Freddie Mercury’s baby grand piano sells for £1.74m at auction, but Brian May says he “can’t look”
Handwritten Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics fetch £1,370,000
Freddie Mercury’s Yamaha C2 baby grand piano, which he purchased in 1975 and used throughout his career, has been sold at auction for £1.74m. The piano was expected to fetch between £2 and £3m, but it was still sold for a tidy sum. The C2 was the piano on which Mercury developed “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and he continued to compose on it throughout his career. The piano was sold without a reserve price, and it was part of a larger auction of Mercury’s personal effects, including handwritten draft lyrics for “Bohemian Rhapsody” and other iconic songs. The auction also included items of clothing, jewelry, works of art, and photographs.
Mary Austin, a close friend of Mercury, shared how he came to buy the piano. She said that Mercury had been searching high and low for a high-quality piano that would fit in their shared London flat, eventually settling on the £1,000 Yamaha. Mercury enlisted the help of his Queen bandmates to move his upright piano into the bedroom to make room for the C2 in the living room, but he wasn’t quite prepared for how big it was and spent a long time deciding where it should be positioned. Austin recalls that Mercury treated the Yamaha with absolute respect, considering it to be more than an instrument, but an extension of himself and his vehicle of creativity.
The auction has attracted worldwide attention, but Queen guitarist Brian May expressed his sadness at the sale. He took to Instagram to share his thoughts, saying, “Tomorrow while I’m speaking passionately to Welsh farmers about cows and badgers and bovine TB, Freddie’s most intimate personal effects and writings that were part of what we shared for so many years will go under the hammer, to be knocked down to the highest bidder and dispersed forever. I can’t look. To us, his closest friends and family, it’s too sad.
Despite the sadness surrounding the auction, it is a testament to Mercury’s enduring legacy and the impact he had on the music industry. The sale of his personal effects allows fans to own a piece of music history and cherish the memory of one of the greatest performers of all time.