Reddie Mercury’s prized piano, which he used to compose Bohemian Rhapsody and other Queen hits, sold for £1.7 million at a huge Sotheby’s auction on Wednesday.
Bids of up to £3 million were expected for the Yamaha baby grand piano on which Mercury wrote some of his biggest hits.
According to Sotheby’s, it was the highest price ever paid for a composer’s piano. They did not provide any information about the previous data set.
Items related to the opera anthem, the band’s most enduring hit, fetched a bounty of handwritten lyrics selling for about £1.4 million, as well as a gold Cartier brooch inscribed “Queen Number 1” given to each band member was gifted by his manager after the song reached the top of the charts and sold for £165,000.
A Victorian-style silver snake bangle that 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 rock star jewelry . Sotheby’s said.
The bracelet cost £698,500 – 100 times its estimated low price. The item broke a record when John Lennon’s leather and pearl talisman sold for £295,000 in 2008, Sotheby’s said.
The eclectic collection of items was assembled by Mercury after Queen’s glam rock spawned an avalanche of hits, allowing the singer to realize his dream of a Victorian life “surrounded by exquisite clutter.”
More than 1,400 items are sold by Mercury’s close friend Mary Austin, to whom he left his home and all his possessions when he died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1991 at age 45.
A man who raised his hands above his head in victory and hugged the woman sitting next to him after bidding £635,000 (including buyer’s premium) for the rhinestone-encrusted crown and red faux fur cape that Mercury wore on stage at the end of every show during the Queen’s last tour in 1986.
All proceeds from the sale of an onyx and diamond Cartier ring given to Mercury by Elton John for £273,000 were to go to the Rocket Man singer’s AIDS charity.
The auctioned items included prints by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall, antique furniture and numerous cat figurines.
Last month, Mercury fans who couldn’t afford such prices – or just wanted to see his high-top Adidas, his diamond brooches or his sequin jacket – were able to view them for free at Sotheby’s galleries.
More than 140,000 visitors from all over the world lined up outside the elegant auction house to take a tour.
Other tracks appreciated by fans included Mercury’s lyric drafts for “Somebody to Love,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and “We Are the Champions.”
The designs featured songs at the beginning, with “Bohemian Rhapsody” scratched on letterhead from the defunct British Midland Airways. The song was originally called “Mongolian Rhapsody” before that was dropped.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/freddie-mercury-piano-sold-price-auction-sotheby-s-b1105376.html The piano used by Freddie Mercury is sold for £1.7 million in a major auction of his personal belongings at Sotheby’s