Around 1,500 items from the late music icon’s estate will be auctioned off starting September, and are estimated to fetch $7.4 million in total.
It’s been 32 years since the world lost music legend Freddie Mercury, but the legacy of Queen’s lead singer lives on. Fans both new and old continue to enjoy the band’s works, which include hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Love of My Life,” and “I Want to Break Free,” just to name a few.
This year, Queen’s avid followers have the chance to take home personal belongings from Mercury’s Garden Lodge home in Kensington. Starting September 6, Sotheby’s will be holding a weeklong series of auctions showcasing a plethora of keepsakes, costumes, art, household items, and handwritten notes that once belonged to the late singer.
Sotheby’s Europe chairman Oliver Barker described the event as “the longest, most spectacular, public exhibition” in the company’s history. Prior to the grand sale, the auction house will exhibit highlights from the collection in its other global locations, which include Hong Kong, New York, and Los Angeles. The prized objects will also be on display at Sotheby’s London from August 4 to September 5.
It’s a Kind of Magic
In his autobiography entitled Freddie Mercury: A Life, In His Own Words, the singer wrote: “I like to be surrounded by splendid things…exquisite clutter,” which is an apt way to describe his vast collection of memorabilia.
Among the items for sale is a silver Tiffany & Co. mustache comb; original works from artists like Erté, Pablo Picasso, and James Jacques Tissot; and a 1975 Martin D-35 acoustic guitar that Mercury purportedly used to record the song “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
The never–before-seen handwritten lyrics for “We Are the Champions” will also be put up for auction, with an estimated $250,000 starting bid. Another highlight of the sale is the recognizable outfit Mercury wore during his performance of “God Save The Queen” in 1986 (which also marked his final tour with Queen).
The outfit consists of a crown and a rhinestone-studded velvet cloak in the color red, and is expected to sell for $100,000. The Wall Street Journal estimated that Mercury’s entire collection will likely sell for a total of $7.4 million.
Doing Justice to a Legacy
Mercury passed away due to complications from AIDs on November 24, 1999. By then, he had entrusted his entire estate to Mary Austin, who was one of his closest friends. Since then, many of the delightful objects have remained untouched within the walls of the singer’s Kensington abode.
“For many years now, I have had the joy and privilege of living surrounded by all the wonderful things that Freddie sought out and so loved. But the years have passed, and the time has come for me to take the difficult decision to close this very special chapter in my life,” Austin shared in a statement.
The 72-year-old felt that the best way to pay homage to her dear friend was to share his love for collecting to the world, giving them a meaningful glimpse into “the many facets of Freddie, both public and private, and for the world to understand more about, and celebrate, his unique and beautiful spirit.”
“It was important to me to do this in a way that I felt Freddie would have loved, and there was nothing he loved more than an auction,” she continued. “[He] was an incredible and intelligent collector who showed us that there is beauty and fun and conversation to be found in everything.”
Banner Photo via Instagram @sothebys.