AceShowbiz - Freddie Mercury's grand piano, handwritten song lyrics, and extravagant costumes are set to be exhibited before being auctioned off next month. More than 1,400 items that were formerly owned by the Queen singer - who died in 1991 aged 45 - are being auctioned off by Sotheby's London and fans will be able to view the items in a free exhibition.
Visitors will get to see Freddie's detailed dinner party seating plans, menus, and invitations, his art collection, numerous cat figurines, and even an old school book, besides a collection of Japanese silk kimonos and other items of clothing.
Thomas Williams, Sotheby's furniture and decorative arts specialist Thomas Williams, said, "Freddie was a hoarder, he didn't throw anything away. His possessions give us an extraordinary 360-degree view of the man, from his childhood until his death."
The exhibition will be arranged thematically at Sotheby's 15 galleries and range from a room of Japanese art and objects to a recreation of the "Radio Gaga" hitmaker's Garden Lodge dining room. Thomas said, "Freddie was a great entertainer, not just on stage, but at his fabulous dinner parties and gatherings."
The vast collection was left to Freddie's close friend Mary Austin and remained undisturbed in his London home for 30 years until she decided to sell them and now the black grand piano is expected to fetch £2-3 million, while the handwritten draft of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is estimated to sell for £800,000 to £1.2 million. A proportion of the proceeds were donated to the Mercury Phoenix Trust and the Elton John Aids Foundation.
Mary previously promised the collection would take fans "deeper" into Freddie. She told the BBC, "The collection takes you deeper within the individual and the man I knew. You see the spectrum of his taste. It's a very intelligent, sophisticated collection."
Mary said the lyric sheets, including a nine-page document featuring the harmonies and chords, as well as the words to "We Are the Champions" - a lot expected to sell for £200,000 - £300,000 - were the hardest to part with because they show "the most beautiful side" of her friend.
She added, "You're looking at the process of the artist, of work in progress. The crossings out, the rethinking, the reformatting." But Mary decided to sell the collection because she is ready to put her "affairs in order."
She said, "The time has come for me to take the difficult decision to close this very special chapter in my life. 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." But she will keep some "personal gifts" and photographs of herself and Freddie.
"Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own" will run until September 5.