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Piano used by Freddie Mercury to compose Bohemian Rhapsody sold for £1.7m

A piano used by late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury to compose songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody has sold for a record £1.7 million.

More than 1,400 of the star’s possessions were sold for a total of £12,172,290 at an auction run by Sotheby’s in London on Wednesday.

Mercury bought the Yamaha Baby Grand Piano in 1975 after searching to find his “perfect piano”, and later used it to develop other songs such as Don’t Stop Me Now and Somebody To Love.

Before the auction, Sotheby’s said they expected the piano to sell for between £2 million and £3 million.

Other top-selling items included handwritten working lyrics for Bohemian Rhapsody, which sold for £1.4 million, while Mercury’s rainbow-coloured satin jacket sold for £203,200.

Freddie Mercury sale
Freddie Mercury’s handwritten working draft for Bohemian Rhapsody sold for £1.4m (Yui Mok/PA)

A silver snake bangle worn in the Bohemian Rhapsody video in 1975 sold for almost 100 times its estimate at £698,500, Sotheby’s said.

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Meanwhile, a sparkling silver sequined stage-worn cat suit worn by Mercury on tours in 1977 and 1979 was sold for £139,700.

The items came up for sale in the first of six auctions devoted to Mercury’s never-before-seen private collection.

Sotheby’s said a record 2,000 people from 61 countries registered to bid for the 59 lots on Wednesday, all of which found a buyer.

Sotheby’s Europe chairman Oliver Barker said: “It has been a once-in-a-lifetime privilege for all of us at Sotheby’s to celebrate the legend that is Freddie Mercury.

“I have almost lost count of the number of auctions I have presided over from this rostrum, but I know for certain that I will never forget bringing the hammer down tonight – nor will I forget the electric atmosphere that both imbued the auction room and that has taken over our galleries for the past month.”

Freddie Mercury sale
Costumes which were part of Freddie Mercury’s personal collection went on display during a photo call at Sotheby’s in London ahead of their auction (Yui Mok/PA)

Auctioning of the treasured piano came a month after thousands of items from Mercury’s beloved home – Garden Lodge in Kensington, west London – went on display as part of the Freddie Mercury: A World Of His Own exhibition.

Overwhelmed by the response to the exhibition, Mercury’s close friend Mary Austin decided the piano should be offered “without reserve” to open the possibility of bidding to a broader base of potential buyers.

Personal items from the collection will be sold across auctions in September.

Part of the money raised will go to the Elton John Aids Foundation, following Mercury’s death aged 45 in 1991 following health complications relating to Aids.

On Thursday and Friday, there will be two live auctions: the first dedicated to Mercury “On Stage”, the second dedicated to his life “At Home”, and to the objects he loved and lived with at Garden Lodge.

These will be followed by three more online auctions titled In Love With Japan and part one and two of Crazy Little Things.