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Freddie Mercury Memorabilia to Hit Auction Block - Piano May Fetch $3.8 Million

By Jake Beardslee · August 6, 2023

Rock legend Freddie Mercury's trove of memorabilia will be auctioned off next month, with a some of proceeds to going to support AIDS charities.  Sotheby's

An extraordinary collection of over 40,000 items belonging to late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury will soon go up for auction at Sotheby’s, the famed London auction house. The items, under the care of his heir and former partner, Mary Austin, will provide an intimate glimpse into the singer’s flamboyant life.

“We literally opened suitcases and boxes and found things and tried to imagine, okay, where is this? Where is this placed in the in the process of Freddie? This this belt, it goes with which pair of trousers?” said Cecile Bernard, Sotheby’s Managing Director for Europe.

While lyric sheets, clothes, and a jukebox will be among the memorabilia up for sale, the centerpiece will be the black baby grand piano on which Mercury, who died of AIDS in 1991, composed many of Queen’s smash hits.

“The piano was like the nuclear reactor within the collection, isn’t it?” said David MacDonald, Sotheby’s Head of Single Owner Sales. “Treating it with respect has been absolutely at the forefront of our minds, making sure that it’s visible and that people can come in and see it and see the tool of his trade, his easel and his palette. That’s mega.”

The piano is expected to fetch an eye-popping $3.8 million when it hits the auction block next month. Other more affordable items will have starting bids as low as $50.

According to Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Specialist Gabriel Heaton, “Freddie loved auctions. He was not interested in having a museum of his life, but he he loved auctions. He bought here. He was well known here… He would have loved all this.”

A portion of the auction’s proceeds will go to support HIV/AIDS initiatives, which is run by Mercury’s former Queen bandmates and manager.

Light Wave commentary

This Sotheby’s auction offers an intimate look at rock legend Freddie Mercury through thousands of personal items carefully preserved since his death. The extensive collection provides insight into the Queen frontman’s flamboyant lifestyle and creative process. While the piano used to compose classic Queen hits will be the star attraction, with an estimated $3.8 million price tag, more affordable items will make the auction accessible to fans. Proceeds supporting Mercury’s AIDS advocacy make it a fitting tribute to one of rock’s greatest showmen.