An upcoming auction will feature a personal collection of 1,500 items belonging to the famous Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury. The collection, which includes handwritten lyrics and flamboyant stage costumes, was amassed by the singer over a period of 30 years, and was kept at his residence in west London until his death in 1991.
Following his passing, the house and its contents were inherited by one of Mercury’s oldest friends, Mary Austin. According to Austin, the collection offers a glimpse into the personal life of the legendary musician and provides a deeper understanding of the man she knew.
The auction is set to showcase a unique and intimate aspect of Mercury’s life and career, giving fans and admirers the opportunity to own a piece of music history.
Items To Be Auctioned Off
One of the highlights of the upcoming auction will be Freddie Mercury’s handwritten working lyrics for the iconic Queen anthem, “We Are The Champions.” The lyrics span across nine pages, including chords and harmonies, and are estimated to be sold for a price ranging between £200,000-300,000.
A portrait painted by the French artist Tissot, was the last piece of art that Mercury acquired just one month before his demise, and it had been placed on the wall so that he could view it comfortably from his sofa. The painting is anticipated to be auctioned off for an estimated sum of £400,000-600,000.
Another notable item is the unseen working lyrics for “Killer Queen,” penned on a single sheet of paper with a black Biro in 1974, which are expected to fetch £50,000-70,000.
Austin expressed her reluctance to part with the lyrics, as they exhibit the most exquisite side of the man she was devoted to. She further explained that the lyrics showcase the artist’s creative process, displaying the rethinking, reformatting, and crossings out that are typical during the composition phase.
Relationship Between Austin and Mercury
Austin and Mercury became housemates and remained close, even after he confided in her that he was gay. She continued to care for him as he grew weaker after contracting an AIDS-related illness.
Mercury acknowledged Austin’s significance in his life, stating that he had few people to rely on, with Austin being the one he could turn to in times of need.
Since Mercury’s death, Austin has rarely spoken in public, nevertheless, he remains an integral part of her life, and she reflects on the things she misses about him the most, such as his humor, warmth, energy, and the fun times they shared.
Mercury’s former residence, Garden Lodge, located in the Kensington area, has remained almost entirely unchanged for 30 years since his passing. The house is still adorned with antique furniture, a collection of glass and artworks that he had amassed, along with the luxurious fabrics he favored.
The dining room features prints by famous artists such as Matisse and Chagall, which are beautifully showcased on walls painted with an iridescent buttercup-yellow gloss finish. In the kitchen, a portrait by Picasso is displayed above the breakfast table, adding an artistic touch to the space.
Mercury’s Love For Beautiful Things
Mercury once expressed his love for beautiful things, stating that he wanted to lead a Victorian lifestyle surrounded by exquisite clutter. The collection that he had built up over the years, including a variety of items such as stage costumes, handwritten lyrics, and artworks, was kept at his home in west London.
However Austin, who is now 72 years old, has decided to part with the collection and sell everything, except for a few personal gifts and photos of them together. She explains that the reason for the sale is that she needs to put her affairs in order, and the time has come for her to move on.
Austin acknowledges that the decision to sell was a difficult one, but she felt that it was necessary to be brave and sell the entire collection rather than keep some items back.
As a result, the sale will include Mercury’s stage costumes, such as sequined catsuits, glittered shoes, fake fur, red velvet, rhinestone crown, and matching cloak that he wore during his final tour with Queen in the 1980s. These costumes were kept in a mirrored dressing room at his home.
Also Up For Sale
Besides the handwritten lyrics and stage costumes, Freddie Mercury’s personal items will also be up for sale. These include the telephone by his bedside, a specially made marble bar, embroidered cocktail napkins with a green F, and a silver mustache comb.
THE DAILY GOSS: Freddie Mercury: Queen singer's personal possessions to be auctioned. An intimate collection of 1,500 items belonging to Freddie Mercury, including handwritten lyrics and riotous stage costumes, is to be sold at auction.#SugarRadio #TheDailyGoss #freddiemercury pic.twitter.com/ZDVA1iAGXF
— Sugar Radio (@sugarradiospain) April 26, 2023
One of the most extraordinary personal items is Mercury’s beloved waistcoat, worn in his last music video These Are the Days of Our Lives. The waistcoat is made of silk panels of red, green, and purple, with each panel hand-painted with the name of one of Mercury’s cats – Delilah, Goliath, Oscar, Lily, Romeo, and Miko.
All 1,500 items will be on display at Sotheby’s in London during the summer in different galleries, focusing on various aspects of Mercury’s life, before being auctioned in September. The auction is anticipated to raise more than £6m, and a part of the proceeds will be donated to charity.