Monthly Archives: July 2015

Some Interesting Results at the Latest Elvis Auction

Gotta Have Rock and Roll Website

Except for the two Auctions at Graceland, there haven’t been any sizeable selections of Elvis goodies at auction this past year. Finally, some good stuff showed up at the Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction that closed late last week. There were no rings or other jewelry, but three items of clothing fetched significant bids.

 

1970’s Custom Made Bell Bottom Pants and Corduroy Jacket:

Elvis' 1970’s Custom Made Bell Bottom Pants and Corduroy Jacket

This is a nice combo – black bell bottom pants with red kick pleats (not visible in this picture) and a black corduroy jacket. Both were custom made by IC Costume Co, and the jacket bears their label.

Bell Bottom Pants and Corduroy Jacket

In addition to the photo of Elvis wearing the outfit, both items came with letters of provenance. The projected bid price was $6-8,000, and it went for a little more at $8,860. Please note that all buyers had to pay an additional 20% service charge to all sell levels mentioned in this article.

 

Lansky’s Custom Made Black Wool Jacket:

Elvis' Lansky Custom Made Black Wool Jacket

The next two items came from Elvis’ favorite clothier in Memphis, Lansky Bros, and the coat above sported both the Lansky label and the “Styled for Elvis Presley” custom-made label.

Elvis' Lansky Bros Custom Made Black Wool Jacket - Label

But what makes this black fleck woolen jacket especially desirable is the accompanying photo of Elvis wearing it.

Lansky's Custom Made Black Wool Jacket - Elvis Wearing

The estimated selling price was $5-7,000, and this turned out to be accurate. The most spirited bidding on any Elvis clothing item brought in $7088 (plus that extra 20% for the auction house)

 

1950’s Lansky Custom Made Stage Suit:

Elvis' 1950's Custom Made Stage Suit

Unlike the first two items, Elvis wore this outfit when he performed on stage (according the auction website description). If so, I’m surprised none of the previous owners has been able to find a photo of Elvis wearing it. Still, there is the Styled for Elvis Presley custom Lansky label on both the royal dark blue jacket with black velvet lapel trim and the blue-grey pants. The winning bid came in at $8860, just over the high estimate.

 .

Porcelain Monkey From Graceland:

Elvis' Porcelain Monkey From Graceland

This is the first of several items that have interesting stories. When I saw the pre-auction estimate of $2-3,000, I said, “No way.” For that kind of money, I’ve seen dozens of other Elvis collectibles I’d rather own.

Elvis' Porcelain Monkey From Graceland in TV Room

However, this photo showing the monkey in the TV room at Graceland and a letter of provenance from Charlie Hodge persuaded somebody to part with $1,612 to own it.

 

15 Priscilla Presley Original 2 x 2 Color Transparency Slides:

Priscilla Presley Original Transparency Slides

I guess there weren’t any Priscilla Presley fans following this auction, because nobody even bid the $25 minimum. I’ve never seen any of these pictures before (and I’ve downloaded many dozens of Priscilla photos over the years).

Priscilla Presley and Bull

This seems like a missed bargain – picking up fourteen rare pics of Priscilla for $25

 

Three Photographs of Elvis:

3 B&W Elvis Photos

Now, here’s some photos that really appealed to the bidders. The pre-auction estimate was $50-100, but I knew that was way low. I have never seen the two pictures on the left, and I’ve seen literally thousands of Elvis photos. Sure enough, these three 8 x 10 black and white original photographs had more bids than any other item in the auction (18) and brought in $541.

 

10th Anniversary Half-Ounce Fine Silver Coins:

Elvis Presley 10th Anniversary half ounce fine silver coins

These ten coins brought in $80, which is not that much of a premium over the price for their weight in pure silver. Maybe if the owner had bothered to polish them up before offering them….

 .

1957 Civic Center Concert Poster Reproduction:

1957 Elvis Concert Poster Reproduction

It is a mystery to me why the pre-auction estimate on this was $2-300. The auction website clearly says REPRODUCTION. Nobody thought this fake was worth the $100 minimum bid. No surprise.

 

Elvis Presley Special Edition Graceland Gift Set:

Elvis Presley's Graceland Special Edition

Elvis Presley special edition Graceland gift set Box

The auction website has one short sentence describing this item: “Recreate your own personal Graceland with this Elvis Presley special edition Graceland gift set.” Plus the two pictures above – and this:

Elvis Presley special edition Graceland gift set Inside

What is all that stuff? I couldn’t figure out what they were offering, and apparently the bidders couldn’t either. Nobody would cover the $200 minimum bid.

Box Elvis Presley's Graceland

So, I looked it up on eBay and the photos and description there made it very clear. This box contains a miniature Graceland at Christmas set — lighted ceramic Graceland building, 1955 Pink Cadillac Fleetwood, wrought iron gate, the original Christmas lawn decorations, and six mylar twinkling trees. Look at the first photo again to see it all put together.

Inside Box - Elvis Presley's Graceland

With this picture you can see some of the listed items. This set was introduced as a limited edition in 2000 and retired on January 8, 2001. A few are currently available on eBay for $2-300. I’m sure it would have sold at this auction if the owner had bothered to describe what he was selling.

 

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

ElvisBlog Lip Logo

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

The New Elvis Stamp — Let the Merchandising Begin

Elvis Presley Forever CD

At first glance, you might think that’s a picture of the new Elvis stamp above. Nope. It’s the front cover of a CD the US Postal Service is selling online.  New stamps don’t have a price on them anymore, so the word FOREVER appears instead. Because they used the stamp picture on the cover, the Postal Service has cleverly named this CD “Elvis Presley Forever.”

Song List for Elvis Presley Forever CD

This track listing may appeal to new fans, but everybody who owns other Elvis CDs probably has the songs already, except for the last two. These previously unreleased versions may spark some interest, and the $10 price is not prohibitive.

Forever Elvis Collection Inside

The Postal Service used a similar name on another collectible they call the “Forever Elvis Collection.” For $24.95 you get:

-One mint 1993 Elvis Presley stamp pulled from the U.S. Postal Service vault.

-A sheet of 16 new 2015 Elvis Presley stamps.

-A bold 8 x 8-inch cachet [whatever that is] with an affixed 2015 Elvis Presley stamp and exclusive postmark printed in metallic gold and black inks. (I guess this is in the center behind the sheet of stamps))

-The collectibles are housed in a handsome [USPS lingo] six-panel folio with a die-cut slipcase. The folio panels contain photographs of Elvis shot by Alfred Wertheimer during 1956, as well as a narrative on the 1993 stamp, the 2015 stamp, and the life and music of The King himself.

The Forever Elvis Collection - $24.95

This is the front cover of the “Forever Elvis Collection.” In my opinion, a less washed out photo would make it more handsome.

 

One other note. The Forever Elvis Collection can be purchased at USPSstamps.com, same as all the stamp options covered last week. The CD is not listed there, just at store.usps.com.

 

1993 Elvis Stamp Commemorative Album

The idea of a commemorative folio containing Elvis stamp memorabilia was also used in 1993. The folio above was designed to look like a gatefold 33rpm album. Same exact size.

1993 Elvis Stamp Commemorative Album Contents

When you opened it up, you could see part of a wonderful color booklet through the die-cut hole.

1993 Elvis Stamp Commemorative Album Contents

Here’s the cover of the 16 –page booklet.

Inside 1993 E;vis Stamp Booklet

And this is an example of the content. It is very well done. In addition to the booklet, this collection contains:

10 Elvis stamp sheets in original sealed sleeves

Elvis stamp limited edition print

“First Day” ceremony program

I have seen the whole set listed several places on eBay. Used ones go for $25 and still sealed ones are asking $100-125.

 

Elvis Stamp T-Shirt

Back in 1993, to tied in with the 1993 Elvis stamp release, a new ShopElvis.com catalog showed up containing 28 items featuring the image of the stamp. I bought the above T-shirt, which I still have (in pretty good shape, because I seldom wear white T-shirts). Here are the other items I purchased.

.

Elvis Stamp Beach Towell

Beach Towel

.

Elvis Stamp Baseball Cap

Baseball Cap

.

Elvis stamp Refrigerator Magnet

Refrigerator Magnet

.

Elvis Stamp Key Chain

Key Chain

.

Elvis Stamp Watch.

I didn’t buy the Elvis stamp watch. My wife gave it to me the following Christmas.

.

Here are a couple of other items with the stamp picture on it that I did not buy. Not my kind of Elvis collectible.

Elvis Stamp Bear

Gold Lamé Bear

.

Elvis Stamp Collectible Plate

Elvis Stamp Plate

1993  Elvis Stamp Mug

And what would a Graceland merchandising theme be without a coffee mug?  They have put out so many different ones over the years.  If I had pictures of them all, I could do a whole blog post on them.

.

I’m sure EPE has worked out some kind of deal with the Postal Service to market all kinds of stuff with the new Elvis stamp on it. There will be another Graceland catalog out before Elvis Week, so we will see pretty soon.

Unfortunately, I’m not as enthused about purchasing anything with the new stamp picture on it. It’s a black-and-white photo, dull compared to the 1993 drawing in brilliant color. But I’ll bet lots of folks will still buy them.

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

ElvisBlog Lip Logo

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

The New Elvis Stamp – Part 2

Sheet of 16 Elvis Stamps- $7.84

If demand for the new Elvis stamp is anywhere close to the Postal Service’s expectations, they are going to sell a lot of them.

And, if you are thinking you would like to have some for your collection of Elvis goodies, they offer many options for you on their website USPSstamps.com. Like the sheet of 16 above.  It sells for $7.84.  The stamps don’t have a price on them anymore, just the word Forever.  We’ve gone from a 1993 Elvis stamp that cost 29¢ to one that costs 49¢ in 2015. (16 x 49¢ = $7.84)

 

Back of the New Elvis Stamp Sheet

To make the sheet of 16 Elvis stamps even more attractive, the postal Service puts this Al Wertheimer photograph on the flip side of the slick backing paper.  A very nice touch.

Elvis In Concert July 4, 1956

Here’s the original uncropped photo taken on July 4, 1956 while Elvis performed at Russwood stadium in Memphis.  As long as they were messing around with the picture anyway, I wish they had put the color back into Elvis’ right pants leg.  Looks a little weird on the flip-side picture.

 

Elvis Stamp First Day Cover - 93 cents

Of course, you can’t buy a single stamp, but you can buy one on an envelope that has a First Day of Issue postmark.  These are called First Day Covers and the price is just 94¢.  Seems like a pretty good deal, but it sure isn’t as flashy as the 1993 stamp First Day Covers.

1993 Elvis Stamp First Day Cover 2

1993 Elvis Stamp First Day Cover 1

These are beautiful in full color and the postmark is the gates of Graceland.  I believe there were five different choices available.

 

However, if you want something a little flashier in 2015, there is only a slight variation available for $1.64.

Digital Color Postmark Fibearing an affixed Elvis Presley stamp cancelled with an official First Day of Issue pictorial postmark - $1.64

For the extra 50¢ you get the big gold crown on the First Day of Issue DCP (Digital Color Postmark – Postal Service lingo).

 

First Day Cancelled Full Sheet of Elvis Stamps

Here’s an upgrade from the first stamp sheet at the beginning of this article.  You will note there are three bulls-eye postmarks (that’s what they call them).  Each is centered over a block of four stamps.  The remaining four are postmarked with portions of Elvis’ signature.  Also visible are the words MUSIC ICONS and a small black crown.  I like this one and think it’s worth the $10.34 they are asking.

 

There’s some text at the bottom of these stamp sheets, but it is too small to read here.  It says,

Elvis Presley (1935-1977) was one of the first true stars of rock and roll.  The singer, guitarist, musician, and actor combined country, gospel, and rhythm and blues to create a unique sound that lives on today.  Through his music, the King of Rock and Roll helped break down social barriers in the 1950s and in the process helped change American pop culture forever.

Well written I think, but come on – “One of the first true stars of rock and roll.”  It should say, The first true star.

 

There is one other thing worth noting on both these stamp sheets.  The square shape is the same size as an old 45 rpm record sleeve.  See that black sliver of a circle at the top?  That is to simulate the top of a record sticking out of the sleeve a bit.  The design people at the Postal Service got pretty creative on this.

 

DCP Keepsake - Sheet of 16 Elvis Stamp & Digital Color Postmark First Day Cover - 9.95

Here’s a little combo package they call the DCP Keepsake (remember what DCP stands for?)  It combines the $7.84 sheet of 16 stamps and the $1.64 First Day Cover.  They are asking $9.95, but it’s actually cheaper to buy each item separately.

 

21.25 x 21.25-inch press sheet without die-cuts, containing nine panes of 16  stamps positioned three across by three - $70

If you want to get a lot of Elvis stamps, this one might appeal to you.  Disregard the single stamp image superimposed over the so-called “press” sheet.  There are nine of the 16-stamp sheets together measuring 21.25” x 21.25”.  The cost is $70.56.

 

 

According to the Washington Post, the Postal Service sold over 500,000,000 of the 1993 Elvis stamps, and reported later that 124,000,000 of them were never used for postage.  Fans held on to them as collectibles.

1993 Elvis Stamp

 

It’s my guess that not many of the 2015 Elvis stamps will ever be stuck on an envelope.

2015 Elvis Forever Stamp

.

ElvisBlog has covered the Elvis Stamps for years.  To read more, click on:

The New Elvis Stamp – Posted July 3, 2015

The Elvis Stamp Has Not Left the Building – Posted March 1, 2014

Gladys and Elvis — A Mothers’ Day Commemorative Stamp?Posted October 1, 2011

Voting for the Elvis Stamp – Posted January 15, 2008

The Elvis Stamp Revisited – (From the January  2003 issue of Elvis International Magazine)

 

©  2015    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

ElvisBlog Lip Logo

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

The New Elvis Stamp

Elvis Forever Stamp

Graceland.com announced yesterday that the US Postal Service has revealed the new Elvis stamp that will be issued in August. Unlike the 1993 Elvis stamp, the image is a photograph, not a drawing, and it is in black and white not color.

Stamp Picture

The shot they chose for the new stamp was taken by professional Memphis photographer William Speer, and there is an interesting story about the photo session. I pieced it together from two old website posts. Much of it is quotations made by Speer or his wife Vacil, but there were no acknowledgements of where these originated. There is also some confusion whether the photos were shot on November, 1954 or March 1955.

During that period, local DJ and concert promoter Bob Neal acted as Elvis’ manager.

Elvis and Bob Neal

Neal decided Elvis needed some publicity stills to help launch his budding career, so he sent him over to William Speer’s studio. Elvis wore a maroon shirt and a white sport coat, but he did not bring any other change of clothes.

The first two shots were taken with Elvis wearing the coat, one a close-up of his face, and the other incorporating part of his chest.

William Speer - Elvis Photo for Stamp

This appears to be the photo chosen for the new stamp. However, you will notice there is a shadow from Elvis’ hair on his forehead. This is because Speer used what he called “Rembrandt lighting” with an overhead spotlight casting shadows downward.

Now go back and look at the stamp again. The shadows have been Photoshopped out. They should have left them in.

Speer felt the bright white color of the coat gave Elvis’ face a washed-out look. What do you think? I can’t see it, and it certainly didn’t deter the stamp selection committee.

Next, Speer tried three shots with the white coat off, just Elvis in his maroon shirt.

William Speer - Three Photos of Elvis in Maroon Shirt
At this point, Speer figured he had taken all the photos he could and the session was finished. However, his wife was mesmerized by Elvis and disagreed. She boldly urged Elvis to try “something different” – a few shots with his shirt off. She has been quoted, “We went this far, might as well take the shirt off too. He didn’t look real happy about it, but he obliged.”

Three William Speer Photos Of Bare-chested Elvis

When Elvis saw the shirtless proofs a few days later, he laughed and said, “These have got to go.”

Two William Speers Photos of Bare-Chested Elvis

 

In a 1987 column in the New York Daily News, columnist Liz Smith called one of the brooding shirtless poses “the most beautiful photo ever taken of Elvis.” I’m guessing she referred to the last one above.

Here are a few quotes by William Speer and his wife Vacil about the memorable photo session with Elvis.

William: “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, but what a place and what a time! I’d never heard of him to tell you the truth, but as soon as I sat him in front of the camera I knew he had it.”

Vacil: “It felt like an electrical charge in the room, an animal magnetism. You can tell the famous ones or the ones who are going to be famous. They stand out in a room without you even knowing who they are.”

William: “When he first stepped in front of the camera, I told him, ‘You sure would make a wonderful actor.’ [Elvis] looked like Burt Lancaster. He could have played his brother in the movies. He came off that dead film like dynamite. Either you’ve got it or you haven’t.”

Vacil: “There he stood in the doorway, long, lean, with big blue eyes and soft full lips. “I opened the doors and it was magic. I checked him head-to-toe and said ‘Wow.’”

William: “Even though he was shy, it was obvious Presley liked being photographed.”

Vacil: “Somebody said, ‘Why didn’t you take his pants off while you were at it?’ I could have been worth a fortune by now.”

.

Congratulations to the folks who chose William Speer’s photo for the new Elvis stamp. ElvisBlog will present Part 2 of the stamp story next week.

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

.

ElvisBlog Lip Logo

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.