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Last week we looked at the flashier Elvis items that sold at Julien’s Music Icons auction. His clothing, jewelry, and guitars always draw the most attention. But, there were many other interesting items that also deserve a review.
Eight Elvis Concert Tickets Thirty Color Photos of Elvis
It’s interesting to note what people will pay for things that Elvis has never autographed, or worn, or held, or even seen. The eight tickets covering six Elvis shows brought in $1,400, but the seller may have missed the boat as far as making big bucks. What other sellers have done is take tickets for one show, add some color photos of Elvis performing at it, and put it all in a nice matted frame with a brass plaque telling the story. It might prove difficult to find photos of the two 1956 concerts in the set: August 3 at the Olympia Theater in Miami (large stub center right) and November 25 at Jefferson County Armory in Louisville (bottom right). It would be impossible to find photos of the concert for the two upper left tickets. They are for August 20, 1977, in Syracuse, four days after Elvis died.
The thirty color photos represent ten concert performances from June 1972 to June 1977. The winning bid was $1,900, well below the expected range of $3,000 to 5,000. This is probably because of the proliferation of Elvis photographs all over the internet. Elvis must have been the most photographed person in the history of the world, and most of the pictures of him have shown up on the web. There is nothing in the group above that is rare or unique. Again, their value could have been enhanced by separating them into groups for each concert and presenting them in framed displays.
Elvis Autographed Softball Elvis Autographed Coke Cup
The signed softball brought in $2,750, and part of that certainly had to do with the black display case and brass plaque. Apparently the red ink writing has faded over the years, but the auction website tells us it says, “Have a great time. Yours, Elvis Presley.”
It looks like someone named Anna got backstage after a 1977 concert and talked Elvis into giving her an autograph. It also looks like she was unprepared for the opportunity and had nothing appropriate for him to write on, so this paper cup had to do. It says, “To Anna. Thank you, Elvis Presley.” Accompanied by a photo of Elvis at that concert, it had a top bid of $1,000. It looks like Anna didn’t think to get out her camera when she was backstage, or she could have taken a photo of Elvis actually signing the cup. Well, going brain dead while in the presence of Elvis backstage is certainly understandable.
Tongue Depressor and Medical Swab Used on Elvis 12/20/67
On December 20, 1967, Elvis made a brief visit to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis. I know he did not stay overnight, so it must have just been for a regular examination. Maxine O’Hara, the medical technician on duty, saw a good opportunity and saved the tongue depressor, medical swab, and disposable gown used during Elvis’ exam. What I can’t figure out is why the tongue depressor went for $1,150 and the swab brought only $375.
Big Ticket Items:
Contract with Col. Parker Lock of Hair from Elvis’ Army Haircut
This contract, dated March 26, 1956, between Elvis and Col. Parker brought in $20,000, clobbering the pre-auction estimate of $4,000-6,000. I wonder if the top bidder took time to read through the legalese to determine that this is not the original contract Elvis signed with Parker. That one was dated November 21, 1955, when Elvis was not yet twenty-one. Col. Parker must have felt the need to get Elvis to sign an amended contract once he had reached the legal age for such binding agreements.
Do you think some mad scientist out there bought Elvis’ hair with cloning in mind? That’s a scary thought. The top bidder paid $16,000 for this hair from the Fort Chaffee, Arkansas barber shop, well above the estimate of $4,000-6,000. There is no way I would have paid $4,000 more for the contract than for Elvis’ hair.
There is an interesting story about this lock of hair. Col. Parker ordered that all of Elvis’ hair clippings from his Army induction haircut be gathered up and sent to his fan clubs. This lock ended up at the Tulsa World newspaper, and they used it in a contest. Winner Sybil Coughman completed the sentence “I think the US Army can make the best use of Elvis by… “ with this, “… letting him give hip exercises to the soldiers to keep them trim and in good shape like he is.”
Autographs of Elvis, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black
On Friday, June 10, 1955, Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys played at the American Legion Hall in Breckenridge, Texas. Someone got all three to autograph this cut sheet (DJ Fontana did not join Elvis’ band until August 8 that year). It sold for $2,750, and was accompanied by three photos from 1954, only one of which showed all three men. What do you think it would have brought if presented in a proper display?
The Absolute Steal of the Auction:
When I first accessed the Music Icons auction on the Julien’s Auction website back in May, I typed Elvis into the search box. That brought up 118 items or sets of goodies. Serious Elvis bidders probably did the same thing and assumed that was all there was. Wrong. Although I didn’t really care about all the Michael Jackson and other stuff, I killed some time scrolling through every item being offered. That’s how I found Lot #297, which was a huge selection of theater promotional material from the movie Loving You.
There were two 27” by 46” posters, one from the original 1957 release and one from the 1959 re-release.
There were two full sets of lobby cards and three large photographs. The two stills in color were actual shots from the movie, and the black and white shot of Elvis kissing Delores Hart was a publicity still. The last picture shown here of Elvis and the gang was the catalyst for the ElvisBlog article on June 6.
This wonderful set of posters, lobby cards and photo stills from Elvis’ second movie (and first in color) went for the ridiculously low price of $350. In the past, I have seen the original poster on eBay for $1,500. You can get one on cinemasterpieces.com right now for $1,595. There were other groups of movie posters and lobby cards in the Julien’s auction from lesser Elvis movies like Speedway and Roustabout, and they brought up to $1,600.
I thought the Loving You package would be a sleeper because many potential bidders would have no idea it existed. That seems to be the case, and this was one time I wish I had never made my firm resolution years ago to not buy any more Elvis stuff.
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