The 3rd Auction at Graceland – How ElvisBlog did Handicapping the Pricey Items Estimates

Five days before the recent Auction at Graceland, ElvisBlog looked at the pre-auction estimates for the fourteen most pricey items. Predictions were made on whether they would miss the estimated range, make it, or exceed it.  Scroll down to the items and see how smart the calls were.

Items on Display in Car Museum

This is just a few of the 174 items in the third Auction at Graceland on August 13. EPE wisely put them on advance display at the Elvis Car Museum, giving the fans another incentive to visit Elvis Week. While most people will be just lookers, there is a small core of dedicated Elvis memorabilia collectors with deep pockets that must be drooling over the chance to buy some of the top-drawer items.

The auction websites always list an estimated price range for each item. I typically study these and make my guess whether items will miss, make it, or surpass these estimates. It’s fun to do, but frustrating because I am so often wrong. In other areas, too.

Viva Elvis Logo

I predicted that the Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas would be named TCB.

 

Elvis - 68 Comeback Elvis

I predicted the second Elvis Stamp would feature a ’68 Comeback Special image.

 

Elvis MarchMovieMadness

And I picked King Creole as the winner of the fan voting for Elvis’ best movie. (That’s the Way It Is won)

 

So, I will boldly push ahead with my auction predictions and will probably be embarrassed again. Here are the ten most expensive items at the Auction at Graceland (not counting rings, which will be covered separately at a later date).

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Elvis Presley’s Personal Walther Model PPK/S 9mm Kurz Handgun:

Elvis Presley's Personal Walther Model PPK-S 9mm Kurz Handgun

This model handgun makes a pretty special collectible for a number of technical reasons. But its value is greatly enhanced by what Elvis had done to personalize it. Take a close look at the nickel barrel, trigger guard and the medallion in the center of the grip. You can see the intricately engraved “Elvis” on the barrel. It may be difficult to see, but the grip medallion sports Elvis’ emblem “TCB” and the lightning bolt. There is a ton of other information about this pistol on the auction website.

Estimate: $100,000 – $125,000

ElvisBlog Prediction – It will make the estimate.

What happened:  Didn’t make the estimate.  Sold for $50,000.

 

Jacket from the Viva Las Vegas Dance Scene with Ann-Margret:

Elvid' Jacket from the Viva Las Vegas Dance Scene with Ann-Margret

I have often commented on how people could sell their Elvis collectible for more money if it were offered in a proper presentation. Well, this item takes presentation to a new level. The auction website says:

“The jacket is presented in an elaborate framed display which features three stills from the dance scene, a reproduced portion of a Viva Las Vegas movie poster, and a small plaque that reads, “ELVIS PRESLEY Personally Owned & Worn Sports Coat Featured in the Movie ‘Viva Las Vegas.'” The large title “Viva Las Vegas” carved in the matting anchors the presentation, and the multi-colored circles along the border provide a stylized “Vegas Lights” framing.”

Coat Label - Elvis' World's Fair Suit

As you can see, the owner removed the coat’s Sy Devore label and displayed it on the front for more impact.

Seldom does an item description on an auction website go into prose like this:

“It’s a scene that captured Elvis at the peak of his powers, with all of his talents on display for the big screen audience, where he’s finally paired with a star who everyone on set considered to be his almost-perfect match in intensity and larger-than-life persona: Ann-Margret. They move across the stage with wild abandon as Elvis sings “C’mon Everybody.” The two work themselves up, over and around to the point where they finish in a heap on the stage floor.”

Elvis wearing the Jacket from the Viva Las Vegas Dance Scene with Ann-Margret

Estimate: $30,000 – $50,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will make the estimate.

What happened?  Bidding went up to $28,000, then auctioneer stopped and said they would pass on the item.  Strange, because the minimum bid was only $15,000 and they got within $2,000 if the estimate.

 

Signed Hollow Body Electric Guitar:

Hollow Body Electric Guitar Signed by Elvis and Col. Parker

Elvis guitars always bring big bucks at auctions, but I’m skeptical on this one. It is a six-string Conrad hollow body double-cutaway electric guitar, model 40185. Elvis never owned it. A fan brought it backstage on New Year’s Eve 1976 in Pittsburgh, and Elvis obliged him by signing it.

Signatures by Elvis and Col. Parker onHollow Body Electric Guitar

The signature below Elvis’ is Col. Tom Parker. The auction website says. “The addition of Colonel Parker’s signature to this example has left us with a truly superior artifact.” For my money, it would be worth more without it.

Estimate: $25,000 – $35,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: Won’t make the estimate.

What happened:  Withdrawn a few days before the auction.  No reason given.

 

“TCB” Smith & Wesson .38 Caliber Pistol – Gifted to a TWA Pilot:

TCB Smith & Wesson .38 Caliber Pistol - Gifted to a TWA Pilot

This 1969 Smith & Wesson Model 36 .38 caliber pistol has an interesting backstory about Elvis giving it to a TWA captain. Here what the auction website says:

“In late December 1970 he was working a flight from Baltimore to Kansas City when he was informed that a VIP passenger was on board with a firearm. Elvis was brought to the cockpit to meet the captain at which time he explained that he had just been in Washington, D.C. to meet with President Nixon. He related that as a result of that meeting he was now cleared to carry a concealed weapon on the flight. Elvis had just acquired his Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (forerunner to the DEA) badge during his now famous meeting with the President, and this is most likely what he showed the captain. The captain acquiesced to Elvis’ request, and even went so far as to smooth it over with the captain of Elvis’ connecting flight in Kansas City. As a gesture of thanks, Elvis presented the captain with the weapon here offered. One interesting point to consider is that since Elvis was returning from his meeting with President Nixon when he met the TWA captain, it is certainly possible that he was wearing this very weapon when he entered the White House that fateful day.”

Close Up of TCB on Elvis' Smith & Wesson .38 Caliber Pistol

Elvis had the .38 caliber nickel-plated gun’s custom black pearl grip emblazoned with his personal “TCB” logo and lightning bolt.

Estimate: $25,000 – $30,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will exceed the estimate by a lot.

What happened:  Did not make the estimate.  Sold for $17,000.

 

“TCB” Diamond and Gold Necklace Gifted To Sammy Davis Jr.:

TCB Diamond and Gold Necklace Elvis Gifted To Sammy Davis Jr

This is the first of two TCB necklaces offered at this auction. Elvis must have given away a bunch of them over the years, and they have been prominent features at many auctions. This one is a little different in that the 14-karat yellow gold of the T-C-B pendant is black enameled. (Why would you cover up gold?). The lightning bolt has fifteen diamond with a total weight of 0.60 carats, and the necklace chain measures approximately 36 inches.

Elvis and Sammy Davis Jr.

Elvis gave this pendant to Sammy Davis Jr. in 1973. The website goes on at some length about their friendship. Copies of five photogaphs of Davis and Elvis together are included in the lot, but none of them show him wearing the pendant.

Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will beat the estimate.

What happened:  Beat the estimate.  Sold for $32,000.

 

Million Dollar Quartet Signed Guitar with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis Signatures:

Million Dollar Quartet Signed Guitar with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis Signatures

Why would you want a guitar signed by Elvis and Col. Parker, when for less money you could get one signed by all four members of the Million Dollar Quartet? Especially when this guitar comes in such an outstanding presentation.

Elvis Signature on Million Dollar Quartet Guitar

Here’s the short story on this guitar. A woman got Elvis to sign it in the mid-70s, and her son got the other three autographs roughly two decades later. Click here for the full story.

Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will beat the estimate by a lot.

What happened:  Withdrawn before the auction.  Looks to me like some big collector of Elvis guitars made a couple of private deals.

 

1956 Double-Signed Transfer Agreement Moving 15 Songs to Gladys Music:

1956 Elvis Presley Double-Signed Transfer Agreement Moving 15 Songs to Gladys Music

This legal agreement has Elvis’ signature twice, which is rare. The auction website certainly thinks it will bring twice as much as another document with just one autograph. The agreement spelled out the transfer of songs from Elvis Presley Music to Gladys Music. Click here to try and understand what that was all about.

1956 Elvis Presley Double-Signed Transfer Agreement Moving 15 Songs to Gladys Music - P.2

You will note that there are seven songs we have never heard Elvis sing. Are there lost recordings of them somewhere?

Estimate: $20,000-30,000.

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will not make the estimate.

What happened:  Did not make the estimate.  Sold for $10,000.

 

Suit Worn by Elvis Presley in It Happened at the World’s Fair:

Suit Worn by Elvis Presley in It Happened at the World's Fair

Most of the clothing Elvis owned was flashy, colorful, and eye-catching. This dark charcoal-colored suit is not. The difference is that this suit was movie, not personal, wardrobe.

Coat Label - Elvis' World's Fair Suit

It does have the Sy Devore label that says Elvis Presley on it, and there are certainly plenty of photos of Elvis wearing it, both of which add value.

Elvis Wearing Suit from World's Fair

Still, if I had this kind of money to buy Elvis clothing, I’d spend it on the flashy stuff that he actually owned and wore in real life.

Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will make the estimate.

What happened:  Made the estimate.  Sold for $20,000.

 

Purple Velour Shirt from the 1966 RCA Pocket Calendar:

Elvis' Purple Velour Shirt from the 1966 RCA Pocket Calendar

According to the auction website, this purple velour shirt with Sy Devore labels was worn by Elvis in photo shoots in the mid 1960’s. Perhaps other photos of him wearing it don’t exist anymore, because all that accompanies it in the display is a picture on the 1966 RCA pocket calendar.

Pocket Calendar Picture of Elvis

You know I am big on properly displaying Elvis collectibles, and this is a good one. I like the way the waistband on the bottom front of the shirt is lifted up to show the label with Elvis’ name on it. However, it does seem strange to have two color photos in the display of him not wearing the shirt.

Estimate: $10,000 – 15,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will beat the estimate.

What happened:  Made the estimate.  Sold for $10,000.

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“TCB” Gold Necklace Gifted to Richard Davis by Elvis Presley:

TCB Gold Necklace Gifted to Richard Davis by Elvis Presley

Elvis first thought up the design for his TCB/lightning bolt pendant in 1970, and that October he bought 22 of them from jeweler Sol Schwartz of Beverly Hills. They were entirely 14k yellow gold, no diamonds.

LOA from Richard Davis on TCB Pendant

Elvis gave this particular one to Richard Davis, who has his friend, valet, bodyguard, wardrobe manager, and movie stand-in/stunt man. Several photos of Elvis and Richard together are provided, too, but they do not show him wearing the pendant.

Estimate: $12,000 – $18,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will beat the estimate.

What happened:  Beat the estimate.  Sold for $28,000.

 

1969 Handwritten Signed Letter to Gary Pepper Discussing the Inaugural Show at the International Hotel:1969 Elvis Presley Handwritten Signed Letter to Gary Pepper Discussing the Inaugural Show at the International Hotel

This handwritten letter from Elvis Presley to Gary Pepper on International Hotel stationery discusses the inaugural show at the hotel. Gary was the president of an early fan club called the “Elvis Presley Tankers,” and the content of the letter shows the high esteem in which Elvis held Gary.

Elvis' Signature on Letter to Gary Pepper

Also included is the original International Hotel mailing envelope postmarked Aug 4, 1969, hand written by Elvis.

Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will make the estimate.

What happened:  Didn’t make the estimate.  Sold for $5,000.

 

Luggage, Personal Effects and Signed Purchase Documents:

Elvis' Luggage, Personal Effects and Signed Purchase Documents

Prior to 1970’s “Second Season” of shows at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Elvis spent two weeks in Los Angeles rehearsing with his band at the RCA studios on Sunset Boulevard. During this stay, he purchased several pieces of luggage at the Beverly Hills Luggage & Gift Shoppe.

This lot includes a brown overnight bag with one large side pocket and two smaller pockets. Also offered is a brown zipper toiletry case, made in Germany, that contains a cuticle tool, mirror (still in original paper wrapping), nail file, plastic comb, metal lidded toothbrush bolder, cologne bottle, brush and two silver metal lidded containers; a pair of gold toed black dress socks (non-matching); and a white scarf.

Receipt for Elvis' Luggage, Personal Effects and Signed Purchase Documents

Look in the middle of this receipt and you will see Elvis’ signature.

Check Paying for Luggage, Personal Effects and Signed Purchase Documents

The check for this $596.93 purchase was not signed by Elvis, however, but by one of his accountants.

Estimate: $9,000 – $12,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will make the estimate.

What happened:  Didn’t make the estimate.  Sold for $7,500.

 

Signed RCA Nipper Statue:

Elvis Signed and Inscribed RCA Nipper Statue - Front

Elvis autographed some strange items, and this 20 inch-high resin statue of RCA’s mascot Nipper is a prime example.

Elvis Signed and Inscribed RCA Nipper Statue

Elvis inscribed it to Howard Strickland, who was the head of MGM’s public relations department during Elvis’ time with the studio (1957 – 1970). I can’t think of another autograph where Elvis signed it Gratefully, Elvis Presley.

Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will make the estimate.

What happened:  Made the estimate.  Sold for $10,000.

 

Elvis Presley Doll in Rare Original Box:

1957 Elvis Presley Enterprises Elvis Presley Doll in Rare Original Box

Would you think this was supposed to be Elvis if you weren’t told? I’ve seen little three-inch figurines that look more like Elvis than this eighteen-inch doll. However, that didn’t matter in the auction description: incredibly rare, in unbelievably excellent condition, still in its original box, and the pinnacle of any collection.

Box for 1957 Elvis Presley Doll in Rare Original Box

The included newspaper ad is just as glowing: “Only doll of its kind approved by Elvis Presley. The thrill of your lifetime! Now you can have ‘Elvis Presley’ for YOURSELF!”

The doll was marketed in 1957, and apparently very few remain, especially  in condition this good. Click here to read more about the doll.

Estimate: $7,000 – $10,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will surpass the estimate.

What happened:  Didn’t make the estimate.  Sold for $5,000.  Apparently, the bidders didn’t like this ugly doll any more than I did.

 

So, there it is. ElvisBlog predictions: five right, six wrong.  Handicapping this stuff is hard.

 

 

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

 

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

 

10 responses to “The 3rd Auction at Graceland – How ElvisBlog did Handicapping the Pricey Items Estimates

  1. I am trying to find out the value of the framed 24kt gold plated record called The Number One Hits, it is 0182/1500, can anyone help me out? thank you

    • Hi Dina: I get a lot of requests like this, so I have created a standard reply. Please contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is JPO@olympus.net.

      Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. Hope you enjoy it.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  2. That was really interesting to find out what some of the more interesting items sold or didn’t sell for. My favourite is still the jacket from Viva Las Vegas wonder if it will come up for auction again some time in the future. I was sorry to see the letter from Elvis to Gary Pepper didn’t reach the estimate that really was a special item I hope it wasn’t Gary who was trying to sell it in the hope of raising a bit of cash in hard times. Anyway thanks Phil I will be looking at your blog in the future as there is a lot of very interesting Elvis information on here. All the best Eve

    • Hi Eve: Thanks for the nice words about ElvisBlog. The number of visitors keeps growing, so I guess it appeals to a lot of folks.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  3. The guitars were pulled because the signatures and thus the stories as well are fake. The letter to Gary Pepper is real.

    • Dan: Thanks for this information. Would you mind saying what is your source? Thanks,

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

      • I’m an experienced autograph collector and one of my main areas of interest is Elvis. Those guitars are pretty bad forgeries.

        • Dan: thanks for your comments. It sounds like Graceland Authenticated may not be all that accurate.

          Phi Arnold
          Original ElvisBlogmeister

  4. Hi Phill what great predictions. I think you got them all right. Can’t wait for your summary on the rings. I purchased the cheapest one for $9k plus buyers premium. I thimk it was a steel. Maybe the description that it was a ladies ring scared everyone off. It was definately Elvis’s ring. I purchased one of his pinky rings from Juliens auction with only one small diamond but exactly same design. Can’t wait to see what you have to say about it. I’m now looking for a photo of him wearing it in 73/74 if anyone can help!!

    • Hi Paul. I didn’t do as well on the predictions as you indicated. I did good on items that wouldn’t made the estimate, but bad on ones I thought would beat the estimates. I used part of your comments in the new article I published yesterday.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

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