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Piano used by Freddie Mercury sells for £1.7m in huge auction of his personal items at Sotheby’s

Piano used by Freddie Mercury sells for £1.7m in huge auction of his personal items at Sotheby’s

Freddie Mercury ‘s prized piano that he used to compose Bohemian Rhapsody and other hits by Queen sold for £1.7 million on Wednesday at a huge Sotheby’s auction.

The Yamaha baby grand piano that Mercury wrote some of his biggest hits on had been expected to reach bids as high as £3 million.

Sotheby’s said it was the highest price ever paid for a composer’s piano. They didn’t provide information on the previous record.

Items connected to the operatic anthem, the band’s most enduring hit, brought a premium with hand-written lyrics to the song selling for about £1.4 million and a gold Cartier brooch, saying Queen number 1 given to each band member by their manager after the song topped the charts, selling for £165,000.

A Victorian-style silver snake bangle Mercury wore with an ivory satin catsuit in a video for the song — long before the days of MTV — set a record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a piece of jewelry owned by a rock star, Sotheby’s said.

The bracelet went for £698,500 — 100 times its estimated low price. The item broke a record set when John Lennon’s leather and bead talisman sold for £295,000 in 2008, Sotheby’s said.

The eclectic collection of objects were amassed by Mercury after Queen’s glam-rock produced an avalanche of hits that allowed the singer to achieve his dream of living a Victorian life “surrounded by exquisite clutter.”

More than 1,400 items are being sold by Mercury’s close friend, Mary Austin, to whom he left his house and all its possessions when he died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1991 at 45.

One man who raised his hands over his head in victory and hugged the woman seated next to him after bidding £635,000, including a buyer’s premium, for the rhinestone-studded crown and red fake fur cloak Mercury wore on stage at the end of every show during Queen’s last tour in 1986.

All of the proceeds of the sale of a Cartier onyx and diamond ring given to Mercury by Elton John that sold for £273,000 were to go to the Rocket Man singer’s AIDS charity.

Among the items sold at auction were prints by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall, antique furniture and numerous cat figurines.

For the past month, fans of Mercury who couldn’t afford those kind of prices — or just wanted to see his high-top Adidas, diamond brooches, or sequined jacket — could view them for free in Sotheby’s galleries.

More than 140,000 visitors from around the world queued up outside the elegant auction house to take a tour.

Other items that were treasured by fans were Mercury’s draft lyrics to Somebody to Love, Don’t Stop Me Now and We Are the Champions.

The drafts showed songs at their inception, with Bohemian Rhapsody scratched on stationery from the defunct British Midland Airways. The song was originally named “Mongolian Rhapsody” before that was crossed out.