When legendary rocker and Queen front man Freddie Mercury died of AIDS-related complications in 1991, he left behind a catalog of megahits—and a home chock-full of personal possessions. Almost 30,000 of them will be auctioned next month.
Sotheby’s London is handling the auction, but anyone with internet access can peruse the items online and make a bid. The mind-boggling collection includes furniture, cat art, sweaters, blouses, Queen paraphernalia, notebooks, platform boots, Lalique vases, diamond brooches, glass ornaments and so much more. Items are separated into six auctions organized around specific aspects of his life and given names such as On Stage, At Home, In Love With Japan and Crazy Little Things.
Many items are on display in London until September 5 in a public exhibition titled Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own. Online bidding opens August 11.
“Freddie was a hoarder, he didn’t throw anything away,” Thomas Williams, a Sotheby’s director, told The Guardian. “His possessions give us an extraordinary 360-degree view of the man, from his childhood until his death.”
Mercury left the home and its possessions to his best friend, Mary Austin, who is now selling them. Some of the auction proceeds will benefit the Mercury Phoenix Trust and the Elton John Aids Foundation.
The exhibition spans 15 galleries and includes everything from Mercury’s Tiffany Co. silver moustache comb to his Yamaha baby grand piano, on which he penned such hits as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which is also the title of the 2018 biopic for which Rami Malek, who portrayed the rocker, won an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Here’s a trailer for the film:
The 2016 biography Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury, links Mercury to AIDS patient zero and places his life in the context of the global HIV epidemic.
Biographer Mark Langthorne makes the case that in death Mercury did more to battle HIV and its related stigma than he did in life. In an interview with POZ, the author said that Mercury’s disclosure of his diagnosis “made the disease real for many ordinary people whose lives he had touched through the music and performance—people who would never have known a person with AIDS. Therefore, it becomes something tangible, that they too had lost something and felt it.”