The auction far surpassed early estimates at the London sale.
Over the course of one week, Sotheby’s put up thousands of Freddie Mercury’s belongings for auction. Upon his passing, the legendary singer had bequeathed these items to his first love and lifelong friend Mary Austin.
Austin had cared for Mercury’s belongings for more than 30 years. In an interview with PEOPLE, she shared that it was time to let the items go.
“I hope this will be an opportunity to share all the many facets of Freddie, both public and private, and for the world to understand more about, and celebrate, his unique and beautiful spirit,” she said.
All in all, the auction netted $50.4 million when it was initially estimated at $7.4 million. According to a spokesperson from the auction house, this was the highest ever total for any celebrity sale.
Ahead of the auction, around 140,000 people visited the exhibit at Sotheby’s London headquarters to see Mercury’s personal collection.
“Even when times are tough there’s this almost pleasure in the connectivity with someone like Freddie Mercury, who was all about performance and celebration,” said David Macdonald, Sotheby’s senior specialist.
Property of a legend
One of the highest earning items was a small Tiffany & Co. comb. Used by Mercury to groom his iconic mustache and measuring less than three inches long, the comb sold for $189,000. This is more than 250 times its original estimate.
Meanwhile, the piano which Mercury used to compose his biggest hits, including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” sold for $2.2 million. According to Sotheby’s, this was a record for a composer’s piano.
The silver snake bangle that Mercury wore in the music video for “Bohemian Rhapsody” fetched $881,717. This broke another record, this time for a piece of jewelry belonging to a rockstar.
Other auctioned items include stage outfits, artworks, and autographed drafts of Queen’s most famous songs.
As per Austin’s wishes, a portion of the auction’s earnings will go to the Mercury Phoenix Trust and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Banner image by Neal Preston via Instagram @freddiemercury.