I follow the Elvis collectibles offered at Julien’s Auctions, and it is getting to be an annual spectator sport. Last June, they had one called Julien’s Summer Sale, and it originated from the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. It featured about two dozen items each from Michael Jackson and Elvis, and I wrote this blog about it. Exactly a year later, Julien’s returned to Planet Hollywood for their Music Icons auction. It had several hundred Michael Jackson items and about 130 Elvis goodies. Here are the Elvis items I found interesting.
The Big Winner: When I saw that the expected bid range for this shirt was $6,000 to 8,000, I said, “No way. It will go for five or ten times that.” And it did — $51,000. Elvis wore this black rayon shirt with a pink yoke on June 5, 1956, for his appearance on the Milton Berle Show. This was the event that shook up the whole country. Elvis’ moves during his performance of “Hound Dog” brought on incensed responses from parents, the press, preachers and even some disc jockeys.
Pink & Black “Hound Dog” Shirt Elvis Wearing it on the Milton Berle Show
Where has this shirt been hiding for the past 54 years? In my opinion, if a color photo of Elvis in this pink and black “Hound Dog” shirt had existed over these years, the shirt would rank right up there with the other iconic Elvis clothing: the ’68 Special black leather outfit, the Aloha from Hawaii American eagle jumpsuit, and the gold lame suit.
Other Clothing Items: This blue velour shirt had another low estimate at $4,000 to 6,000, because it brought in $17,000. The key to any Elvis clothing item bringing maximum collectible value is for it to be accompanied by a photo of Elvis wearing the item. In this case, the shirt is seen on the cover of the 1956 four-song EP titled Christmas With Elvis.
Blue Velour Shirt on Cover of Christmas with Elvis
By comparison, this red corduroy smoking jacket with black satin lining and red-tassled belt went for just $3,300. It had a letter of authenticity from the wardrobe assistant Elvis gave it to, but it was not accompanied by a photo of Elvis wearing it. If the new owner can ever find one, he can put the jacket back on the market and make a quick ten grand.
Red Corduroy Smoking Jacket
The Jewelry: What would an Elvis auction be without some jewelry?
Gold, Onyx and Diamond Ring Elvis Wore in The Trouble With Girls
Elvis gave away this ring to his buddy Alan Fortas years ago, and it has now reappeared. I can understand Elvis’ personal rings bringing a nice price, but it is surprising that a movie ring would go for $15,000. Obviously, the picture from the movie helps.
Seven-Diamond Cocktail Ring Worn by Elvis in Concert.
These diamonds are small, totaling only 1.3 carats, so this is not nearly as impressive as other Elvis rings that have brought in much more money at auctions. The photo supposedly shows Elvis wearing the ring. Even when blown-up, it’s not very clear, but it was enough to generate a bid of $13,000.
Gold TCB Pendant Lucky Chinese Pendant
A gold TCB Pendant is one Elvis collectible that doesn’t need a collaborative photo. We all knew he wore them. The unique element is that Elvis gave so many of them away… to his Memphis Mafia buddies initially, and then to several other people who interacted favorably with him. In this case, the lucky recipient was stuntman Dan Koko. He played handball with Elvis and probably hung out with him during the filming of a movie, and Elvis gave his new friend one of the fabled TCB pendants. I wouldn’t have let it go for just $10,000, and the guy that bought it got a steal in my book.
Last year, Julien’s had another TCB pendant, and it went for $117,000. Of course, it had thirty-two full-cut round diamonds that this one doesn’t.
The other pendant is not solid gold. It is just goldplated wire, but it still brought in $7,500. Value was certainly added because Elvis called it his Lucky Chinese Pendant, and he wore it for good luck. How many different pieces of jewelry do you think Elvis had names for? A bunch, I’ll bet. Kind of the way the jumpsuits all had names.
Guitars: These two guitars look nearly the same, but they have different stories and vastly different prices.
1972 Martin D-28 Martin 0071 Guitar Elvis Gave Jack Lord
The 1972 Martin D-28 went for $47,500, but the guitar Elvis gave to Jack Lord brought in just $13,000. The auction website offered several photos of Elvis playing the Martin D-28 in concerts through the mid-70s, but I guess no photo was taken when Elvis gave the other guitar to his friend, Hawaii Five-O star, Jack Lord.
Elvis with 1972 Martin D-28 Guitar on Stage in his Famous Sundial Jumpsuit
That’s it for all the big-ticket marquee Elvis items at Julien’s Music Icons auction. Next week we will look at the odd-ball fun stuff, especially the lot I consider to be the absolute steal of the day. A computer hic-up may have caused many potential bidders to not know about it.
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