A Belated Look at Elvis' Most Expensive Jumpsuit

Back in early August, the Elvis websites with news sections all carried the story about his famous Peacock Jumpsuit selling for $300,000.  I printed out a few articles with good intentions of finding a different twist on the story to do on ElvisBlog.  However, those plans got waylaid.  The first thing to distract me was Elvis Week.  Then there was the discovery of some good stuff on the web that encouraged prompt creation of columns on the comic book series “Elvis Shrugged” and on the unique 1955 concert starring Elvis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

Then my wife had open heart surgery, which meant I didn’t even think about writing any ElvisBlog articles for three weeks.  As she slowly recovered, I gradually got back in the old groove by doing easier, less challenging subjects.  By then, I had forgotten about the Peacock Jumpsuit story.  However, a recent effort to clean up the stuff on my desk uncovered the old articles I had saved.  It was time to do something on Elvis’ famous Peacock Jumpsuit.

This is the picture supplied by auctioneer Gotta Have It Collectibles that sold the jumpsuit to an unnamed “Big Elvis Collector.”  It may be the only jumpsuit design that goes from the back around to the hip and all the way down the left leg.

 

Here is a front shot.  Although the huge belt covers part of the design, we can tell it is a duplicate of the back design with the tail feathers continuing down the right leg.

 

Here is a close-up of the peacock.  Look at all those jewels and studs.  No wonder it cost Elvis $10,000 to have it made by Bill Belew, the man who created his stage costumes from 1969 to 1977.  The auction house press release says, “It captured the rock ‘n’ roll legend’s fascination with peacocks as a good luck symbol.”  I’ve looked for some confirmation of this fascination, but all I’ve found is the beautiful stained-glass peacocks in front of the piano room at Graceland.

 

Elvis first wore the Peacock jumpsuit on May 11, 1974, at the Forum in Las Angeles.  Here is a list of the other 1974 concerts where it is certain he wore the suit, but there probably more shows that need confirmation:

June 15 – Tarrant City Center, Fort Worth, TX
June 21 – Convention Center, Cleveland, OH
June 22 – Civic Center, Providence, RI
June 23 – The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
June 26 – Fair & Expo C-Hall, Louisville, KY
June 30 – Omaha Civic Auditorium, Omaha, NE
August 19 – Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
September 27 – College Park Field House, Baltimore, MD
October 2 – Civic Center, St. Paul, MN
October 8 – Convention Center, San Antonio, TX

 

Here are two photographs of Elvis performing at those concerts.  The belt design seems to be different than on the second photo above.

     

 

The Peacock Jumpsuit has been featured on the cover of albums, both an official RCA release and bootlegs.  Here is the 1975 release Promised Land.  Note that the back cover features the American Eagle Jumpsuit.

     

 

Here is the Live in Louisville bootleg CD and the book Elvis 1935-1977.

     
          
 

The $300,000 paid for the Peacock Jumpsuit is reported to be the highest price for an Elvis collectible, narrowly beating his 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark ll that went for $295,000.  The last two jumpsuit sales we know of went for considerably less.  The Nail Mirror Jumpsuit sold for $125,000 at the Elvis Empire Auction in Beverly Hills in 2006, when Regency Superior auctioned off the entire private collection of Jim Curtain and brought in over $2 million.   In 1999, the famous Aloha Cape was sold at Graceland by auctioneer Guernsey’s for $105,250.


Not only is the original Peacock Jumpsuit the most expensive ever sold, the reproduction of it brings a top price, too.  The online catalog for B&K Enterprises lists it at $5,500, beating out four others tied at $4,300: Sundial, Gypsy, Inca, and Alpine.  Here is the picture of the Peacock Jumpsuit from the BK catalog.

I don’t know where the cape came from, because none of the photos of the original suit show a cape.  Maybe B&K Enterprises just thought that would be a cool addition to the ensemble.  However, if you want to stay true to the original, you can skip the cape and buy the suit for just $3,750.  Wouldn’t you like one of those for Christmas?

©  2008   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved   www.ElvisBlog.net

12 responses to “A Belated Look at Elvis' Most Expensive Jumpsuit

  1. Pingback: Elvis T-Shirt Review — Summer 2018 | ElvisBlog

  2. The Peacock Jumpsuit has changed hands since early 1975 when fan collecctor Paul Lichter first owned it . Paul obtained it from a local memphis church that was first to auction it in march of 1975 because they needed money for repairs etc.. for the church .
    Paul Lichter reportedly paid 2, 500.00 for the Peacock Suit and was tipped off about the item well in advance by Vernon Presley who sent the jumpsuit along with 2 slacks Elvis wore in mid 1950’s for auction .

    Paul Lichter was also the first to own the Red Burning Love Suit , The Aqua Phoenix and the white Fireworks suit all of which he bought through charity auctions in the 1970’s .

    • Hi Erick: Wow. Thanks for all this information about Elvis’ Peacock Jumpsuit.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  3. Hi Phil
    Do you know how or why The Peacock Suit ever left Elvis’ or Graceland’s possession?
    It was after all Elvis’ favourite stage outfit, reportedly.
    So how did it end up with the first collector before he auctioned it in 2008 for $300,000. Did Elvis himself give out the suit?

    • Hi Tommy: Sorry about the delay responding. My hard drive went down and it’s been a real mess. You pose interesting questions, bu I’m afraid I do not know the answer. Hopefully, another reader will have some information.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

    • It’s my understanding that the Peacock suit was given away by Elvis to be auctioned for charity. That’s how several of his jumpsuits first got into circulation, including the Silver Phoenix and the red Burning Love suits. Why he would have given away what was allegedly his favorite stage suit is a good question though…

      • Hi Garry: Thanks for the information. You raise an interesting question about why Elvis chose to give awat certain jumpsuits like that.

        Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  4. Hi how many jumpsuits did elvis own altogether.,not including the 2 peice suits.
    Thanks jeanette.

    • Hi Jeanette:

      I checked in my copy of “Elvis Jumpsuits All Access,” but it did not mention the total. Perhaps another reader may know the answer and post it here. Or you could contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is JPO@olympus.net.

      Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. Hope you enjoy it.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  5. I would love to be contacted if the American Eagle jumpsuit could be made, custom tailored for me & @ what price ?

  6. Pingback: Winners and Losers at the Latest Elvis Auction | ElvisBlog

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