A large collection of Freddie Mercury-related objects, including his baby grand piano and early scribbled song lyrics, were up for auction last week. The auction, which featured works by Mary Austin, drew bids totaling millions of dollars. The baby grand piano, which Mercury used to finish ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ was the auction’s highest seller. It went for $2.1 million. According to Austin, the late singer paid around $1,200 for it. A handwritten copy of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ which revealed that Freddie had originally titled it ‘Mongolian Rhapsody,’ sold for $1.7 million. Other draft lyric documents were also sold, including one containing lyrics to an early version of ‘We Are The Champions.’ The silver snake bracelet worn by Mercury in the music video for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ brought $881,000, setting a new record for the highest sum ever paid for a rock star’s piece of jewelry.
The previous record holder was John Lennon’s leather and bead talisman, which sold for $368,000 in 2008. Mercury’s Kensington garden door, which was covered with graffiti expressing love for him in numerous languages, was sold for $521,000. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were also paid for additional objects such as stage-worn clothing, artwork, and furnishings. Brian May recently resorted to social media to express his thoughts on the auction. The guitarist posted a photo of his late friend playing a guitar with the caption: “Tomorrow, while I’m speaking passionately to Welsh farmers about cows, badgers, and bovine tuberculosis, Freddie’s most intimate personal effects and writings, which were part of what we shared for so many years, will be auctioned off to the highest bidder and dispersed forever.” I’m unable to gaze. It’s too upsetting for us, his closest friends and family. Joyce Moore, thank you for discovering the photo. I’m not sure who deserves credit.” Only 59 items were sold for $15.4 million, above the estimated amounts during the four-and-a-half-hour auction. Bidders from 61 countries competed in-person, online, and over the phone.