Freddie Mercury’s Grand Piano And Lyrics To Queen Soar At Auction

Freddie Mercury's Grand Piano And Lyrics To Queen Soar At Auction | Mr. Business Magazine

Starting price was 40,000 pounds, or roughly $50,000. Then the bidding war broke out, with six offer paddles raised in the London salesroom, followed by a flurry of bids placed over the phone and online.

“The exact piano that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was written on. The instrument,” Oliver Barker, the auctioneer, said when the bidding halted after reaching seven figures. The piano took six minutes to sell, appropriately the length of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” before Barker’s hammer eventually fell at $2.2 million to an internet bid.

The highlight of Freddie Mercury’s 1973 Yamaha G2

Baby grand sale on Wednesday was always going to be Sotheby’s auction of over 1,400 items from the charismatic lead singer of the British rock band Queen’s private collection.

Many of Queen’s hits were written by Mercury at the Yamaha. In Sotheby’s evening auction of 59 lots featuring the most desired items from the collection put up by the singer’s longstanding friend Mary Austin, it was initially projected to fetch at least $2.5 million.

At two further nighttime sales this week and three online auctions that run through September 13 will be sold lesser-known artefacts.

Since his passing in 1991, Mercury’s crowded collection of artworks, furnishings, handwritten lyrics, clothes, stage costumes and other personal items have been kept at Garden Lodge, his neo-Georgian West London house. Austin has lived in Garden Lodge ever since the singer left half of his profits, along with the property, to Austin.

In a press release announcing her decision to sell the collection, Austin, 72, said, “It was important to me to do this in a way that I felt Freddie Mercury would have loved.” Nothing made him happier than attending an auction.

The complete collection was on show in London for a month after a tour of the highlights in New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. The show attracted more than 140,000 visitors, and the queue to get in occasionally spanned almost a quarter of a mile.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to observe Freddie Mercury’s interests. It nearly feels like I met him. And it’s free,” enthused 48-year-old Queen fan Neil Leonard last week as he admired the handwritten first draught lyrics to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The alleged 1974 draught reveals that Mercury considered calling Queen’s most well-known song “Mongolian Rhapsody.”

That draught was the most expensive of the six lyric manuscripts for well-known Queen songs offered in Wednesday’s auction. It was expected to sell for at least $1 million, but instead it fetched $1.7 million to the thunderous cheers of the online bidder.

The more than 400 attendees were excited and largely uninitiated with the auctioneering process, in contrast to the stern art specialists who typically watch Sotheby’s sales. Even when a Eugen von Blaas artwork from the 19th century failed to draw any initial bids, every lot received applause.

The objects at the sale were a reflection of Freddie Mercury’s career as a performer, collector, and musician. Previously, he stated that he desired to “lead the Victorian life, surrounded by exquisite clutter.”

A decorative mash-up of 19th and early 20th century images of stunning women, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Orientalist furnishings, opulent trinkets from designers like Cartier, and a plethora of cat-related ornaments were properly jammed into Garden Lodge. (During his lifetime, Freddie Mercury owned at least ten cats.)

His taste in Western art may have occasionally bordered on kitsch. Freddie Mercury, however, became a discerning collector of Japanese kimonos, lacquer, and woodblock prints following six trips to Japan with Queen.

One of the three online auctions hosted by Sotheby’s is fully devoted to Japan, which is represented by about 20% of the goods in the company’s sales.

A superb coloured woodblock print from the 19th century by Utagawa Hiroshige, “Sudden Shower Over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake,” was one of Mercury’s few museum-quality pieces. Many Western artists were affected by the painting, including Van Gogh, who painted a copy that is currently on display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. In contrast to a low estimate of $30,000, it sold for $368,718.

The enchantment of the Freddie Mercury provenance frequently drove prices well above those for comparable pieces, on which Sotheby’s estimates were based.

The first lot set the tone when a telephone bidder outbid the low estimate of just $19,000 to bid $521,014 for the graffiti-covered door from Garden Lodge’s exterior wall. An online bidder later purchased a Fabergé gold-mounted agate vesta case that was created in Moscow around 1890 for $120,234, which is more than 10 times the estimate. A bidder in the room purchased Freddie Mercury’s lavish Wurlitzer jukebox in the Garden Lodge’s kitchen for $512,999.

There were gasps and whoops when the price of the iconic silver snake bangle that Mercury wore in the “Bohemian Rhapsody” music video rose to $881,717. The lot, which was purchased by an internet bidder, was officially valued at $9,000 minimum.

The jewelled crown and ermine-lined crimson robe that Freddie Mercury donned on Queen’s 1986 ‘Magic’ tour was a popular choice among the roughly a dozen concert costumes on display. Rafael Reisman, a Brazilian exhibition promoter, won the deal for $801,560 and celebrated by raising his arms. ​​

53-year-old Reisman purchased four further Mercury lots at the auction. “We were looking to put together a collection of iconic lots to use for a special immersive exhibition,” he said. $9000 was the lowest estimate given.

Compared to a presale low estimate of $6 million, the sale generated a total profit of $15.4 million. It took more than four and a half hours to complete the marathon.

A Queen fan from Bedfordshire named Becca Robbins, who had never attended an auction before, placed a bid of $57,000 on a jacket with a rainbow-colored satin appliqué that Freddie Mercury wore during Queen’s “Hot Space” tour in 1982. It ultimately sold for $256 499.

“I owned it for a nanosecond,” remarked Robbins, 61, who was donning a copy of the same colourful jacket. However, I acquired something priceless from the exhibition.

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