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Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own

Freddie Mercury Composed ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on This Piano. It Could Fetch $4 Million at Auction.

The Queen frontman’s Yamaha G2 was recently revealed as the star lot in a September sale of his personal belongings.

In April, Sotheby’s announced plans to host an epic six-part auction of Queen front man Freddie Mercury’s radical personal items this fall. The lots, ranging from stage outfits and home décor to “crazy little” collectibles, have been on public view in New York City since June. And with the first of the sales scheduled in London this September, the auction house’s British branch is opening a final exhibition this Friday with a new star lot.

Revealed for the first time on Thursday, Mercury’s treasured Yamaha G2 Baby Grand Piano is just one of many items that will go on display at Sotheby’s London’s new 16,000-square-foot Bond Street gallery. The rare and elegant instrument reportedly fit perfectly into a small apartment he shared with his friend Mary Austin. He used it to compose over a decade’s worth of hits, including songs ranging from Bohemian Rhapsody to Barcelona. In 1986, the piano made its final move to Mercury’s home, called Garden Lodge, where it landed a spot in the singer’s drawing room, out of the sun. The well-preserved instrument is expected to fetch between $2.5 million and $3.8 million on the auction block.

The baby grand isn’t the only new item to be introduced to the Sotheby’s London exhibit either. Spread out across the House’s 15 galleries are never-before-seen photographs, eye-catching costumes (such as a silver sequined catsuit), and a variety of tchotchkes ranging from a neon telephone to Mercury’s favorite games and puzzles. Additional items include kimonos and bespoke Japanese clothing, decorative arts, and handwritten drafts for Queen’s iconic music catalog.

“This summer, Sotheby’s is throwing open the doors to Freddie Mercury’s London home, in what will be a true celebration of his wonderful life,” says David MacDonald, head of single owner sales at Sotheby’s London in a statement. “So much has already been written and discussed about Freddie Mercury in the past thirty years, but perhaps never before have we had the privilege of coming so close to illuminating his personal world, something only known until now by his nearest and dearest—a true joy to discover.”

The first auction, titled Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own, will take place at Sotheby’s London on September 6. A limited-edition catalog featuring images of his artworks, costumes, and lyrics—alongside contributions from friends and collaborators such as Sir Tim Rice and Peter Freestone—will be available to purchase in celebration of the auction. After touring the displays, you can even stop into the house’s restaurant to serve Mercury-approved dishes such as the “Fat Bottomed Prawn Cocktail,” which he often served at dinner parties.

Robb Report by Demetrius Simms, August 3, 2023

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