The prized piano belonging to late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is to be auctioned “without reserve”, allowing fans across the globe to bid.
British superstar Mercury bought the Yamaha Baby Grand Piano in 1975 after searching to find his “perfect piano”, and later used it to develop the hit Bohemian Rhapsody, as well as many of his subsequent songs including final operatic number Barcelona.
It is expected to sell for between £2 million and £3 million, but will be sold without reserve meaning there is no minimum sale price, auction house Sotheby’s said.
Auctioning the treasured piano comes a month after thousands of items from Mercury’s beloved home – Garden Lodge in Kensington, west London – went on display as part of the Freddie Mercury: A World Of His Own exhibition.
Overwhelmed by the response to the exhibition, Mercury’s close friend Mary Austin decided the piano should be offered “without reserve” to open the possibility of bidding to a broader base of potential buyers.
“More than anything, Mary wants the piano to go a home where it will be loved, cherished and enjoyed to the full,” Sotheby’s said.
Personal items from the collection, including flamboyant stage costumes and works of art by Salvador Dali, will also be sold across six live and online auctions in September.
Part of the money raised with go to the Elton John Aids Foundation, following Mercury’s death age 45 in 1991 following health complications relating to Aids.
Sir Elton said: “I miss Freddie to this day. He was a wonderful friend – more full of love and life than anyone I’ve ever met – as well as a brilliant performer whose music has inspired and thrilled millions.
“Freddie and I shared a love of collecting and exchanged many gifts over the years, including some in this brilliant auction.
“He was kind, generous and funny and it is a tragedy that Aids took him from the world much too soon.
“I am grateful to Mary for so lovingly curating his home, and for donating the proceeds from my gifts to Freddie to my foundation, which continues to fight Aids around the world, and I hope that would make Freddie smile.”
Six dedicated auctions will be held with the first live evening sale on September 6, in which the piano will be sold.
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.