The previous four articles in this series required a lot of legwork. I would find one or two rings at different auctions or websites, and over time would have enough to fill a post. This time, I’m lucky. The recently completed Auction at Graceland had eight fabulous Elvis rings, and six beat the estimates.
Let’s take a look at them, in ascending order of winning bid prices.
Diamond and Gold Ring Elvis Presley gave to Leilani Parker, Wife of Ed Parker:
The auction website calls this a beautiful lady’s ring, but I received an email from Paul Bennion, the successful bidder. He says it was actually a pinky ring that Elvis wore. The website says Elvis gave numerous gifts to Ed Parker and his wife Leilani over the years, and Elvis probably gave this ring to her in 1974. The new owner says it is definitely one of Elvis’ personal rings because, “I purchased one of his pinky rings from Juliens Auction with only one small diamond but exactly same design.” He is now actively looking for photos of Elvis wearing it.
If he does find that proof, it will be, as he says, “the steal of the auction.” I will agree, because the ring contains 21 clustered diamonds, weighing approximately 4.0 carats. It sold for $9,000 plus 25% fee = $11,250.
Large Black Sapphire Ring Elvis gave to Sam Thompson:
Here’s another example of Elvis’ legendary generosity. Sam Thompson, the brother of Elvis’ girlfriend Linda Thompson, was Elvis’ bodyguard for several years in the 70s. Here’s the interesting story about how Elvis gave this ring to him.
“He was with Elvis on the way to a show in the car, and Elvis decided he didn’t like the feel of this ring on his finger. He asked Sam to hold onto it for him and said something to the effect of, “And don’t lose it, coz it’s pure gold!” Sam put it safely in his pocket but felt uneasy all during the show. Afterwards, Sam tried to hand the ring back to Elvis, expressing his concerns about losing it since it was made of pure gold. Elvis said something like, “And you really believed what I said about that stupid ol’ ring? Keep it, it’s yours.” Only later did Sam notice that, while not “pure” gold, the ring was stamped “90%!”
So, Sam ended up with a 22 karat gold ring weighing approximately 16.5 grams, with a large black sapphire and an ornate shank design reminiscent of a fleur-de-lis. It sold above the estimate at $16,000 plus 25% fee = $20,000.
Ring Gifted by Elvis Presley to Ken Hicks of the Stamps:
This ring was never worn by Elvis, so I had doubts that it would make the pre-auction estimate, and it didn’t. The nugget-style Stamps ring was one of six made by Lowell Hays for Elvis, who gave the them to each of the members of the Stamps vocal group, which sang backup for Elvis during the 1970s. This ring was given to Ken Hicks, who sang bass for the Stamps and later became Elvis’ personal valet in January 1972.
It is a large gaudy ring in the shape of a grand piano with the “S” of word Stamps in the form of a treble clef. The “S” is composed of approximately 29 single-cut diamonds along with 2 larger diamonds to the left and 5 diamonds to the right with a total weight of approximately 0.75 carat. So, although Elvis never wore it, the ring sold for $18,000 plus 25% fee = $22,500.
Ornate Diamond and Gold Ring Gifted by Elvis Presley to Ed Parker, His Karate Instructor and Bodyguard:
Here’s another ring with a very brief history of being on his finger. The auction website said Ed Parker and Elvis knew each other nearly 20 years, and that a gift of this magnitude was one of the many ways Elvis tried to show how much he treasured their friendship. In Ed’s book Inside Elvis, he recounts receiving the ring:
“In March of 1974, we were in Beverly Hills visiting his doctor when Elvis decided to visit a jewelry store as well. He examined a few rings, necklaces, and pins and asked my opinion about some of them. He tried a few more rings on and then asked for a special ring he had ordered for himself. It was astounding. It featured 20 diamonds set in white platinum with the remaining portion of the ring in yellow gold. Holding the ring you were struck by its bulk and weight and magnificence. He asked my opinion about his taste in jewelry. He said it was to be a present for himself. I commented that it was ruggedly masculine, a magnificent piece. He then asked me to try it on, and as I looked at him I immediately recognized that unmistakable look in his eyes. Sure enough when he discovered that the ring fit my left pinkie finger, he announced that it was my birthday present from him. As we got into his limousine, I kept examining and admiring the ring. His features then broadened into another of his familiar facial expressions—one of contentment and happiness.”
Nice story. And nice ring. It weighs 34 grams and the 20 diamonds are approximately four carats. It sold for $20,000 plus 25% fee = $25,000.
Elvis Presley-Worn Pinky Ring Gifted to Sam Thompson:
This is the second Auction at Graceland ring Elvis gave to Sam Thompson, and it went well beyond the estimate. For one thing, it is a ring Elvis bought for himself and wore it. Here’s what Sam Thompson said in his Letter of Authenticity.
“In June of 1977, just before we left for the CBS TV Special, Elvis gave me a ring after I admired it. The ring is 14K yellow gold, nugget style, about size 10 (he had it on his pinkie finger with lots of band aids around it), with one large clear stone and 3 smaller clear stones.”
Another example of how Elvis would often spontaneously give his personal items away if someone simply admired them. How could you not admire a nugget-style, 14-karat gold ring set with three small diamonds and one larger diamond? It sold for well over the estimate at $20,000 plus 25% = $25,000
Gold and Diamond Ring Flanked With Initials E and P:
The pre-auction estimate on this beautiful ring was way off at $10-15,000. The size 7 gold pinky ring contains 15 round diamonds. But the big appeal is the engraved E and P on the sides. Additional proof that the ring belonged to Elvis is a Letter of Authenticity from Richard Davis, his friend, wardrobe manager and movie stand in. Davis seems to have been the recipient of the most clothing and jewelry of any member of Elvis’ inner circle. Items Elvis gifted to him have been showing up at auctions for years.
There were no photos of Elvis wearing the ring offered along with it. In fact, none of the eight Elvis rings had supporting photos. This one sold for $22,000 plus 25% fee = $27,500.
Gold Owl-Shaped Ring Gifted to a Fan:
This ring is 14-karat yellow gold has black sapphire eyes, five tiny diamonds, and a total weight of 21 grams. The best thing about it is the story of how Elvis gave it away to Connie Murray after a concert at Lake Tahoe in May 1973.
“…On the particular night I received this ring, I was sitting stage side and Elvis’ girlfriend at the time, Linda Thompson, was sitting near me. During the show Elvis threw out a red scarf. My friend had it in her hands when another girl grabbed a hold to take claim of it. Neither one of them were going to give it to the other, so I took the scarf and ripped it in half and gave each of them a half. I believe that Elvis saw this gesture and at the end of the show he went along the stage shaking hands. He then came over and motioned for me to stand up so I did. He leaned over and gave me a kiss as he took my hand and put the ring in it. I said you dropped this in my hand. He smiled and bowed with his cape wide open and said, ‘No I gave it to you.’”
The torn scarf and a newspaper clipping about Elvis’ fabled generosity at this encounter were included with the ring. It sold for well above the estimate at $26,000 plus 25% fee = $32,500.
Gold Ring With Diamonds and Tourmaline Worn by Elvis Presley and Gifted to Linda Thompson:
Here is the big winner among the eight rings offered at the August 13, 2015 Auction at Graceland. According to the auction website, the18-karat yellow gold, diamond and tourmaline ring was worn by Elvis and then given to his girlfriend Linda Thompson. After that, the history of this ring gets weird. Linda said she donated it to the Elvis Presley Museum in Memphis. Then, the tabloid National Enquirer somehow gained possession of the ring. On the tenth anniversary of Elvis’ passing, the paper featured the ring as a prize in a contest for one lucky reader to win.
The winner of the wildly popular contest was a woman from Texas. Next, a Texas oilman purchased the ring directly from her. Then, Brown Humphries, who owned a construction company that was doing work in Texas won the ring from the oilman in a poker game. Then the current owner obtained the ring and put it in the auction.
The ring weighs approximately 21.5 grams, has 20 round diamonds weighing approximately 1.75 carats, 22 marquise-cut green tourmalines, and one large, dark-colored, radiant-cut center tourmaline. It sold for 38,000 plus 25% fee = $47,500.
To real all of the ElvisBlog articles on Elvis’ Fabulous Rings, click here.
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