I’ve been following auctions of Elvis memorabilia for so long that certain trends have become obvious. One is that prices for Elvis’ rings really dropped after the recession hit in 2008, but they are coming back pretty strong now. Another is that Elvis gave away a phenomenal amount of his wardrobe and jewelry to his Memphis Mafia buddies and other friends.
My favorite auction house, Heritage Auctions, has a good one coming up on August 10. Their Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction contains 49 Elvis items. Some of the offerings do not need a Letter of Authenticity – stuff like rare records, movie posters, signage from Las Vegas performances. But clothing and jewelry do. And these LOAs tell us who Elvis gave the articles to, and who is converting their old Elvis treasures into cash.
Sonny West must have decided to clean out the closet, because he offers seven items of Elvis clothing at the upcoming auction. There are also one item each from Alan Fortas, Richard Davis, Marty Lacker, and Joe Esposito. A nice leather jacket has a LOA from Charlie Hodge, but this must be the second (or third?) time through the auction cycle for it, because Charlie died some years ago.
A new name showed up this time on six Letters of Authenticity – Patsy Presley. The item descriptions identify her as Elvis’ double cousin, and this peaked my curiosity. She gets this interesting distinction because her father was Vernon Presley’s brother Vester, and her mother was Gladys Smith Presley’s sister Clette. Seems like those Presley boys were both courting two of the Smith sisters back in Tupelo. They married and had kids, making Elvis and Patsy double cousins.
Most Elvis fans will know that Elvis’ Uncle Vester presided as Graceland gatekeeper and good will ambassador for many years.
Some fans may also know Patsy Presley from her appearances at different Elvis festivals.
An interesting piece of trivia about Patsy Presley is that she married Gee Gee Gambill in 1967, after which he became one of the Memphis Mafia, overseeing Elvis’ wardrobe. He was also one of just five in the group invited to Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding. While guys closer to Elvis, like Jerry Shilling, Red West and Charlie Hodge, were snubbed, Gee Gee got to be there because he was “family.”
At some point, Patsy Presley and Gee Gee Gambill divorced, and she later married Clayton Geranen. Both Gambill and Geranen died in 2005. According to internet search results, Patsy Presley worked as a secretary at Graceland for many years, and was devoted to Elvis. She and Priscilla became close friends, often going shopping or to the movies together. It was reported a few years ago that Patsy remains friendly with both Priscilla and Lisa Marie, the one Elvis relative that both have chosen to keep in touch with.
Finally, one website made reference some years ago to the existence of the Patsy Presley Collection on eBay. I have been unable to find it there now, so perhaps she decided to move a group of Elvis items quickly by auction. Here’s what she is offering on August 10.
Army Jacket, Pants, and Hat:
Gold Chai Pendant:
Graceland Gate Openers:
Graceland Office Wall Clock:
Check out what the auction website says about this green racquetball:
“Elvis’ affinity for racquetball is well-documented. On the eve of the King’s passing he had played with guests at Graceland – this was one of the balls used. LOA from Patsy Presley Geranen. Estimate: $800 – up.”
Now I’ve seen it all. A racquetball gets a Letter of Authenticity, and the auction house thinks it will bring $800. If this represents a new trend, it’s pretty weird. Oh, well. That’s what makes Elvis World so interesting.
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