If you have been a reader of ElvisBlog for some time, you know I like to follow the Elvis auctions and the general memorabilia auctions that include some Elvis goodies. I follow the offerings online and pass judgment on whether or not the actual winning bids will exceed the estimates. There is a lot of variance both up or down compared to the experts’ appraisals, so this is a challenging game. I tend to guess high a lot.
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The most recent auction I checked into was Heritage Music & Entertainment Memorabilia. Part of their tag line is, “Treasures of music icons can now be yours…” Yeah, sure, if you have lots of money. Just for fun I decided to dream about wanting one item, wanting it bad enough to lose my mind and actually put in the winning bid. Of course, that’s not part of the financial plan at this household, so it’s only a fantasy.
The object of my attention was a black leather hat. That’s right. If Elvis’ 1968 black leather suit is the ultimate rock and roll outfit, a Elvis’ black leather hat ought to be pretty cool, too, right? One thing for sure is that it wasn’t meant to be worn with the ’68 suit. This hat is a fedora.
I wear a lot of baseball caps, but I would gladly put them away and wear this Elvis’ black leather hat. I’d wear it all the time, no matter how worn out it ultimately became. In fact, maybe that would make it better — more casual. This is a unique item that would last for a long time, and provide endless happiness knowing you are wearing a fun Elvis hat. What other piece of Elvis’ wardrobe could you get that much use from?
Well, the hat went for $2151, well over the minimum bid, just as I had expected. It certainly confirmed that my bidding fantasy was just that. To whoever bought it (you lucky dog), please wear it. Don’t put Elvis’ hat in a glass display case. Have some fun with that baby.
One of the reasons for the high bid was the inclusion of a Letter of Authenticity. It came from Richard Davis, who is one of the lesser known Memphis Mafia members. However, he had a great job as Elvis’ wardrobe manager. He spent the 60s and early 70s deeply immersed in Elvis’ clothes, so he later seemed to evolve into the go-to authority when owners of Elvis items knew they could sell them for much more money if they supplied verification. A photo showing Elvis wearing the item is best, but a Letter of Authenticity by Richard Davis is a close second. Here is his LOA for the leather hat with a date that indicates it has been sold for once before.
His other jobs with Elvis included body guard and stand-in for Elvis in 23 movies. He was a regular on the field when Elvis organized a bunch of guys for football games.
Young Richard Davis Richard Davis in 1971 Elvis and Group Including Richard Davis
Here is part of his Letter of Authenticity on an Elvis item currently open for bidding on the Julien’s Music Icons and Steven Tyler Auction:
“This black double breasted vest, with white trim and a MGM Studio tag was a vest Elvis wore in his film for MGM called Spinout. Elvis kept the vest after the movie wrapped and wore it for his own personal use. He gave me this vest sometime in the late 1960s when he was cleaning out his closet.”
Black vest from movie Spinout Shot from Spinout with Elvis Wearing Vest
The bidding on the vest is currently at $2050, with seven days until the auction closes.
There is some Richard Davis/Elvis trivia I like. Because he was almost exactly the same build as Elvis, Davis sometimes went on shopping trips to clothing stores. Each time he would try on many, many articles and purchase a large selection of clothing that fit Elvis perfectly. In the privacy of Graceland, Elvis would pick what he liked, and Richard Davis took the rest back to the stores. That sounds like a pretty good gig, to me.
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