Freddie Mercury, the late lead vocalist of the rock band Queen, would have turned 77 years old today.
Tomorrow, about 1,400 of his possessions will start to go on the auction block at Sotheby’s in London. The items include fine art, costumes, furniture, handwritten song lyrics, and photo albums. Even his beloved piano, a Yamaha Baby Grand, will be auctioned without reserve so that all of Freddie’s fans will have a chance to bid.
David Macdonald is the senior director of Sotheby’s and said the photo albums, filled with Polaroids, are “mythology busting.”
“They’re very, very biographical, but perhaps not in the way you might expect,” he said. “He’s sitting in the kitchen with a cat or, you know, there’s a photos of a vase, or friends in the garden chatting. It’s a different kind of world.”
The items are all from his Garden Lodge home in Kensington, West London, where he lived from 1980 until his death from complications of AIDS in 1991.
He left the home and everything in it to his one-time fiancee and friend, Mary Austin. She has rarely spoken about Mercury, but earlier this year she told the BBC it was time to put her affairs in order and sell the items.
“The collection takes you deeper within the individual and the man I knew,” Austin said.
The items have been on display at Sotheby’s for the past month in a special exhibition. The auction house said more than 130,000 guests have visited to see the collection – a record attendance.
Sotheby’s said the exhibit has also sparked some memorable moments – a long line of guests recently broke out into the chorus of “We Will Rock You!”