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It had been consigned for sale in Corsham, Bath, on March 9 by artist David Costa, who worked up the original concept by Freddie Mercury. Costa also provided the artwork for the band’s previous album A Night at the Opera.

Costa provided three elements for the album released on December 10, 1976: the famous ink and fine airbrushed ‘heraldic crest’ used for the front cover, and the artwork for the credits panel used on the reverse. Also offered here was the original penned linework on tracing paper, each piece bearing the original mount pin holes to the corners. The buyer was an American collector.

Auction specialist Luke Hobbs said he had asked Costa if he still had the similar artwork for A Night at the Opera. He had said: “I’ve got no idea where it is, I think A Night at the Opera may have become a night in the dustbin.”

A Day at the Races, featuring the singles Tie Your Mother Down, Somebody to Love and Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy, was Queen’s fifth studio album and the first the band self-produced. The follow-up release was 1977’s News Of The World. The original artwork for that album, by American sci-fi artist Frank Kelley Freas, was sold by Bonhams in Los Angeles in December 2019 for $50,000.