The Rolls Royce Silver Shadow once owned by Queen’s Freddie Mercury has fetched over $500,000 at a recent auction, with proceeds going towards Ukraine aid efforts.
Queen guitarist, Brian May said his fellow bandmate’s luxury car was first bought by a Ukrainian pop star some years ago, with the intention of placing it in a specially-built Queen museum. The car — first bought by the frontman in 1979 — was later decided to be sold, given the ongoing war in its country of purchase, with the new owner now donating profits to a specialist hospital for surgery and rehabilitation for people injured in Ukraine.
The car went under the hammer over the weekend, with initial estimations that it would sell for around $35,000 – $50,000. However, the Rolls fetched more than ten times that highest estimation, with a deep-pocketed Queen fan spending some $508, 666 on the purchase. The value appreciated more than tenfold since it was inherited by Mercury’s sister in 1991, and later sold to its new owner in 2013.
The car is believed to be the first and only Rolls Royce owned by Mercury, who’d made his motorhead status known through his contribution to Queen songs like I’m in Love with my Car (from the band’s 1975 album, A Night at the Opera). Although he never got a full license, the Rolls is thought to be Mercury’s top choice of chauffeur vehicle, sporting baby blue interiors and a silver chalice paint job.
The sale of the car is accompanied by filings and documents bearing Mercury’s name, including signed workshop invoices and assorted paperwork. Queen superfans will also see documents pertaining to Mercury’s former partner Mary Austin, and a letter from longtime Queen manager Jim Beach confirming the singer’s ownership. “[The car] is testament to Mercury’s enthusiasm for all things on four wheels,” the listing reads.
It comes just days after the contents of fellow celebrity Joan Didion’s apartment were listed for auction. Proceeds from the sale of the items — which include first-edition copies of her books and the work of Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell — will likewise be donated to charity.