Tupac Shakur's custom gold, ruby and diamond ring sold for more than R17m

Tupac Shakur. Picture: Bang Showbiz

Tupac Shakur. Picture: Bang Showbiz

Published Jul 26, 2023


Tupac Shakur’s ring has become “the most valuable hip hop artefact ever sold at auction” after bidding topped $1-million(about R17.7m).

The ‘California Love’ hitmaker wore the custom gold, ruby and diamond crown piece during his final public appearance at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards, just a week before he was shot dead, and it has now sold for an unprecedented $1,016,000 – far exceeding the $300,000 estimate it was expected to fetch.

Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s Global Head of Science and Popular Culture, said in a statement: “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 artefact from a period of time that is a testament to his enduring influence on hip hop.”

The rapper designed and commissioned the ring – which was engraved with ‘Pac and Dada, 1996’ in reference to his relationship with Kidada Jones – himself and according to Sothebys, it was inspired by his affinity for Niccolo Machiavelli’s political manifesto The Prince.

In 2019, Tupac’s break-up letter to Madonna – which he wrote in January 1995 while in jail – was auctioned off, despite the ‘Hung Up’ singer’s attempts to block Gotta Have Rock and Roll auctioneers from selling the note.

The ‘Poetic Justice’ actor wrote in part: “For you to be seen with a black man wouldn’t in any way jeopardize your career, if anything it would make you seem that much more open and exciting.

“But for me at least in my previous perception I felt due to my ‘image’ I would be letting down half of the people who made me what I thought I was.”