Ephemera relating to Freddie Mercury’s role as frontman with the 1969 blues band Ibex including a letter to drummer Mick ‘Miffer’ Smith, $40,000 (£31,600) at Doyle New York.

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In September Sotheby’s held three separate live auctions and three online sales in London dedicated to Freddie Mercury memorabilia.

The December 15 Stage and Screen sale at Doyle New York (26/21/15% buyer’s premium) included a rare group of ephemera relating to Mercury’s role as short-lived frontman with the heavy blues band Ibex. Estimated at $12,000- 18,000, it hammered for $40,000 (£31,600).

It was after graduating from Ealing Art College that Mercury had bought a guitar, taught himself to play, and began writing songs in the spring of 1969. By the summer he had been introduced to a Liverpool trio Mike Bersin (guitar), John Taylor (bass) and Mick ‘Miffer’ Smith (drums) who were looking for a singer.

Included in this lot was an original ticket to the debut performance of Ibex at Honiton Hall in Warrington dated May 23, 1969, together with early photographs of Mercury and this early group of friends and bandmates.

However, its principal attraction was a letter sent by Freddie to Miffer Smith on October 16, 1969.

Over two pages, Mercury covers seeing Led Zeppelin at the Lyceum (he describes Robert Plant’s performance as “orgasmic”), his sexuality (“I hear from several sources that you’ve informed them that I’ve turned into a fully-fledged queer”) and upcoming gigs with the bands Wreckage and Smile.

The latter, on December 6, was one of Mercury’s earliest performances with Brian May and Roger Taylor and the rest, as they say, is rock and roll history.

Doyle NY could find very few letters from Mercury in the auction record and none from this early period before the success of Queen.