This series on Elvis autographs has been great for driving search engine traffic to ElvisBlog. There sure are a lot of folks out there who ended up with grandma’s prized Elvis autograph, and are curious what it is worth. I not qualified to give an estimate to them. Instead I direct them to my friend Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian at www.jerryosborne.com. His service is very reasonably priced, but if someone wants to get a rough idea of their autograph’s value, they can scan the 54 autographs featured in this series so far. And now, thanks to the recent Auction at Graceland, here are 12 more.
1955 Elvis Signed Promo Photo:
If you read the first ElvisBlog article on the new Elvis Stamp a few weeks ago, you will recognize this as one of the ten photographs taken by William Speer in 1955. This shot wasn’t the one chosen to be on the stamp, but it obviously was used for promotional purposes.
Elvis autographed the back of the photo in pencil for Carl Denton, an aspiring singer on the bill with Elvis at a September 14, 1955 show.
It went for $2,000 ($1,600 plus 25% auction fee), which I think is pretty high for something in this poor condition. Plus, it can’t be displayed in a proper frame. Either you show the picture or the signature. If I collected Elvis autographs, the only signed photos I would buy would be signed on the front.
Signed and Inscribed Note to Sara “Little Bit” Cossman:
This signed page from an autograph book is in much better shape. Elvis wrote the message and autograph in 1962 or 1963 while visiting an RCA office. Sara “Little Bit” Cossman sat at the reception desk when he arrived. He picked up her autograph book without being asked and signed it. Of course, “Little Bit” was an affectionate name Elvis used over the years for various girlfriends.
This item sold for $2,500 (including the 25% FEE).
Snapshot – Signed While Elvis was Stationed in Germany:
This photo was taken in 1959 outside of Elvis’ house during his time in the Army. The auction website says the woman appeared in many other photographs with Elvis at this time.
Fourteen bids were made on this signed photo and it went for $2,750. This is a good example of the extra value the autograph on the front brings. But I wonder how many bidders read the fine print that this photo is tiny (2-3/4” by 2”)
Signed and Inscribed International Hotel Room Service Menu:
The picture above shows the back of the International Hotel room service menu from 1969 or 1970. The front cover is missing, so I wonder if Elvis had signed both, and then they were separated later to multiply the value.
The message says, “To Susie and Bill, Thank you for the beautiful bible, Elvis Presley,” but no explanation of the occasion is mentioned on the auction website. Final price: $3,000.
Signed Thunderbird Hotel Cocktail Napkin:
Elvis autographed cocktail napkins show up in the auctions fairly often. The story is always the same: Somebody has a chance encounter with Elvis and wants to get his autograph, so they grab the first thing they can find. Elvis signed this napkin in the lounge of the Thunderbird Hotel in July 1963 while he was in Las Vegas filming Viva Las Vegas.
The top bid was $3,125, which seems high to me. Why would a signed napkin bring more than a signed photo? It may have to do with the charged atmosphere at the Auction at Graceland. If I had an Elvis autograph to sell, this is where I would offer it.
Signed Photograph From Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men of America Award Luncheon:
This is a great picture taken at a very important event in Elvis’ life, and it is well worth the $3,625 it went for.
The close-up shows Elvis’ message starts “To Andy.” Note what the word “To” looks like.
This is the back of the photo. According to the auction website, Elvis flipped it over and started to sign it. But Andy had the forethought to stop Elvis cold and have him sign the front. Good thinking, Andy. I wonder why more people didn’t figure that out.
Early 1956 Signed “Mr. Rhythm” Souvenir Program:
In February 1956, Elvis hadn’t yet been branded “The King of Rock and Roll.” In fact, this tour program calls him “Country Music’s Mr. Rhythm.” If the photo of Elvis looks familiar, that’s because it was the one used for the new Elvis stamp 59 years later.
Elvis signed the back of the program which features the same William Speer photograph that started this article. The program brings some intrinsic value to the final high bid of $4,250.
Souvenir Concert Scarf and Handwritten Thank You Note:
We all know how Elvis used to toss scarves to lucky fans at his concerts. Did you know that Col. Parker, always on the lookout for ways to make a buck, had them available at the lobby souvenir stands? They had a facsimile signature printed on them, like the one above.
So, the real value of this lot is the hand-written note Elvis wrote when he gave the scarf to Leilani Parker, wife of Elvis’ bodyguard and karate instructor Ed Parker. Note that Elvis signed it “E.P. and Linda,” which of course is Linda Thompson. The scarf and note combo had 22 bids and sold for $4,750.
1971 Signed Martial Arts Card with Fingerprints:
I am surprised only three bids were made on this Forth Dan Black Belt card, but it still topped out at $5,000. Certainly, Elvis’ fingerprints in red ink on the back make this a unique collectible.
The auction website relates an interesting Karate story by Elvis’ friend and security guard Lee Ricketts.
“On the evening of February 18, 1973, at Elvis’ midnight show, four men from Los Angeles rushed onto the stage to attack Elvis. They jumped onto the stage one at a time to attract the bodyguards and the last one was to take on Elvis ‘to show him up as a phony at Karate’ and as he approached Elvis, he (Elvis) with one Karate kick sent the man off the stage and into the audience. After the four men were subdued and turned over to the uniformed security guards the show was canceled and a very excited Elvis was escorted back to the suite.”
During the time that Lee Ricketts helped with security for Elvis’ shows, he received his 1st degree black belt in Kenpo Karate from Master Kang Rhee, who did not have a certificate with him at that time to present to Ricketts. So Elvis gave him his Fourth Don Black Belt Karate Certificate.
Houston Astrodome Livestock Show and Rodeo Collection Including Elvis Presley Signed Check:
It seems reasonable that even a blank check from Elvis’ account would have considerable collectible value, so it’s no surprise nineteen bids went after this signed check. Bidding topped at $5,500. Elvis stayed at the Astroworld Hotel while performing at the 38th Annual “America’s Wildest Rodeo” in February 1970.
It was offered in this terrific framed display, which also included an Astroworld Hotel full-color brochure and an original two-page press release, and a photo from the event. Also included is Colonel Tom Parker’s personalized name badge from the show, which probably added zero value to the lot.
Signed 1970 Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men of America Award Booklet:
These autographed items are listed in order of ascending price. For the most part, the reason for the higher prices will be the item that Elvis signed. That is certainly the case here.
Being chosen as one of the Jaycees Ten Most Outstanding Young Men for 1970 was one of Elvis’ proudest moments. The awards ceremony took place on January 16, 1971, in Memphis. Future President George H. W. Bush was the featured speaker.
This is the program for the event. Elvis’ picture and bio got two pages. The other nine recipients got one page each. The lot also included two ticket stubs. Although there were only three bids, the new owner spent $7,500 to get this collectible. It is interesting to note that another signed copy of this program sold at auction for $4,687 in December 2013. And another one sold in September 2012 for $2,375. This confirms my impression that the Auction at Graceland is the place to get maximum return if you sell your Elvis collectibles.
Signed 1955 Tax Return and Signed August 1956 All Star Shows Tour Settlement Statement:
This collection of early signed documents includes Elvis Presley’s 1040 tax return from 1955 for which Elvis’ total income was $25,214.15. The first page is signed in blue ink by Elvis Presley and dated “Aug 10/56.” Elvis has listed his address as 1034 Audubon Drive, his occupation as “Musical Entertainer” and his total exemptions as 4.
Elvis’ quick rise to stardom is evidenced by the payment statement from the August 1956 tour, which is also included in this lot. The typed statement from the All Star Shows lists a sum total of $20,750 paid to Elvis for performances from August 3-12, 1956.
I’m not sure why these documents were offered as a “twofer,” but together they brought in a top bid of $8,125. My question is how Elvis’ signed tax return ever got out of the IRS files.
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