An Elvis autograph or two are usually offered at the major Rock & Roll memorabilia auctions, but the recent Julien’s Legends # 5 auction contained Elvis signatures on a dozen different items. The prices varied from $384 to $11,520. Let’s see if we can figure out what made some items much more valuable than others.
Autograph on Scrap of Paper: $384
This offer included no history or verification, and the tail on the Y in Presley is different than all the others. So, the buyer is taking a chance that it is real. Plus, the presentation is terrible. Couldn’t the seller have trimmed the torn edges and put it in a nice matted frame?
Autograph on Back of Photo: $625
This is an okay fan photo of Elvis, but to display his autograph, you couldn’t see it anyway. The upside-down portion of the back says “Summer of ’62 By Lou Hohn.” Note the tail at the end of Presley.
Signed Christmas Card: $704
This postcard was created by the Las Vegas Hilton in 1975. Clearly visible is the preprinted holiday message “Seasons Greetings, Elvis and the Colonel,” but you have to look close to see the signed message, “To Dennis and Mara from Elvis Presley.” The unsigned card alone would have value, so this seems to be a pretty good bargain.
Autographed Napkin: $768
There is no history given for this item. I can’t figure out why anyone would pay more for a signed napkin than for the Christmas card. Maybe the buyer is named Amanda or Pete.
Autograph on Scrap of Paper: $937
The premium for this one over the Christmas card really mystifies me. Maybe it is the lipstick kiss on the corner. Actually, what Elvis signed is a portion of an American Airlines envelope, obtained by a fan as Elvis was traveling to Los Angeles and passed through Little Rock, Arkansas. It seems like they should have been able to tell us the date it this occurred.
Autographed Postcard: $1,408
This is a German color postcard, which probably has some intrinsic value without Elvis’ autograph. With it, somebody thought it was worth $1,400.
Autographed Photograph: $1792
This is a vintage publicity photo like they used to sell at Elvis’ early concerts. Elvis’ signature is printed in the lower right corner, but he also signed it “To Myra, Elvis Presley.” The rare photo certainly adds a lot to the total value of this item.
Autographed Record Sleeve: $1920
The auction website makes no mention of the condition of this record, but in near-mint condition, “Trying To Get To You” is worth around $50. The song was recorded at Sun Studios and was supposed to be Elvis’ sixth release for the label. However, his contract was sold to RCA in November 1955, and they released it in early 1956 backed with another Sun recording “I Love You Because.” The combination of Elvis’ autograph on a historic old record made this item worth almost $2,000.
Autographed Promo Card: $2,048
I don’ know why this item brought such a high bid. Perhaps it is partly due to the large 11’ X 14” size of the promotional image of young Elvis. This is another case of the printed signature at the bottom right being much more visible than the one Elvis signed.
Autographed Book of Sheet Music: $2,432
This Elvis song book was published by Hill and Range Songs Inc. in 1955. It contains the sheet music for fifteen Elvis songs, which must include a number of Sun recordings that weren’t even released as singles at that time. So, the song book alone is a rare, valuable collectible, and Elvis’ autograph makes it even better.
Signed Contract: $4,062
This is a great example of how proper presentation can add to the price an Elvis item will bring at auction. It is a one-page William Morris Agency contract between Elvis Presley and Glen Hardin for a 1973 engagement at the Sahara-Tahoe Hotel. Hardin was the piano player in the TCB Band, and he received $1,500 per week for his services. The photo shows one of the jumpsuits that Elvis wore during the engagement, and the plaque explains the story about the contract. So, this is a winner, but, I think several of the other Elvis autographed items are a better value for the money.
Autographed Shirt: $11,520
There is no question why this autograph brought such a high bid.. Elvis wrote on the pocket of the shirt, and Elvis clothing always bring big bucks. Big bucks, that is, if the seller can provide a picture of him wearing it. In this case there are four photos, but Elvis probably wore the shirt only long enough to have the pictures taken. That’s because the shirt was the prize for a contest by British magazine Mirabelle in 1959. The photo spread is a reprinted page from the magazine announcing the contest. The writing on the pocket says, “Good luck to the reader of ‘Mirabelle Magazine’ Love Elvis Presley ’59.” This is a very unique and special Elvis collectible. They estimated it would go for $10-12,000, and it did, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if it went for even more.
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