The adventure of the world’s most expense record continues. In 2015, Wu-Tang Clan announced that they were going to sell a single copy of their newest album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.
An undisclosed bidder bought the album for $2 million. As we all learned, the buyer was none other than class act Martin Shkreli. 16 weeks ago, prosecutors asked Judge Kiyo Matsumoto to seize $7.4 million in assets from Shkreli, including the Wu-Tang album, a rare Lil’ Wayne, album, and other rare paintings and World War 2 artifacts. Just two weeks ago, Shkreli was ordered by the court to pony up $7.4 million or he would have his assets seized. Later that week he was sentenced to 7 years in the slammer for securities fraud.
Well, Shkreli did not turn over $7.4, so this week the court ordered seizure of the Wu-Tang album, and unreleased, Lil Wayne album, a Picasso, and some other items. Interestingly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will have final say of disposal of the rare items, which will likely be liquidated via public auction. Don’t feel too bad for Martin, though. According to Bloomberg, he’s still worth a cool 27 mil.
Wu-Tang producer RZA announced the release of “Shaolin” in March 2014, promising in a Forbes interview to “sell an album like nobody else sold it before” and likening the record to a piece of art or the “scepter of an Egyptian king.”
The sole copy of the 31-track album would come in a hand-carved box with a 174-page leather-bound book of parchment paper containing lyrics and a backstory. It would be sold to the highest bidder.
RZA had initially wanted to forbid the buyer from publicly releasing the album for 88 years but eventually loosened the terms to ensure that it was never sold commercially.
“Shaolin” drew interest from “private collectors, trophy hunters, millionaires, billionaires, unknown folks, publicly known folks, businesses, companies with commercial intent, young, old,” RZA boasted.
An ill-fated Kickstarter campaign set up by Wu-Tang fans could only scrape together $15,406 of its $5 million goal.
It was 21 months before Bloomberg Businessweek announced the auction’s $2 million winner. The news came beneath a graphic calling Shkreli “young dirty bastard,” a reference to deceased Wu-Tang member Ol’ Dirty Bastard.