Feast your eyes on these original lyrics scrawled by Freddie Mercury of Queen while writing the #1 hit song Bohemian Rhapsody. The small sheet of paper is going under the hammer and is expected to fetch nearly a million at a huge upcoming auction of his possessions.
And if you’ll be in London this August and September, you can see that and more in a new exhibition.
Also up for sale at Sotheby’s is Freddie’s favorite baby Grand Piano used to compose some of the band’s greatest hits, which may be worth 3 million.
Those are just two of the rarities in a massive sale of Mercury’s memorabilia that will go on display to the public for one month prior to the sale beginning on his birthday, September 5.
Other handwritten draft lyrics include Don’t Stop Me Now, Somebody to Love, and We Are the Champions. The surviving sheets provide fascinating insight into how his songs were developed and evolved.
The centerpiece of the show and sale is the Yamaha G2 Baby Grand Piano that he got in 1975 after deciding his current piano was no longer up to the level of his elevated vision.
All 15 galleries in Sotheby’s London will be exhibiting 16,000 sq-ft of costumes, hand-written lyrics, drawings, furniture, decor, and fine art.
The sale includes the long red cape and crown, for instance, that he wore on his very final stage performance with Queen in 1986 as well as the early cat-suits, onto which he sewed his very own ‘Mercury Wings’.
All the items come from his London home (‘Garden Lodge’) and the 1,400 lots will be sold in six different auctions on consecutive days.
Other previously unseen items include poetry written when he first arrived in London from Zanzibar at age 18—signing it Fred Bulsara, his real name.
Regarding the piano, it barely fit into the small apartment he was sharing at the time with Mary Austin.
“Freddie considered it to be more than an instrument,” she said. “It was an extension of himself, his vehicle of creativity. He would never smoke at the piano or rest a glass on top of it and would ensure nobody else did either.”
In the months after its arrival, he used it to develop the band’s iconic track Bohemian Rhapsody, released towards the end of that year. The piano moved with the pair to successive homes until 1986, when it made its final move to Garden Lodge.
“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,” said David Macdonald, Head of single owner sales at Sotheby’s.
“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.”
“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.”
The exhibition is free on a first come first served basis and runs until September 5 at Sotheby’s in New Bond Street, London.
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