Freddie Mercury’s best friend is selling his most intimate belongings in a huge auction
The woman Freddie Mercury called his closest friend is preparing to sell everything the Queen singer left her when he died, totally around 1,500 personal items.
Multinational brokering company Sotheby’s announced the sale on Wednesday (26 April) morning. It will take place in London on 6 September, 2023.
It’s advertised as the “the jewel in the crown” of the company’s The Evening Sale series, and pays tribute to Mercury’s “inimitable life, work and art”.
“A multi-category sale… this is the story of one man’s extraordinary vision, artistry and exquisite taste,” Sotheby’s states.
The items included in the sale have been at Garden Lodge for more than three decades. Garden Lodge is Mercury’s home in Kensington, west London that he left, along with its contents, to close friend Mary Austin when he died in 1991.
Items including an iconic crown and robe, by designer Diana Mosley, that he wore during his final Queen tour, in 1986, are expected to sell for between £60,000-80,000.
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There are also nine pages of handwritten “We Are The Champions” lyrics expected to sell for £200,000-300,000, while “Killer Queen” lyrics are estimated to sell for around £50,000-70,000.
The collection is wide ranging, also including a slate of other stage costumes as well as personal items like embroidered napkins, a comb, phone, and a telephone. There is also a portrait by French painter Tissot (estimated to fetch between £400,000-600,000), BBC News reports.
Sotheby’s said the collection “displays a quality and diversity of works that are a testament not only to his passion, but his brilliant mind”.
Speaking to BBC News, Austin said she was selling everything except for a few personal gifts and photographs of the pair. She was doing so because she needed to “put my affairs in order,” she said.
“The time has come for me to take the difficult decision to close this very special chapter in my life,” the 72-year-old said.
“I decided that it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to keep things back. If I was going to sell, I had to be brave and sell the lot.”
Garden Lodge has remained almost entirely as Mercury left it, including artwork, antique furniture and glass he collected.
The total auction is expected upwards of £6 million, with some proceeds being donated to charity.
Before the auction date, the collection will be put on exhibition at Sotheby’s New York gallery from 1-8 June, in Los Angeles from 14-18 June, in Hong Kong from 26-30 June, before a month-long stint in London starting 4 August.
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