Freddie Mercury’s prized piano and a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ draft are champions at a lucrative auction

Baku, September 7, AZERTAC
Freddie Mercury ’s prized piano that he used to compose “Bohemian Rhapsody” and other hits by Queen sold for more than $2 million Wednesday as some of the late singer’s massive collection of flamboyant stage costumes, fine art and original lyrics were auctioned in a sale that broke records, according to AP.
Items connected to the operatic “Rhapsody,” the band’s most enduring hit, brought a premium with hand-written lyrics to the song selling for about 1.4 million pounds ($1.7 million) and a gold Cartier brooch saying “Queen number 1” given to each band member by their manager after the song topped the charts, selling for 165,000 pounds ($208,000).
A Victorian-style silver snake bangle Mercury wore with an ivory satin catsuit in a video for the song — long before the days of MTV — set a record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a piece of jewelry owned by a rock star, Sotheby’s said.
The bracelet went for 698,500 pounds ($881,000) — 100 times its estimated low price. The item broke a record set when John Lennon’s leather and bead talisman sold for 295,000 pounds ($368,000) in 2008, Sotheby’s said.
The eclectic collection of objects were amassed by Mercury after Queen’s glam-rock produced an avalanche of hits that allowed the singer to achieve his dream of living a Victorian life “surrounded by exquisite clutter.”
Mercury’s close friend, Mary Austin, to whom he left his house and his possessions when he died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1991 at 45, is selling it all — more than 1,400 items.
A mere 59 items of that “clutter” sold for 12.2 million pounds ($15.4 million), including a buyer’s premium, that blew away estimates in the four-and-a-half hour auction. Bidders from 61 countries took part in person, online and by phone.
Mercury wrote, “Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?” in “Rhapsody,” and the answer to the question from well-heeled fans seemed to be “No,” as they bid fortunes — large and larger — to grab a piece of the late singer’s clothing, awards and original hand-written drafts to classics such as “Killer Queen” and “We Are the Champions.”

Culture 2023-09-07 17:42:00