Audrey Hepburn Letters, Freddie Mercury Notebook Sell at Bonhams

A collection of letters written by Audrey Hepburn during the most dramatic decade of her life has sold at Bonhams for more than twice their estimate, achieving £11,250.

Written between 1951 and 1960, the letters reveal a tumultuous time in the actress's private life as she dealt with her stratospheric rise from an unknown, struggling ballerina to one of the most famous faces on Earth. Hepburn's broken off engagement, marriage, and birth of her first child are all recorded in her characteristic schoolgirl handwriting.

"Would you believe it," she wrote in 1951, as a girl of 22, "I'm in Monte Carlo working on a French picture. The place is heavenly and this is the best thing that's ever happened to me." She was filming for 'Monte Carlo Baby', one of her very first movies, just two years before she was picked to star in her breakthrough film, 'Roman Holiday'.

A year later, Audrey discusses 'with a heavy heart' her broken off engagement with James Hanson, which occurred after Hanson continued to push his fiancée to get married amid her hectic schedule. Hepburn had been in Rome filming 'Roman Holiday', while Hanson was regularly photographed leaving London nightclubs with other actresses and socialites on his arm. "It is all very unhappy-making," Audrey wrote from Chicago a few months later. "I fear I thought it possible to make our combined lives and careers work out."

Other notable lots related to the starlet include a rare 1961 film poster for 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', sold for £5,625, and a Terry O'Neill colour print of Hepburn, sold for £3,750.

Leading the sale, a rare autographed 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' album cover from the Beatles signed on the gatefold sleeve by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – sold for more than double its estimate, achieving £74,500.

Elsewhere, the personal notebook in which Freddie Mercury wrote the lyrics for some of rock band Queen's best known hits, including 'I Want It All', 'Too Much Love Will Kill You', and 'The Show Must Go On', sold for £62,500.

The notebook was used between 1988 and 1990, while the singer battled the illness that led to his untimely death in 1991 at the age of 45.

Also featured in the sale was the guitar and amp collection of legendary Thin Lizzy rocker, Gary Moore. The 33-piece collection featured several incredible instruments, including a 1963 fender Stratocaster, sold for £18,750, and a 1964 Gibson Firebird 1 guitar, sold for £10,625. The Gary Moore lots collectively achieved £147,250.

Katherine Schofield, Bonhams Head of Entertainment Memorabilia, said: "At this year's sale we've offered some truly personal lots of entertainment memorabilia, from the private guitar collection of 'Thin Lizzy' guitarist, Gary Moore, to the heartfelt letters of Audrey Hepburn, and of course, the personal songwriting notebook of Freddie Mercury. Each item offers fans that personal link to their favourite star. We're delighted the sale has done so well, achieving more than half a million pounds."

Auction Guide