LONDON. A Yamaha baby grand piano used by late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury to compose some of the group’s most iconic hits has sold at auction for £1.7m.

The price was slightly below estimates but was still a record for a composer’s piano, auctioneers Sotheby’s said.

Mercury used the piano to write songs like Bohemian Rhapsody, and handwritten lyrics for that hit fetched £1.38m.

Almost 1,500 items are being sold across six auctions by Mary Austin, one of the star’s oldest friends.

Other highlights from the first sale on Wednesday included:

l A silver snake bangle worn in the Bohemian Rhapsody video in 1975, which fetched £698,500, almost 100 times its estimate

l The door of his Garden Lodge home in west London, covered in graffiti left by fans, which went for £412,750, far in excess of the £15,000-£25,000 estimate

l Handwritten lyrics for Somebody To Love (£241,300), Killer Queen (£279,400) and We Are the Champions (£317,500)

l A crown and cloak designed for the 1986 Magic tour (£635,000)

l An onyx and diamond Cartier ring (£273,050), a gift from Sir Elton John – and the full hammer price will go to the Elton John Aids Foundation

l A 1941 Wurlitzer jukebox that stood in Garden Lodge’s kitchen (£406,400)

One of the star lots was the original 15-page manuscript for their epic hit Bohemian Rhapsody, with the working title “Mongolian Rhapsody”, which revealed in its notes the different directions in which Mercury saw the track going.

Mercury fronted the UK band whose mix of glam rock, heavy metal and camp theatrics made them one of the most popular bands of the 1970s.

Freddie Mercury

Zanzibar-born Mercury had a big art collection and paintings by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso that adorned his home are also going under the hammer, as well as the last painting he bought a month before he died from Aids aged 45 in 1991.

In total, 1,469 items from his home at Garden Lodge are being offered for sale by Austin, a close friend and one-time fiancée of the star. – BBC.

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