In Brooklyn on Friday, Alexander Historical Auctions is hosting a sale of significant artifacts from black history. In addition to pieces like a copy of the Declaration of Independence preamble that was signed by Martin Luther King and historical newspaper reports about the Emancipation Proclamation, the auction also features a ton of cool music ephemera.
Tupac is probably the best-represented artist in the auction. Items for sale include his handwritten lyrics to “Let Em Have It” and “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” (the starting bid for each is $7,500), the Dolce & Gabbana shirt he wore in the “2 of Americaz Most Wanted” video ($6,000), his first publishing contract ($6,000), his personal Death Row Records gold medallion ($2,500), his personal signed Koran ($20,000), an hand-annotated master CD-R copy of All Eyez On Me, his California license plates ($5,000), and his New York state prison ID card (pictured above, $7,500).
In addition to the Tupac stuff, there are also two lovely ink-and-paper sketches by Miles Davis ($360 each), plus a great, catty draft of a letter he addressed to Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records. (“We know you steal but that’s OK,” it reads in part, $240). There’s a bowtie and fedora owned by Michael Jackson ($500 and $2,000, respectively), plus recording contracts signed by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and the Supremes ($240, $70, $100).
Plenty of this stuff will probably sell for well above its starting bid, meaning the disposable income of your average music fan might not cover it. Fortunately, the auction’s website has high-quality images of everything, if ogling and drooling are more in your price range. But if you’re a Tupac devotee with cash to spare, there are worse ways to spend it. Alexander Historical Auctions’ Spring 2017 Black Heritage Auction happens Friday at Brooklyn’s Dumbo Loft.