Freddie Mercury's 75th birthday marked by NFT auction to benefit AIDS charity

The iconic frontman died in 1991 from pneumonia related to AIDS.
The iconic frontman died in 1991 from pneumonia related to AIDS. Photo credit: Supplied

Iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury would have turned 75 this month and fans are being offered the option of commemorating his birthday with four special non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Digital tokens have become big business in 2021, but unlike many others, the four artist-designed NFTs are going to benefit charity, with proceeds going to the Mercury Phoenix Trust.

Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara in Tanzania in 1946, died in 1991 from pneumonia related to AIDS. The trust was founded by bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor alongside Queen's manager Jim Beach in his memory.

The artworks will be auctioned off on digital art marketplace SuperRare from September 21 (NZ time), with the auctions lasting 75 hours.

"Freddie Mercury left a very simple creative brief to the world on his passing. 'You can do whatever you want with my work, just never make me boring'," SuperRare and the Mercury Phoenix Trust said in a joint statement.

Three of the artists chose to feature Mercury himself in the NFTs, with only Blake Kathryn's Sanctuary going in a different direction.

It features the late frontman's white piano and red crown in a garden.

"Freddie's sanctuary was his garden lodge, which had an eclectic range of decor through first and foremost a deep-rooted love for classic Victorian touches with a Japanese influence," Kathryn said.

"Infusing nods of these details with the lusciousness of an open garden, it sets a private performance into the centre stage for Freddie's creative process."

More than US$5 million has been spent on NFTs in the last 30 days, according to data from DappRadar, with NFTs from the game Axie Infinity topping the list of most valuable.

Beeple, the digital artist who holds the record for an NFT artwork with the US$69 million he made for his piece 'Everydays - The First 5000 Days' in an auction at Christie's, sold an NFT for US$6 million with proceeds going to the OpenEarth Foundation.

Others, like Joe Exotic's NFTs, were to raise money for the celebrity - in that case to fund the self-proclaimed Tiger King's legal bills while he's incarcerated for attempted murder for hire.