Freddie Mercury’s piano has sold for $2.2 million at auction.
The instrument he used compose Queen hits including ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London this week as part of an auction of the later singer’s possessions – with the Yamaha baby grand as the star lot – but despite fetching millions the final price fell short of previous estimates which suggest it could sell for between $2.5 million and $3.8 million.
Other items sold off included handwritten lyrics for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – featuring the tune’s original working title of ‘Mongolian Rhapsody’ – which fetched $1.7 million.
Another key lot was a Cartier onyx and diamond ring which was given to Freddie by his pal Sir Elton John, who sent a letter to the auctioneers to be read out loud ahead of the sale.
In the note, Sir Elton declared: “I miss Freddie to this day. He was a wonderful friend, more full of love and life than anyone I’ve ever met.”
The ring brought in $339,000 – almost 70 times its estimated sale price. Another piece of jewellery that went under the hammer was the snake bangle worn by the singer in the music video for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ which went for $870,000.
Freddie left all of his possessions to his close friend Mary Austin following his death from complications related to AIDS in 1991. She is now selling them off over a series of six auctions with a portion of the proceeds going to the Mercury Phoenix Trust and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Explaining why she had finally decided to sell off the items more than 30 years after Freddie’s death, she said in a statement released through Sotheby’s: “For many years now, I have had the joy and privilege of living surrounded by all the wonderful things that Freddie sought out and so loved.
“But the years have passed, and the time has come for me to take the difficult decision to close this very special chapter in my life. It was important to me to do this in a way that I felt Freddie would have loved, and there was nothing he loved more than an auction. Freddie was an incredible and intelligent collector who showed us that there is beauty and fun and conversation to be found in everything.”