A custom-designed ring once worn by Tupac Shakur sells for $1.016 million, the highest price piece of hip-hop memorabilia ever sold at auction.
On Monday, Sotheby’s New York reported the sale of a custom-designed gold ring once worn by Tupac Shakur for over $1 million, making the item “the most valuable hip-hop artifact ever sold at auction.” The ring sold for a whopping $1,016,000 following a bidding war that more than tripled the initial $300,000 estimate.
“This one-of-a-kind, custom ring was meticulously designed by Pac and is among the final products of his boundless creative energy — a unique artifact from a period of time that is a testament to his enduring influence on hip-hop,” said Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s Global Head of Science and Popular Culture.
The ring, designed and commissioned by Tupac in 1996, was famously worn by the rapper during his final public appearance at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards. On the band is the engraving, “Pac & Dada, 1996,” a nod to his relationship with Kidada Jones, the daughter of legendary music producer Quincy Jones and the late actress and model Peggy Lipton.
Yaasmyn Fula, Tupac’s godmother, advisor, “auntie,” manager, caretaker, and lifelong supporter, offered the ring for auction. According to Fula, Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, told her son from an early age, “You are our Black prince. You are my miracle, and you will make Black people proud.” This mantra and his affinity for Niccolo Machiavelli’s political manifesto, The Prince (which also inspired the rapper’s “Makaveli” nickname), inspired Tupac when designing the ring.
While the ring is the most valuable possession of the late hip-hop star to go up for auction, it’s not the first item of Tupac memorabilia to hit the auction block. In 2018, a letter Tupac wrote to former flame Madonna during his incarceration at the Clinton Correctional Facility in 1995 went up for auction with a starting bid of $100,000. Madonna unsuccessfully attempted to stop the Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction house from selling the letter.