Freddie Mercury’s entire life and legacy will be up for auction soon via his ex-girlfriend, Mary Austin, who wishes to get rid of items that he left behind before his untimely passing.
As reported by BBC News, auction house Sotheby’s has announced that around 1,500 items from late Queen singer Freddie Mercury’s London home will be displayed in exhibitions around the world for the first time throughout 2023, with some going up for sale in September. An estimated 1,500 items will be sold over the course of six auctions and are expected to bring in more than £6 million ($7.4 million).
Mary Austin has taken over thirty years to watch the items and the home that Mercury has left behind. Naturally, fans are a bit perplexed with why would she want to sell these now? Certainly it’s better than capitalizing when the movie came out, right?
Mary said about getting rid of the items: “For many years now, I have had the joy and privilege of living surrounded by all the wonderful things that Freddie sought out and so loved, but the years have passed, and the time has come for me to take the difficult decision to close this very special chapter in my life. Freddie was an incredible and intelligent collector who showed us that there is beauty and fun and conversation to be found in everything. I hope [the upcoming events] will be an opportunity to share all the many facets of Freddie, both public and private, and for the world to understand more about, and celebrate, his unique and beautiful spirit.”
Mary is Freddie’s former girlfriend and lifelong friend. When Freddie died in 1991, he left the house and everything inside of it to Mary.
Up for auction will be Freddie Mercury’s handwritten working lyrics to one of Queen’s greatest anthems, “We Are The Champions”, including harmonies and chords, written across nine pages. Also available are the previously unseen working lyrics to “Killer Queen”, written on a single sheet of paper in black Biro in 1974.
Mary said the pages of lyrics and musical notes are particularly difficult to part with. She said: “You’re looking at the process of the artist, of work in progress. The crossings out, the rethinking, the reformatting. … I decided that it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to keep things back. If I was going to sell, I had to be brave and sell the lot.”
Freddie hid his love life for so long and left so much out on the stage night after night. He cared so deeply for Mary Austin, and it just feels like Freddie is now able to give back to her fully and help her live out the rest of her life. It’s a full circle moment, and while I’ve never spoken to Freddie Mercury, though I wish I had, I just don’t feel that he would have any issues with what Mary is set on doing.
In addition to draft song lyrics, the items in the sale will include: pink, star-shaped glasses similar to the dark pair Mercury wore in the music video for his band’s 1977 classic “We Will Rock You”; his tiny Tiffany & Co. mustache comb; his guitar, believed to have been used to write and record “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”; the waistcoat Mercury wore in his final music video, “These Are The Days Of Our Lives”, in 1991; and a Pablo Picasso linocut titled “Jacqueline Au Chapeau Noir”.
When taking all of this into consideration, I would say that Mary is being the most honest about this. Not only did she wait past the point of the movie being released about Mercury’s life, which would have most likely fetched her more money, but she’s moving on and moving forward with her life.