Freddie Mercury’s prized piano, which he composed numerous hits on, is among the thousands of items from his personal collection which have gone on display in London ahead of an auction.
Flamboyant stage costumes, a handwritten draft of Bohemian Rhapsody and works of art by Salvador Dali are also part of the more than 1,400 items which will be shown at Sotheby’s auction house from August 4 to September 5 – which would have marked his 77th birthday.
The collection from the Queen frontman’s beloved home – Garden Lodge in Kensington, west London – will be sold across six live and online auctions in September.
A star lot amongst the items is the late singer’s Yamaha G2 baby grand piano, which has an estimated price tag of £2-3 million.
The treasured piano was used by Mercury to develop and hone the hit Bohemian Rhapsody as well as many of his subsequent songs including his final operatic number Barcelona.
Other highly-valued items include a crown which was modelled off the one worn by the King at his recent coronation ceremony.
Its accompanying cloak – in fake fur, red velvet and rhinestones – was made by the singer’s friend and costume designer Diana Moseley.
The items were worn by Mercury during the finale rendition of God Save The Queen on his last tour with Queen in 1986 – The Magic Tour – and are expected to fetch up to £80,000 at auction.
Another memorable costume which is due to go under the hammer is his silver sequined catsuit worn during his News Of The World and Jazz Tours during 1977-1979, which is estimated to fetch £40–60,000.
Also up for sale are previously unseen handwritten working drafts by Mercury for some of Queen’s most well-known songs including Don’t Stop Me Now, which has an estimate of £120–180,000, while lyrics to We Are The Champions could sell for £200–300,000.
An autographed manuscript of draft lyrics for Bohemian Rhapsody is also among the collection, which a guide price of £800,000 to £1.2 million.
Mercury’s collection at Garden Lodge has remained largely untouched for some 30 years.
The singer died at the age of 45 in 1991 following health complications relating to Aids.
David Macdonald, head of single owner sales at Sotheby’s London, said: “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.
“His sense of joie de vivre and generous spirit is a thread that runs through the entire collection, which takes us on a journey through his life – from his school days, to college, the fledgling years of his career, and of course his greatest stage moments.
“So much has already been written and discussed about Freddie Mercury in the past 30 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.”
Six dedicated auctions will be held with the first live evening sale on September 6, in which a representative cross-section of the most significant items in the collection will be offered.
On September 7 and 8, two further live auctions will follow: the first dedicated to Mercury “On Stage”, the second dedicated to his life “At Home”, and to the objects he loved and lived with at Garden Lodge.
This will be followed by three more online auctions titled “In Love With Japan” and part one and two of “Crazy Little Things”.
Online bidding for Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own – The Evening Sale will open on August 9 at 12pm.