September 2023 | London
In September, 2023 Sotheby’s presented a series of sales Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own, a once-in-a-lifetime event that unveiled, for the first time anywhere, the public and private realm of the global icon Freddie Mercury.
A blockbuster pre-sales exhibition at Sotheby’s New Bond Street during August 2023 saw over 140,000 visitors from around the world queue up – at times, around the block - to see for themselves, the panoramic display of Freddie’s possessions from his home, Garden Lodge.
In the exhibition that saw Sotheby’s New Bond Street transform itself into a Mercury museum, and in the six auctions, we discovered Freddie Mercury’s kaleidoscopic world of music, style and glamour. Spanning art, fashion, musical instruments, personal papers and possessions, candid photographs, furniture, and jewels, accrued over the course of fifty years, the sales were sourced from his multiple collections, meticulously preserved over the decades at his beloved London residence.
The auctions, which commenced with a dramatic Evening Sale on September 6 and closed a week later, vividly demonstrated the allure and fascination Freddie Mercury continues to exert today. With a total of 41,800 bids placed on the 1406 lots across six auctions, Sotheby’s achieved sensational full ‘white-glove’ sales – with all lots sold, and almost 99% selling above their high estimate - totalling £40 million/$50.4 million, against an estimated £7.6 – 11.3 million.
Buyers from the UK, North America, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Mexico and Brazil and 50 other countries responded energetically to the quality and diversity of works that reflected Freddie’s manifold passions, innate style, accomplished artistry, and brilliant mind.
Read on, to relive the stories, magic moments, music and memories of this true legend of the 20th century.
In New York, London and Hong Kong, visitors from across the globe entered Freddie Mercury’s personal world at Sotheby’s for a once in a lifetime exhibition showcasing the personal collection of a global icon.
140,658 Visitors to Our Global Exhibitions
For this unique project, Sotheby’s was honoured to work with Freddie’s closest friend and former partner Mary Austin and her family, in bringing this unprecedented experience to life, and making the dreams of thousands of fans worldwide a reality. The excitement, drama, passion and magic of the event is summed up in one of the hundreds of heartfelt comments left in the Sotheby’s visitor’s book, from a visiting fan.
“Dear Mary, Wow thank you so much for inviting us into Freddie’s magnificent world. This has absolutely blown my mind. He was the most extraordinary man, and he does live forever!”
Limited Edition Collection Book & Tote Bags
To celebrate the collection, Sotheby’s Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own Collection Book and tote bags were available to purchase for a limited time only.
Unfortunately the books and bags are no longer available for purchase at Sotheby’s or online.
Stories & Video
The Evening Sale: Freddie Mercury, Queen - Wembley Stadium 1986, Photograph by ©Denis O’Regan
On Stage: Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Wembley Stadium, London, 1986, Photograph by ©Richard Young
At Home: Freddie Mercury © DIDI ZILL
In Love With Japan: Freddie Mercury, ©Photo by Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images
Crazy Little Things 1: A rare image from Freddie’s private album, showing some pre-concert downtime.
Crazy Little Things 2: A candid photograph of Freddie relaxing after a concert in a Japanese restaurant.