Freddie Mercury Memorabilia Fetches Record Prices at Sotheby's Auction



by NOUMAN RASOOL

Freddie Mercury Memorabilia Fetches Record Prices at Sotheby's Auction
© Fox Photos/GettyImages

A historic Yamaha baby grand piano once graced by the hands of the legendary Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, has been auctioned off for a remarkable £1.7m. This iconic instrument, which aided in crafting anthems such as "Bohemian Rhapsody," may have missed its estimated price tag but set a new bar for composers' pianos, as confirmed by Sotheby's.

This grand event saw handwritten lyrics of the iconic "Bohemian Rhapsody" securing a price of £1.38m. Curated by Mary Austin, one of Freddie's most intimate acquaintances, the auction is a massive undertaking, set to sell nearly 1,500 of Mercury's cherished items over six distinct events.

Auction Items Shatter Expectations

Several pieces exceeded expectations during the inaugural Wednesday sale. Notably, a silver snake bangle showcased in the 1975 "Bohemian Rhapsody" music video skyrocketed to £698,500, astonishingly surpassing its anticipated value nearly 100-fold.

The Garden Lodge doorway, which bore fan tributes and graffiti, fetched £412,750, a figure vastly exceeding its £15,000-£25,000 projection. Additional standout pieces encompass handwritten lyrics of timeless hits like "Somebody To Love" (£241,300), "Killer Queen" (£279,400), and "We Are the Champions" (£317,500).

Freddie's 1986 Magic tour treasures, a crown and cloak, brought in £635,000. The late singer's ring, gifted by Sir Elton John, went for £273,050, with proceeds designated for the Elton John Aids Foundation. Mercury's 1941 Wurlitzer jukebox, a staple in his Garden Lodge kitchen, sold for £406,400.

The auction also highlighted Mercury's artistic affinities with artworks by luminaries like Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. These masterpieces, alongside the last painting Mercury purchased mere weeks before succumbing to Aids in 1991, are up for grabs.

Austin shared her insights with the BBC earlier this year, saying, "The collection takes you deeper within the individual and the man I knew." Austin believes this array encapsulates the breadth of Mercury's refined tastes.

The auction doesn't just offer art. Prospective buyers can also vie for Mercury's flamboyant stage outfits, cherished moustache comb, vintage champagne bottles, and the Brit Award he received posthumously. Before the £12.2m Wednesday haul, the collection was available for public viewing in a month-long open exhibition.

It's noteworthy for potential buyers that prices at Sotheby's are subject to premiums and fees, scaling based on the item's value and inclusive of local VAT.

Freddie Mercury