Last week, I promised we would look at the items that failed to receive the minimum bid established by the auction — overly optimistic minimums in most cases:
Gold Nugget and Diamond Ring:
Dozens of Elvis’ rings have been covered in the four ElvisBlog special reports on Elvis’ Fabulous Rings (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4), but only ten have sold for over $15,000. The minimum bid on this ring was $12,000, which means the buyer would have to shell out $15,000 when the 25% auction premium is added in. It’s a fine ring, with 14-karat gold weighing approximately 16 grams and four diamonds measuring approximately 0.5 carats. The problem is that no photo of Elvis wearing the ring was offered. Letters of authenticity from two previous owners of the ring just didn’t cut it.
Crown Cake Topper:
It was easy to see this wasn’t going to reach the estimate of $1,200-1,500, let alone the minimum of $500. It is just a 4 inch-wide decoration to put on top of a cake. A fan handed it to Elvis at a concert and had someone take a photo with the cake topper in front of Elvis. This is one time a photo didn’t seem to help create demand. Elvis has to do more than touch something for a few seconds to make it serious memorabilia.
Teddy Bear Gifted by Elvis:
I laughed out loud when I saw what they wanted for this. As you know, lots of fans sent Teddy Bears to Elvis, even while he was stationed in Germany during his Army days. Elvis had a table full of them when an Army buddy and his expectant wife visited him. He wanted to give them a gift for their baby and asked the wife to choose a teddy bear from the table. This is the one she choose. There was not enough of an Elvis connection to make anybody cough up the minimum bid of $4,000, and the expected range of $7-9,000 was just ridiculous.
Application for Credit for a 1964 Rolls Royce Signed by Elvis:
The auction website description tried to present this as a great glimpse at the day-to-day business dealings in the lives of Elvis and Vernon Presley. But the truth is that most of the value comes from Elvis’ signature at the bottom of the left document. But Elvis autographs sell frequently at much less than the estimate of $3,500-$5,000. And they are on more interesting items, as can be seen in the earlier ElvisBlog series So What Is an Elvis Autograph Worth? (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)
Gold and Diamond TCB and TLC Necklaces:
I’m actually surprised this set didn’t sell. Sure, the minimum bid was high at $25.000, which meant the buyer would have to part with $31,250, but the tone of the auction indicated the buyers were willing to spend big bucks on the top items. Plus, a single TLC necklace with no diamonds went for $12,500 at this auction. Both pendants have twelve imbedded diamonds totaling 0.25 carats. The lightning bolts are 14k gold weighing 13 grams, and the chains are 14k gold approximately thirty inches long. I expect we’ll see these at auction again, probably with a bit lower minimum bid.
U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Fund Original Flyer, 1961:
While this 9-1/4 x 12-3/8 inch promotional flyer did not bring the minimum bid of $2,000, it did have the most fact-filled description on the auction website:
“Perhaps what endears Elvis Presley to his fans so much is the fact that it seemed like there was no end to his willingness to give. In December of 1960 an editorial ran in an L.A. paper about the stalled efforts to complete the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. This article was spotted by the Colonel and Elvis answered the call to duty. On January 11th, 1961, a press conference was held and it was announced that Elvis would perform a benefit concert on the condition that every penny from the concert must go to the fund. Elvis had just turned 26 and the fact that the average age of the 1,102 American seamen that died aboard the U.S.S. Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack was about that same age was not lost on him. It was stated during the press conference that not only was everyone expected to pay for entry to the event but that Elvis wanted to be the one to buy the first ticket. Ticket prices ranged from $3.00 to $10.00 for reserved section seats and $100.00 for the 100 reserved “ringside” seats. The goal was set at raising $50,000 towards the effort. The concert date was set for March 25th, 1961 and 4,000 screaming fans, 15 songs and $54,000 later, Elvis left the building. As a result of the concert and the huge amount of media attention it garnered, public and private donations flooded in from all over the country and on May 30th, 1962 (Memorial Day) the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial was dedicated.”
“Louisiana Hayride” Contract Signed by Elvis, Gladys and Vernon, 1955:
The auction description of this contract correctly stated that “The significance of this contract cannot be overstated… Elvis’ weekly “Hayride” shows were instrumental in the development of his early stage presence, and were where Colonel Parker first saw Elvis perform. Producer and contract signer H.L. “Hoss” Logan coined the phrase ‘Elvis has left the building’ during this time period as well.”
But bidders must have considered the value of Elvis’ signature on the last of four pages of legalese to be less that the minimum bid of $15,000.
One other element of this second Auction at Graceland that was kind of interesting:
Graceland.com had a link so we fans could watch a live stream of the event. In addition the screen had a column on the right for viewers to chat.
At first, it was all one big happy family:
Samantha – Hello fellow fans, hope everyone one has had a lovely Elvis day
Jill – I wish I had the money for this stuff
Kitten – If I had anything from Elvis, I would sleep with it every night and then I would be buried with it when I die.
Gayleen — “He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.” A quote from Hamlet that certainly applies to Elvis.
Then, as often happens in chat rooms, there was occasional sniping back and forth:
Sue – He died from a heart attack because he was so out of shape. He had an enlarged heart and liver.. He was an accident waiting to happen
Kathy – Debbie Downer, don’t ruin this for us fans
Soul Reactivator – Why is Elvis birthday being celebrated after he died from Drugs ?
Daniel – Soul reactivator, don’t be so ignorant
Jamie – Go away Troll Trash
About half-way through, the live stream started having problems. Those who were still getting it okay were nice to the rest of us and gave us a running play-by-play of the results (the chat room kept going just fine):
Ellen – 8,500 for the scarf and ticket stub. omg!
Then the auction live stream seemed to go into permanent buffering mode for everybody.
Nanlyn – Does anyone know how I can stop it from buffering so much. get tired of refreshing
Sherrie – Mine is still frozen. won’t even let me log out
Wayne – Yep, I’m crashed here too…at least I’ve got an excuse. I’m in Australia!!
At that point, I gave up and went to bed.
Next week we will look at the auction’s big surprises and a few other items that caught my fancy.
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