Freddie Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” Piano And Memorabilia Fetch Millions In Record-Breaking Auction

News by  Ankita Tripathy 07 September 2023

Freddie Mercury's “Bohemian Rhapsody” Piano And Memorabilia Fetch Millions In Record-Breaking Auction

In a historic auction that shattered records, Freddie Mercury’s cherished piano, used to compose the legendary “Bohemian Rhapsody” and other Queen hits, fetched over $2 million. The late singer’s extensive collection, including flamboyant stage costumes, original lyrics, and fine art, went under the hammer.

Items linked to the operatic masterpiece “Bohemian Rhapsody” stole the show. Handwritten lyrics to the song sold for an astounding $1.7 million, while a gold Cartier brooch bearing “Queen number 1,” gifted to each band member after the chart-topping success, found a buyer at $208,000.

One standout piece was a Victorian-style silver snake bangle worn by Mercury in a video for the song, setting a new record for jewelry owned by a rock star, selling for $881,000 – a hundred times its estimated value. This surpassed the previous record held by John Lennon’s talisman sold in 2008.

Mercury’s diverse collection was amassed during Queen’s heyday, reflecting his dream of a Victorian-inspired life “surrounded by exquisite clutter.” His close friend, Mary Austin, who inherited his possessions upon his passing in 1991, put more than 1,400 items up for auction.

In a whirlwind four-and-a-half-hour auction, a mere 59 items from Mercury’s eclectic treasure trove fetched a staggering $15.4 million, exceeding all expectations. Bidders from 61 countries participated, both in person and online.

Fans fervently bid on Mercury’s clothing, awards, and original hand-written drafts of classics like “Killer Queen” and “We Are the Champions.” The proceeds are set to benefit charities, making the night a win for Sotheby’s, Mary Austin, and charitable causes alike.

One memorable moment came when a lucky bidder secured Mercury’s iconic rhinestone-studded crown and red fake fur cloak for $801,500, worn during Queen’s last tour in 1986.

The auction’s opening act featured the sale of Mercury’s garden door, covered in love notes from fans. It exceeded expectations, selling for an astounding $521,000.

Notably, the sale of a Cartier onyx and diamond ring, gifted to Mercury by Elton John, raised $344,000 for the “Rocket Man” singer’s AIDS charity.

Beyond memorabilia, art enthusiasts snapped up works by Picasso, Dalí, and Chagall, as well as antique furniture and cat figurines.

For a month leading up to the auction, fans flocked to Sotheby’s galleries worldwide to admire these unique items. The “Freddie Mercury: A World of his Own” exhibition generated substantial interest and drove up online bidding.

Even seemingly modest items, like chopsticks and a mustache comb, exceeded presale estimates, demonstrating the enduring appeal of all things Freddie Mercury.

While some items soared past their estimated values, the Yamaha baby grand piano used by Mercury to craft Queen’s greatest hits sold for $2.2 million, just under its expected price. Sotheby’s deemed it the highest price ever paid for a composer’s piano.

Among the cherished memorabilia were Mercury’s original draft lyrics to “Somebody to Love,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and “We Are the Champions.” These documents offered a glimpse into the inception of iconic songs, with “Bohemian Rhapsody” initially titled “Mongolian Rhapsody.”

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Ankita Tripathy

Ankita Tripathy loves to write about food and the Hallyu Wave in particular. During her free time, she enjoys looking at the sky or reading books while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Her favourite niches are food, music, lifestyle, travel, and Korean Pop music and drama.

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