A treasure trove of Freddie Mercury’s personal effects goes under the hammer

Ahead of Sotheby’s Freddie Mercury auction, the eclectic collection of 1,200 lots, including one-off jewellery pieces, is on show in London

Freddie Mercury with a hand fan and a Queen brooch, set for the Freddie Mercury auction at Sotheby's
Freddie Mercury, left, whose collected items including this 1975 Cartier brooch, right, are on show in London ahead of Sotheby’s auction
(Image credit: Sotheby's)

Freddie Mercury’s vast personal collection is set to go under the hammer at Sotheby’s from 6 September 2023, with an exhibition of 1,200 lots on show in London until then.

Freddie Mercury auction jacket with epaulettes

(Image credit: Sotheby's)

Amongst the eclectic contents of Mercury’s London home, Garden Lodge, is a first look inside his jewellery box. 

A flamboyant collection including personal gifts from friends – Elton John among them – joins Victorian and art deco-inspired pieces, some dating from the 1920s. One-off items, such as a bejewelled watch worn on the lapel, join pieces from Cartier and vintage treasures such as a 1915 seed-pearl-and-diamond necklace. 

Freddie Mercury auction – jewellery on dressing table with phone and clock

(Image credit: Sotheby's)

A gold Cartier brooch, engraved with the words ‘Queen Number 1’ and gifted by Queen manager John Reid on the occasion of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ reaching number one, and a diamond feather brooch that made its first appearance at London’s Great Exhibition in 1851 are both highlights. 

‘Sometimes I could go to Cartier, the jewellers, and buy up the whole shop... yesterday I went shopping at Cartier in London, but then I realised they were closing at lunchtime. So I rang up to see if they could leave it open for me, and they actually did... I felt like Zsa Zsa Gabor,’ Freddie Mercury once commented. 

Freddie Mercury notebook with annotations

A menu and table plan autographed by Mercury’s guests

(Image credit: Sotheby's)

The jewellery joins fashion items, including the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ catsuits, a silk waistcoat painted with Mercury’s cats Delilah, Goliath, Oscar, Lily, Romeo and Miko, and the ballet pumps he loved to wear on stage. 

The extensive collection also features lyrics in progress, works of art, sketches, moustache combs, personal polaroids and art nouveau furniture. 

‘Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own’ exhibition is on view at Sotheby’s London until 5 September 2023. Ahead of the London finale, highlights will be on view in Sotheby's galleries across the globe. The first in a series of live auctions takes place on 6 September


cat figurines from Freddie Mercury auction

The lots include a host of cat ornaments

(Image credit: Sotheby's)

silver brooch in form of leaf

(Image credit: Sotheby's)

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.