Gotta Have Rock and Roll continues to offer a wide selection of rock artist memorabilia, but their most recent auction didn’t bring the kinds of prices we are used to seeing on several Elvis items. The Auctions at Graceland have a distinct advantage by offering a hundred or more Elvis collectibles and having them on display when thousands of fans are in town for events like Elvis Week.
So, if you have some collectibles you want to sell, stick with the Auctions at Graceland, but if you are looking to buy, be sure to check out the next Gotta have Rock and Roll auction. Their Pop Culture Auction last month had a few items that went cheap or had no bids at all.
Pink Stage Pants with Black Saddle Stitching:
Do you remember this photo of Elvis in a pink suit and Scotty and Bill wearing pink vests? I’m not sure what happened to Elvis’ coat, but the pants were auctioned last month.
Elvis gave the pants to his cousin Gene Smith, along with some other clothes. Gene was the first of the ever-present Elvis buddies and performed many duties for Elvis including attending to his wardrobe. He provided a letter of provenance, and Gotta Have Rock & Roll supplied their own Certificate of Authenticity. In addition, the pants contained a Lansky Bros. label and another one that said Styled for Elvis Presley.
So, with all that, you’d think it was a slam dunk for the pants to meet or surpass the estimate of $3-5,000, but only three bids came in and the pants went for just $2,200. A real bargain.
White Leather Boots:
Elvis wore these white leather boots with square toes and black heels both on and off stage. He gave them to Charlie Hodge, who received dozens of clothing items during the sixteen years he lived downstairs at Graceland. It’s hard to find an auction of Elvis collectibles that doesn’t include at least one Elvis-gifted item to Charlie.
Gotta Have Rock and Roll may have dampened the enthusiasm of some buyers in their description of these accompanying photographs. The website says “photos of Elvis wearing the same, or nearly identical, boots on stage. I added the italics. However, Charlie Hodge provided a letter of provenance, so the estimate of $4-6,000 seemed reasonable. Only one person bid on the boots, and picked them off for just $3,000.
Painted Leather & Suede Jacket:
Elvis usually wore this brown leather jacket with painted birds and whip-stitching as a shirt. When I saw the pre-auction estimate of $5-7,000 on this jacket, I thought it was too low. Look at this blow-up of the design on the back.
Elvis gave this beautiful jacket to Shaun Nielson, a friend and singer in his back-up group The Voice, after a recording session in the Graceland jungle room. The jacket came with a letter of provenance from Nielsen and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. However, only one person bid on it and he got the shirt for just $4,000. If the seller had provided a photo of Elvis wearing it, the price probably have been double or more.
Blue Warm Up Suit with Red and White Stripes:
Here’s another example of where a photo of Elvis wearing an item of clothing adds much to its value. He wore this warm up suit both at the racquet ball court and when he traveled from city to city on his plane the Lisa Marie. It is yet another item Elvis gave to Charlie Hodge. Of course it was accompanied by a letter of provenance from Charlie and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. However, the photo they offered was Elvis wearing a very similar warm-up suit.
Close doesn’t count. The estimate was $4-6,000, but potential buyers must have been unimpressed, because not one even bid the $3,000 minimum.
This is a very informative comparison. Elvis owned these custom-made, pullover, V-neck shirts with large pointed collars and balloon sleeves in two colors, red and blue. He gave both to his close friend and valet Richard Davis one day when he was cleaning out his closet. Both had the same Elvis Presley custom made label and the IC Costume Company label. Both were accompanied by a letter of provenance from Richard Davis and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. Both had the same minimum bid of $3,000 and estimate of $4-6,000, yet one had no bids and the other had nine bids and went for $8,565. Can you guess why the difference?
There was no picture of Elvis wearing the red one. Like I’ve said many times, if you want to get into collecting Elvis clothing, buy the items with photos of him wearing them.
To be fair, some other Elvis wardrobe offerings at this auction brought in pretty substantial prices. Let’s look at them.
Custom Made Tan Suede Trench Coat with Faux Fur Collar
This tan suede trench coat with large faux fur collar was custom made for Elvis at Lansky Bros. This is another prime piece of his wardrobe that Elvis gave to Shaun Nielson. It has the Lansky Bros. label, letter of provenance, certificate of authenticity, and the all-important picture of Elvis wearing it. The bidding topped out at $8,577.
Kissin’ Cousins” Film Worn Cream Denim Jeans and Jacket
Wardrobe items from Elvis’ movies always have accompanying photos of him wearing them. I’m not sure why people go after movie clothes rather than personal ones, but this one brought in a smooth $6,000, a bit below the estimate.
Blue Suede Pants with Brown Suede Flames
Back-up singer Shaun Nielson picked out some really cool stuff when Elvis let him rummage through his closet after that recording session at Graceland. Elvis purchased these dark blue, suede bell bottom pants with brown suede flame design down the legs from what the website refers to as his favorite store in Las Vegas, Suzy Creamcheese. This is an exception to the rule when it comes to providing a picture of Elvis wearing the clothing item up for bid. There was none, but the pants went for $7,786 anyway, well above the estimate.
“EP” Blue Pajama Top:
The story is the same on this blue Munsingwear pajama top with his initials embroidered in white over the chest pocket. Elvis gave the pajama top to his good friend, and some time hair stylist Patti Parry, the only “female member” of his Memphis Mafia inner circle of friends. Patti sometimes styled Elvis’ hair, including for his Aloha from Hawaii special. Elvis gave the pajama top to Patti at his home in California when day when she was cold and asked for something to put on to keep her warm. She felt he always kept his room too cold. There is no photo of him wearing the pajama top, but it still went for $7,797.
There was no Elvis jewelry offered at this Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction, but there is an impressive item a fan from Denmark gave to Charlie Hodge for his many years of devotion to Elvis.
There’s a lot of 14k gold in this bracelet and dozens of diamonds. What I like best is the different TCB design with a horizontal lightning bolt.
If Elvis had owned this, it surely would have gone for big bucks. It has been appraised at $14,000, but no one bid the minimum of $4,000. Wouldn’t the gold and diamonds alone make it a good investment? The owner should try again at the next Auction at Graceland.
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