Gavel to Fall: Freddie Mercury’s Personal Belongings Headed to Auction
While the Royal Family polishes the crown jewels for next month’s coronation, the diadem that once belonged to another late Queen will soon be up for auction.
A rummage sale, of sorts, containing items that once belonged to Freddie Mercury will be hitting the block this summer via Sotheby’s, according to the Associated Press. The 1,500-item sale will take place in September, after a June tour of Mercury’s belongings to Sotheby’s houses in New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. A portion of the sale’s income will go to charity.
The singer left his treasured possessions, which he once described as “exquisite clutter,” to his close friend and confidant, Mary Austin. She recently arrived at the “difficult decision,” the AP reports, of selling his collected artifacts now that more than three decades have passed since his death.
The highest-priced item up for grabs is French painter James Tissot’s Type of Beauty, which portrays his muse Kathleen Newton; it’s expected to bring in $500,000 – $700,000. The auction is also said to include prints and works on paper by Picasso and Matisse. Of more interest to Queen fans, though, would be Mercury’s handwritten sketches of lyrics to “We Are the Champions” and “Killer Queen.” The “Champions” text stretches across some nine pages on British Midland Airways stationary; Sotheby’s estimates the champion bidder will spend between $250,000 and $375,000 for the victory.
Paupers among princes may consider one of the cheaper items up for bid, such as Mercury’s silver, Tiffany & Co. mustache comb, which the AP reports could go for between $500 to $750.
Austin is also selling the headpiece, based on St. Edward’s Crown, that Mercury wore at concert encores. Since it contains rhinestones and not real jewels, it will likely go for $75,000 to $100,000. (The real St. Edward’s Crown will be resized to fit King Charles III’s head ahead of next month’s coronation.)
Mercury’s affinity for the iconography of the Royal Family, incidentally, was sincere. Mercury, who attended London’s Ealing Art College, designed Queen’s logo based on a royal crest, incorporating the zodiacal signs of each of the band’s members. “The concept of Queen is to be regal and majestic,” he once told British music weekly Melody Maker. Now one lucky fan has the opportunity to comb a mustache just as majestically.
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