It isn’t even halfway through 2017 yet, and it’s already been a big year for Tupac Shakur.
A new biopic is about to be released. This is the year that Pac will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The media is again discussing the various theories on the mysterious murder of this iconic figure.
All this attention is pretty impressive, given that the revolutionary rapper died more than two decades ago. A slew of recent reports say that the latest battle over Pac’s legacy is being waged between the estate of Afeni Shakur, fellow revolutionary and Mother of Pac, and an auction house you probably haven’t heard of unless you work for a museum (or are extremely rich).
On Friday, April 7, 2017, Alexander Historical Auctions plans to conduct a Black Heritage Auction at the Dumbo Loft in Brooklyn, New York. Many of the most-valued lots at this event once belonged to Tupac Shakur himself.
Tupac’s mother, Afeni, passed away last year, but her estate still claims rights to the many of the rapper’s remaining effects. The week before the auction was scheduled to take place, a story about a legal dust-up between the estate and the auction house popped up on TMZ. From there it spread to the Root and elsewhere.
These reports are easy to believe. After all, the estate’s attorney, Howard King, did bring a lawsuit against a separate auction of Tupac’s personal belongings, including handwritten lyrics, jewelry, and even a passport.
The auction house involved in that case, Moments in Time, denied that they lacked ownership rights to those items, according, again, to TMZ. But although most online media outlets that covered the story about the Black Heritage Auction are running with the lawsuit claims, Complex actually took the time to ask the Black Heritage Auction’s leadership about it.
“We are not involved in any litigation, complaint, or any other action with the Shakur Trust or anyone else for that matter,” Black Heritage Auction president Bill Panagopulos told Complex. “We have not heard from them, do not expect to, and we remain absolutely confident that our consignors rightfully own all of the Tupac Shakur property consigned to us.”
In his comments, Panagopulos dismissed the fear that negative media attention could drive away potential buyers.
“The word is quickly getting out that our auction is totally unassociated with any legal action being taken by the estate, and we are confident the sale will be unaffected,” he said. “We warrant that we will pass good title to every buyer, as we have done tens of thousands of times in the past.”
By press time, the auction will have come and gone, so you’ll probably miss your chance to pick up the medallion Tupac may have been wearing at the instant of his death. (The medallion has been valued at $15,000 to $20,000.)
“It is our belief that the damage visible on the medallion was caused by a bullet strike, and this is borne out by an analysis by two experts on bullet-struck items from military conflicts,” reports the Black Heritage Auction program.
Other items include handwritten lyrics, track listings, and even a signed copy of Tupac’s personal Koran. One piece of memorabilia you probably won’t be able to buy in a future auction? Legal papers outlining a lawsuit against the auction house by the Afeni Shakur estate.