Who ever thought we would have three superstar Elvis collectors in the news over such a short time span? First, it was Chris Davidson and Jimmy Velvet when the Elvis-A-Rama Museum was sold to EPE back in October. Then, two weeks ago, we had the “Elvis Empire Auction” that sold the entire collection of Jim Curtin of Philadelphia for approximately $2 million. Like Davidson and Velvet, Jim Curtin has an interesting story.
Here’s a little history on him, according to an article by Jenny Paschall in the London Daily Express earlier this month. Curtin bought his first Elvis record (“Return To Sender”) at age 12, and this set off a buying spree that eventually included every Elvis record ever released in the US, plus as many different foreign versions as he could find. When he first saw Elvis perform on stage in 1971, his reaction was, “He was like a god… The chemistry was so powerful, it overwhelmed me.” Apparently so much that Jim Curtin evolved from being a fan to a follower, and finally, to a friend of Elvis.
Curtin saw Elvis perform 51 times and shook hands with him 32 times. His love of Elvis turned into a career. As an expert on Elvis, he has written several books and countless articles about the King. He acquired 25,000 pictures of Elvis for his collection and used them to publish calendars. In 1974, Curtin designed and commissioned a $2000 Gibson guitar with “Elvis Presley” inscribed on the fretboard. During a 2-1/2 hour visit with Elvis, he presented the guitar to Elvis as a gift.
We all know a generous person like Elvis would not let a gesture like that go unanswered. Elvis reciprocated by giving Curtin the stunning white “Nail Mirror Jumpsuit” (sold at the auction for $125,000). According to the London Daily Express article, when Curtin tried on the suit, “It was something spiritual… I wanted to look like him, sing like him, be like him.” Indeed, he did start giving Elvis concerts as tributes to a great man, he says, not as an impersonator. Well, if you do your hair and sideburns like Elvis, wear his clothes, and sing his songs, it sounds like impersonating to me.
Some news reports said Curtin was selling his Elvis collection in an attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend, Renata Ginter. Supposedly, she gave him an ultimatum – Elvis or me. However, she responded to this news by sending a letter to www.Elvisnews.com, in which she stated their relationship ended three years ago, and it was for personal reasons that had nothing to do with his Elvis collection. Even more important, she stated she is now engaged to another man.
So Jim Curtin may never get the love of his life back. He says he can’t sleep, the loneliness is killing him, and he has lost 30 pounds. You have to feel sorry for him, but let’s hope he will find some happiness with that $2 million he just got.
© 2006 Philip R Arnold www.elvisblog.net