A ring designed and worn by Tupac Shakur is set to go on auction – and could sell for nearly £250,000 ($327,000; N257m)
The sovereign ring will sell as part of auction house Sotheby’s sale marking the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
It features a jewel-encrusted “crown” with gold, ruby and diamond.
Tupac was classed as rap royalty but was gunned down in 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, US, aged just 25.
The murder came three days after wearing the ring at his final public appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards.
This ring marked a new phase in his life, in which he abandoned his “Thug Life” persona.
The piece of hip-hop history is expected to sell for £152,719 and £229,079 at auction in New York this week.
Following a stint in prison, Tupac launched media conglomerate Euphanasia Incorporated and began transitioning into a more executive role in the music industry.
And to celebrate the new era of his career, he marked the occasion by commissioning two new pieces of extravagant jewellery.
He told his godmother Yaasmyn Fula, a friend of his mum’s who also served as his “advisor, auntie, money manager, caretaker, and lifelong supporter”, that he wanted a piece of jewellery to serve as an act of ‘self-coronation’.
The finished gold crown ring boasts 10 carats of cabochon rubies and pavé diamonds and an inscription reading “Pac & Dada 1996”.
In what was to be his last interview with MTV after the VMAs, flanked by fellow West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg, the flashy ring can be seen on Tupac’s left hand.
Just three days later, Tupac was shot in Las Vegas in a drive-by shooting and died in hospital six days later, on September 13, 1996.
The rapper’s godmother Ms Fula, who is selling the ring, explained it served as a “powerful” symbol of responsibility.
She said: “Tupac thought of himself and his creativity as a tool of expressing injustice and love.
“That message has been carried on with a lot of artists to this day that give him acknowledgement and say how much he inspired them.
“That ring is a powerful symbol: whoever wore that ring had to accept that they have a responsibility to have an impact upon the world.
“Finally, when the ring was finished, I’ll never forget that when I walked in with the ring and he looked at it, I think it just blew him away.”
The ring will be sold at Sotheby’s annual hip-hop auction in New York on July 25, and is on display to the public until its sale.
Cassandra Hatton, Head of Science and Popular Culture at Sotheby’s, added: “The crown jewel of our hip-hop sale this year is the crown ring that was designed by Tupac and then worn by him.
“This ring will be a highlight of our annual hip-hop sale, which this year is held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
“It’s a 14-carat gold crown, encrusted with diamonds and rubies.
“There’s a large, central cabochon ruby. It’s quite a big ring that makes you think of coronation jewells; the types of jewells that kings would wear for formal ceremonies.
“It was so important to him that he asked his godmother, the person he most trusted, to oversee the designs of this ring.”