of 32 vintage boomboxes, and much more.

The auction also features unique artifacts, contemporary art, one of a kind experiences, photography, vintage and modern fashion, historic and newly designed jewelry and luxury items, rare ephemera including flyers and posters, important publications, and more.

Much of the auction was consigned directly from Hip Hop’s most pivotal and well-known artists and figures. Among them are The RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan; Salt-N-Pepa; Fab 5 Freddy; Slick Rick; “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box; Schoolly D; the Estate of Rammellzee; photographers Janette Beckman, Chi Modu, Sophie Bramly, Phil Knott, and the estate of Mpozi Tolbert; Prince Paul; Shirt King Phade; Charlie Ahearn; Egyptian Lover; MC Sha-Rock; MC J.B. and Baby D of J.J. Fad; Lonzo Williams of World Class Wreckin’ Cru; Almighty Kay Gee of the Cold Crush Brothers; “The Last Word” creator Andre LeRoy Davis; Ed Piskor of “Hip Hop Family Tree” fame; jewelry designer Johnny Nelson; contemporary artists Dave Muller, Tim Conlon, & LeRone Wilson. There are also notable works by contemporary artists Daniel Arsham, Richard Hambleton, LA2, Rashaad Newsome, and more. Several consignors will be sharing proceeds from the sale with a variety of charities.

A portion of Sotheby’s proceeds will benefit the Queens Public Library Foundation, to support their Hip Hop Programs, coordinated by “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, as well as Building Beats, a non-profit community organization that teaches tech, entrepreneurial and leadership skills to underserved youth through DJ and music programs.

The auction was organized in collaboration with Monica Lynch, former president of Tommy Boy Records (1981-1998) who helped launch the careers of legends Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force, Queen Latifah, De La Soul, and Naughty by Nature, among many others.

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