An exceptional auction: The piano where Freddie Mercury composed iconic Queen songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” will take center stage at Sotheby’s auction house in London. This month-long exhibition will display nearly 30,000 of the singer’s objects and belongings, ranging from clothing, photographs, handwritten lyrics, and art objects to gold and platinum records, which were part of the “exquisite mess” of his life.
Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991 at age 45 of AIDS, left his Kensington home, Garden Lodge, and his belongings to Mary Austin, one of his closest and most trusted friends. Now, after 32 years, Austin has decided to put everything up for sale.
The collection at auction ranges from small items, such as a porcelain ornament with an estimated price of £20, to the Yamaha grand piano, which is expected to fetch £3 million. In total, the auction is estimated to fetch between £7.6 and £11 million, with a large number of people interested in picking up a small piece of Freddie memorabilia, according to Sotheby’s director, Thomas Williams.
The exhibition is organized thematically in 15 Sotheby’s galleries. One of them is dedicated to Freddie’s interest and passion for Japanese art and objects, which he collected during his seven visits to the country. His love of Japanese culture influenced his stage style, and lacquerware, teapots, and vases decorated with Koi carp are on display, along with some of the 50 silk kimonos that formed part of his stage costumes.
In addition, he has recreated the Japanese-style room at Garden Lodge, his private sanctuary, where he used to collect Japanese art objects.
The auction will include items that celebrate his love of cats, as Mercury had six cats, all adopted strays. Personal photos of Mercury with one of his cats on his lap will also be on view, showing intimate and personal moments of the singer.
The sale of this memorabilia will benefit the Mercury Phoenix Trust and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, keeping Freddie Mercury’s charitable and artistic legacy alive.