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Queen frontman's stage costume inspires bidding frenzy

The iconic costume worn by Freddie Mercury sold for nearly three times its low pre-auction estimate, plus four Beatles-related lots rounded out the auction's Top 10.

By Susan Sliwicki

Freddie Mercury's black and white, harlequin-patterned stage costume drew the fiercest competition among bidders at Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia auction held July 3 in London.

Freddie Mercury harlequin stage costume

Freddie Mercury's stage-worn costume sold for nearly three times its low preauction estimate. Bonhams photo.

Mercury’s pieces were part of more than 320 lots of music memorabilia and 160 lots of film and television memorabilia offered at the event, of which 72 percent of the lots sold. The event generated total sales of $593,870 (£378,838).

Rounding out the music memorabilia Top 10 lots were:
• A rare autographed copy of “Day Tripper”/“We Can Work It Out,” with a related taped interview with The Beatles, $21,555 (£13,750).
• A letter from George Harrison, sent from The Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, dated Dec. 28, 1962, $9,798 (£6,250).
•A set of flight booklets for The Beatles and their entourage on the band’s 1965 European tour, $9,798 (£6,250).
•A letter from George Harrison, likely written in 1962, $8,818 (£5,625).
• One of Elton John’s stage costumes from the late 1970s or early 1980s, $7,838 (£5,000).
• An early 1970s Fender Precision bass guitar, $17,636 (£11,250), and corresponding amplifier, $4,311 (£2,750) from Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters;
• Michael Jackson’s military-style jacket, $16,656, (£10,625) which was part of a collection of almost 40 lots relating to the late pop star;
• Kurt Cobain’s Sonic Youth T-shirt, worn during the final Nirvana concert in Munich, Germany, on March 1, 1994, $13,717 (£8,750).
• Chris Martin’s Yamaha piano, which was used to compose Coldplay’s popular song “Trouble,” $9,798 (£6,250). The instrument’s case bears the logos of The Thompson Twins and the Tindersticks, suggesting that both bands owned the piano before Coldplay.
The auction house’s next entertainment memorabilia sale will take place on Dec. 12, 2012, at Bonhams’ Knightsbridge, London, location.