Freddie Mercury: stamp collector

Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, was born on this day in 1946. Today would have been his 66th birthday. One of the lesser known facts about Freddie Mercury is that he was a childhood stamp collector, and that his stamp album is part of our collection.

Freddie was born Farrokh Bulsara, into a Zoroastrian family in Zanzibar. In line with his family’s religious beliefs all of his belongings were burnt upon his death, although his father Bomi decided to keep Freddie’s childhood stamp album. Bomi, who was also interested in stamps, originally inspired Freddie’s stamp collecting, and it’s believed that Freddie built up his collection between the ages of nine and twelve.

A page from Freddie Mercury's stamp album.

A page from Freddie Mercury’s stamp album.

Freddie Mercury’s collection includes stamps from a wide range of countries across the world. Many are from the British Empire and those of particular philatelic interest are from Zanzibar. The album also incorporates a wide selection of stamps from Eastern Europe.

One of the most interesting aspects of the collection is the manner in which the stamps are arranged. On some of the album pages the stamps are ordered by colour, size or type. On other pages balanced patterns are created, or letters from the alphabet formed. Perhaps for the future Freddie Mercury the appeal of stamps was as much about their designs and the ways in which they could be displayed as the stamps themselves?

A page from the album where the stamps are arranged to form the letter F.

A page from the album where the stamps are arranged to form the letter F.

Bomi Bulsara eventually decided to auction his and Freddie Mercury’s stamp collections and the BPMA, then the National Postal Museum, purchased the album on 17th December 1993. The amount paid was donated to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS charity set up in remember Freddie.

Visit our website to see more Stamps & Philately from our collection.

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