Queen singer Freddie Mercury’s tiny hotpants worn at 1980 Birmingham gig sell for £14,500 ahead of huge auction of rock legend’s 1,500 personal items including crown and moustache comb set to fetch £6M
- An undisclosed overseas buyer paid £14,500, plus extra fees, for the tiny shorts
The skintight leather hotpants that Queen singer Freddie Mercury wore at a gig in more than three decades ago have sold for £14,500 ahead of huge auction featuring 1,500 items from the rock legend’s personal collection.
Mercury, then 34, wore the tailored black shorts, which ‘didn’t leave much to the imagination’, during an encore at a Queen concert in Birmingham in December 1980.
It is understood that the charismatic frontman’s leather shorts sparked a bidding war at the Merseyside auctioneer yesterday before they ultimately sold to an undisclosed overseas buyer.
The sale comes as more than 1,500 items from the late singer’s beloved west London will go to auction this upcoming autumn following an exhibition to mark what would have been his 77th birthday.
The collection features several of Mercury’s paintings, handwritten lyrics and marvellous stage costumes, including his replica of St Edward’s Crown and its accompanying cloak which is set to fetch up to £80,000.
A pair of Freddie Mercury’s skintight leather hotpants sold for £14,500 at an auction in Merseyside yesterday. The Queen frontman is pictured wearing a similar pair of leather shorts during a performance at CNE Grandstand in Toronto in August 1980
The 14ins wide and 10ins long shorts (pictured), which ‘didn’t leave much to the imagination’, sparked a bidding war with Omega Auctions in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside yesterday. An undisclosed overseas buyer paid a hammer price of £14,500, with extra fees taking the final figure to £18,675
The sale comes as more than 1,500 items from the late singer’s beloved west London will go to auction this upcoming autumn following an exhibition to mark what would have been his 77th birthday. The collection features several of Mercury’s paintings, handwritten lyrics and marvellous stage costumes, including his replica of St Edward’s Crown and i ts accompanying cloak. Freddie Mercury is pictured performing on stage in Stockholm, Sweden in 1985
Mercury’s tiny tailored trunks, which span only 14 inches wide and 10 inched long, sold yesterday at Omega Auctions in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside. The vendor had acquired them 30 years ago at a Queen fan convention.
An undisclosed overseas buyer paid a hammer price of £14,500, with extra fees taking the final figure to £18,675.
Dan Hampson, auction manager at Omega, said after the sale: ‘Freddie Mercury is an artist whose talent, warmth and legendary stage presence means he will forever be remembered and cherished by Queen’s millions of fans round the world.
‘These shorts typify his daring and striking look. We’re delighted with the result and pleased to have achieved such a great price for our vendor.’
Mercury wore the shorts during a Birmingham show in 1980 – the year Queen had released their eighth album, The Game, which featured the singles Another One Bites The Dust and Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
Queen fan club secretary Jacky Gunn wrote of the concert in his book Queen – As It Began: ‘Freddie decided to try to shock the audience with his stage outfit for the encore – the shortest, tightest pair of black leather shorts he could find.
‘They didn’t leave much to the imagination, but no one complained.’
Omega Auctions in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside acquired the leather shorts 30 years ago at a Queen fan convention. Auction manager Dan Hampson said the firm is ‘pleased to have achieved such a great price’ for the vendor. Freddie Mercury is pictured sitting on the shoulders of Darth Vader as Queen performed their encore during The Game world tour at the Summit in Houston, Texas, USA in August 1980
A lavish ceremonial military-style jacket created for the singer’s legendary 39th birthday party drag ball in Munich in 1985, is priced between £10,000 and £15,000. The ornate jacket of black silk and velvet, with large extravagantly fringed silver-metal epaulettes and imitation medals, is in the style of The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album cover
Undated handout photo issued by Sotheby’s of Mercury’s Martin D35 acoustic guitar
Mercury’s star-shaped glasses
Among the most highly valued items is a replica of St Edward’s Crown, the real version of which is to be worn by King Charles III in the forthcoming Coronation. Its accompanying cloak – in fake fur, red velvet and rhinestones – was made by the singer’s friend and costume designer Diana Moseley
A photograph of Freddie in Japan, from his personal album
The sale comes as fine arts broker Sotheby’s prepares to pay tribute to Mercury’s inimitable life, work and art with an exhibition and multi-category sale of items from his personal collection.
Items from the rock legend’s beloved home – Garden Lodge in Kensington, west London – will go on display from August 4 until September 5, which would have marked his 77th birthday.
The collection includes a replica of St Edward’s Crown and its accompanying cloak in fake fur, red velvet and rhinestones that were worn by the singer during some of his most famous concerts.
These include the legendary Live Aid in 1985, as well as the finale rendition of God Save The Queen during his last tour with Queen in 1986. It is set to fetch up to £80,000.
Also up for sale are previously unseen handwritten working lyrics to Queen’s 1977 hit We Are The Champions – which stretch over nine pages long and are priced between £200-300,000 – and lyrics to the classic anthem Killer Queen, valued at up to £70,000.
Queen fans could also get their hands on a 1975 Martin D-35 acoustic guitar on which it is thought Mercury wrote and recorded Crazy Little Thing Called Love, for an estimated £30-50,000.
Mercury’s collection at Garden Lodge has remained largely untouched for some 30 years. After he died in 1991, he left the house and its belongings to his friend Mary Austin, who told the BBC: ‘It’s a very intelligent, sophisticated collection and I don’t think one would really attribute that… to Freddie.’
Prior to the London exhibition, highlights from the collection will tour to New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong in June.
The six dedicated auctions which follow will be led by a live evening sale on September 6, in which a representative cross-section of the most significant items in the collection will be offered.
A rare imagine from Freddie’s private album, showing some pre-concert downtime
Mercury’s imitation crown
A work of art from Freddie Mercury’s personal collection
Artwork on display at Freddie’s Home in Kensington
A 1980s vintage white telephone
Asilver moustache comb from Tiffany and Co owned by Mercury
English actress Jane Seymour in a white ballgown with singer Freddie Mercury during the Fashion Aid benefit concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London, 5th November 1985
An art nouveau glass vase lamp, circa 1905, which was owned by Mercury
A Faberge gem-set nephrite and enamel desk clock, which was owned by Mercury
Freddie Mercury’s favourite waistcoat
Singer Freddie Mercury (1946 – 1991) with his friend Mary Austin at an after-party for Queen’s Wembley concerts, Kensington Roof Gardens, London, 12th July 1986
A lavish ceremonial military-style jacket created for the singer’s legendary 39th birthday party drag ball in Munich in 1985 is priced between £10,000 and £15,000.
The ornate jacket of black silk and velvet, with large extravagantly fringed silver-metal epaulettes and imitation medals, is in the style of The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album cover.
On September 7 and 8, two further live auctions will follow: the first dedicated to Mercury ‘On Stage’, the second dedicated to his life ‘At Home’ and the objects he loved and lived with at Garden Lodge.
Oliver Barker, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said: ‘Freddie Mercury’s sensational life has left us with a rich array of artistic moments that still move and astound us, a legacy that, like his music, will live on for ever.
‘As Sotheby’s is transformed into the stage for this remarkable collection, the focus will be as much on Freddie Mercury the showman, celebrating everything we already know about him, as on discovering his less well known private artistic passions.
‘Fittingly lavish in scale, the auction will bring together the expertise of specialists from 30 different collecting categories, and see exhibitions held in four locations across three continents – all culminating in the longest, most spectacular, public exhibition in our company history.
‘How else could we celebrate the legend that is Freddie Mercury?’
Freddie Mercury performing with Queen, during the Live Aid charity concert in 1985
Freddie Mercury lived in Garden Lodge in Kensington. His collection stayed at the home for over three decades and displays a quality and diversity of works
Utagawa Hiroshige, Sudden Shower over the Shin-Ohashi Bridge, 1857
Freddie Mercury was a deeply educated collector with a connoisseur’s eye, honed over years of careful research and exploration of the artists and movements that sparked his intellectual and aesthetic curiosity
Henri Matisse’s Masque Blanc Sur Fond Noir
This statute was in the personal collection that has remained at Freddie’s beloved Garden Lodge for over three decades
A candid photograph of Freddie relaxing in a Japanese restaurant after a concert
Pablo Picasso, Jaqueline au Chapeau Noir, 1962
James Tissot’s Type of Beauty (1880), seen here in Freddie Mercury’s home Garden Lodge
Items from the rock legend’s beloved home – Garden Lodge in Kensington, west London – will go on display from August 4 until September 5, which would have marked his 77th birthday
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