Sotheby’s auction of Freddie Mercury’s personal items, Freddie Mercury: A World of his Own, began on Wednesday, September 6, and it’s brought in huge money. In fact, the first set of items brought in $15.4 million, with 100% of the lots sold.
The auction was curated by the late Queen frontman’s good friend Mary Austin. Fifty-nine lots went up for sale Wednesday, with Mercury’s baby grand Yamaha piano bringing in the highest bid, $2.2 million.
Meanwhile, a Victorian-style silver snake bangle bracelet sold for $881,000, 100 times more than its lowest estimated bid. The item actually set a record for the highest price paid for an item of jewelry once owned by a rock star, surpassing John Lennon’s leather and bead talisman, which sold for $368,000 in 2008.
Other hot items included handwritten lyrics to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which revealed an alternate title, selling for $1.7 million; lyrics to “We Are The Champions,” which sold for over $400,000; the signature crown and cloak Mercury wore during Queen’s last live show in 1968, which sold for over $800,000, 10 times more than the lowest estimate; and a still operational 1941 Wurlitzer jukebox, which sold for over $512,000, more than 20 times its estimate.
There was also a Cartier onyx and diamond ring that was a gift to Mercury from Elton John. It sold for over $344,000, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Elton John Aids Foundation.
And this is only the first of six total Mercury auctions happening at Sotheby’s. The next one, “On Stage,” is happening Thursday, September 7. Sotheby’s says a record 2,000 people from 61 different countries registered to bid in the auction.