‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ piano, other Freddie Mercury belongings to be auctioned
LONDON—Fans of Freddie Mercury might wonder if this is the real life, or just fantasy, when they walk into a near-replica of his London home, where thousands of items belonging to the late Queen frontman will be on exhibition starting Friday Aug. 4.
Rare items including handwritten lyrics, art and collectibles from Mercury’s London home, Garden Lodge, have been looked after by his close friend Mary Austin since his death from AIDS-related pneumonia in 1991.
They will go on public display for the first time in the month-long exhibition at Sotheby’s, which will then auction many of the items in September, with prices ranging from as low as 40 pounds (around $51) to millions of pounds.
“We’ve conceived our gallery spaces to give it a sense of what it was like living with Freddie at home,” said David MacDonald, head of single owner sales at Sotheby’s London.
“If he was to walk in, he’d instantly recognize some of the spaces we’ve created,” MacDonald said.
At the heart of the auction is Mercury’s treasured, black Yamaha piano, estimated at 2 to 3 million pounds ($2.5 to $3.8 million), on which he composed the 1975 Queen epic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“It was an extension of himself, his vehicle of creativity,” Austin said of the baby grand piano. “He would never smoke at the piano or rest a glass on top of it and would ensure nobody else did either. The piano was always pristine.”
Other items for sale range from Mercury’s crown and regal cloak, worn for the “God Save the Queen” finale during the singer’s last tour with Queen in 1986, estimated at 60,000 to 80,000 pounds, to a Tiffany & Co. silver mustache comb (400 to 600 pounds).
Handwritten manuscript working lyrics for “We Are the Champions” have an estimate of 200,000 to 300,000 pounds, while those for “Killer Queen” have a price tag of 50,000 to 70,000 pounds. AP/ra
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