Freddie Mercury’s piano and scribbled “Bohemian Rhapsody” lyrics sell for millions at auction

Freddie Mercury’s possessions on display

“Queen” frontman Freddie Mercury’s handwritten lyrics, other possessions on display for first time ever


Some of Freddie Mercury’s prized possessions went up for auction in London this week – including a grand piano that sold for $2.17 million U.S. dollars.

Another high ticket item – handwritten lyrics for the Queen hit “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which the frontman autographed – sold for $1.7 million U.S. dollars. The pages contain a bit of little known history. The song was originally titled “Mongolian Rhapsody” but was altered to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the draft shows. 

Sotheby's auctions Freddie Mercury's estate
A Yamaha grand piano on which Freddie Mercury composed many hits for Queen, including “Bohemian Rhapsody. The exhibition “Freddie Mercury – A World Of His Own” in London provides insights into the private life and musical career of the Queen frontman. 

Philip Dethlefs/picture alliance via Getty Images

While items like a crown and cloak set (which went for $791,784 U.S. dollars), a few guitars, and several catsuits have already sold, there are some pieces still being bid on, including diaries and notebooks with handwritten lyrics and a pair Mercury’s signature Adidas high top sneakers. 

Mercury’s MTV Video Music Award, which Queen won in 1992 for best video from a film, was also still being bid on Thursday. The award was given for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was featured in “Wayne’s World.”

The manuscripts of working lyrics for (L-R) ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘Somebody to Love’, and ‘We Are The Champions’, autographed by British singer-songwriter Freddie Mercury, are displayed during the media preview for “Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own: The Evening Sale” at Sotheby’s in New York City on June 1, 2023. 

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

The Sotheby’s multi-day auction is broken into categories: The “On Stage,” featuring costumes, instruments, lyrics and other items pertaining to performances; “At Home,” with items from Mercury’s Garden Lodge; “In Love With Japan,” featuring the Japanese art Mercury collected; and “Crazy Little Things,” with “oddments, curios and beloved objects from Freddie’s home.”

Before the auction items were sold, the were on display in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and London.

Mercury sang with Queen for about two decades and died in 1991 from complications from HIV. During their decades together, Queen wrote countless hits and was nominated for four Grammys.

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