It’s been nine months since the last ElvisBlog post in this series, but there have been three auctions this year with a number of Elvis signed items, so let’s see what the latest items are.
Julien’s Auction – May 2016:
Elvis autographs show up at Julien’s infrequently, but there were five in this auction and the three signed on things other than photographs all had interesting aspects.
Color Photo Inscribed to Harry Levitch:
Elvis signed an untold number of publicity photographs for his fans, but occasionally he also did it for associates in music, film, and business. Harry Levitch was a Memphis jeweler who made, sold and repaired jewelry for Elvis, including Priscilla’s wedding ring. The inscription says, “To Mr. and Mrs. Levitch, my sincere for all the thoughtful jewelry over the years. Your friend, Elvis Presley.” The high bid on this 7” x 9” item was $1,600, including the 25% buyer’s premium.
1955 Bank Deposit Slip:
The interesting thing about this signature is that it is actually the carbon copy of a two-part deposit slip for the National Bank of Commerce in Memphis. A look at the fine print at the bottom shows “Duplicate Deposit Ticket / New Account,” so this $240 probably was the first money to go into it. I wonder how much the total deposits over the years came to. The winning bidder was happy to spend $1,920 for the carbon-copy Elvis signature.
Signed International Hotel Postcard:
In addition to Elvis’ signature, do we we get a sample of other Elvis writing in the address to Mary Miller? The auction website makes no memtion of it. Strangely, the inscription is “To Dennis.” The postcard went for $1,600.
Inscribed Children’s Book:
As you can see, this is signed E.P. which might ordinarily deter autograph collectors. However, the message above it must be one of the longest inscriptions Elvis ever wrote, “To Robin, a sweet little girl. Thanks for your lovely cards. They are wonderful. My sincere thanks and all the best. Your friend, E.P.” Bidders obviously saw value in this item, and it went for $1,600.
Signed Black and White Image:
I expected this to bring less than the previous items because the auction website said it appeared to be a page taken from a book, not a quality publicity photo. Bidders didn’t seem to care, and it went for $1,600.
Auction at Graceland — October, 2016:
As I have stated before, the Auctions at Graceland seem to be the ones with the best return for sellers. They also have access to a number of contractual documents, applications, and other items that add significantly to the value of the signature. I prefer to feature mostly items that Elvis signed for the fans, but here’s a list of some of the big ticket signed documents:
1956 Application for the Screen Actors Guild — $6,250
1964 Rolls Royce Phantom V credit application — $4,000
1970 Federal Firearm Transaction Record — $6,250
Envelope signed at the Big D Jamboree, 1955:
Back when I started following the auctions of Elvis collectibles, his autograph on whatever a fan had available (scraps of paper, blank check deposit slips, etc.) would bring in $6-800. That was during the early days of the recession. Now, seven or eight years later, the economy is healthier and it cost more to buy Elvis autographs. This 3-3/8 by 5-3/4 inch signed envelope in crappy shape brought in $1,375.
Signed and Inscribed Elvis’ Golden Records Vol. 1:
A young fan got Elvis to sign this album cover while he was an Army recruit at Ft. Chaffee in 1958. As I have said before, it behooves the seller of Elvis autographs to present them in proper framed display in order to fetch top dollar. At 18 by 27 inches, this signed album will look great on any collector’s wall. It went for $2,500.
Signed “Mr. Rhythm” Magazine in Framed Display:
OK, my theory isn’t foolproof, as proved by this item. Here we have a signed photograph from the back cover of a “Mr. Rhythm” souvenir picture program from 1956. It is beautifully displayed in a 33” by 39” black frame, along with the program cover, three photographs, and a descriptive plaque. In spite of all this, it had only four bids and went for $1,500. A real bargain for somebody.
Signed Early Promotional Photo from 1955:
And this item diminishes another of my theories. I have often wondered why people pay so much for an Elvis photo autographed on the BACK. How do you display it? Like this?
While this item has no appeal to me, it did to somebody, as it went for $2,500.
Signed Thunderbird Hotel Cocktail Napkin, 1963:
Here’s a question for you. You know about Elvis performing at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, and later at the International/Hilton Hotel, and getting married at the Aladdin Hotel, but what is his connection to the Thunderbird Hotel. Give up? He stayed there while filming Viva Las Vegas. In a story like countless others, a fan had a chance encounter with Elvis and grabbed the first thing she could to get his autograph, which was this cocktail napkin. It is in less than ideal shape, but still went for $2,500.
Signed Flamingo Hotel Envelope:
Here’s another one. What was Elvis’ connection to the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas? You are all probably familiar with the 1969 picture of Elvis in a hard-hat signing papers at the construction site of the International Hotel. It was actually a ceremonial contract for his upcoming concert engagement when the hotel was completed. Elvis stayed in town for four days at the Flamingo and signed this hotel envelope. It sold for $2,125. So much for proper presentation in a framed display. At the Auction at Graceland, bidders just didn’t seem to care.
Elvis Presley Signed Promotional Poster:
Well, if a 3” by 6” signed envelope is worth $2,125, then certainly an autographed 21” by 28” color poster is worth $2,750.
This prize was originally obtained in 1973 by a girl with the good fortune to have a flight attendant sister who knew Elvis personally. When Elvis performed in their hometown at the Pittsburgh Civic Center Arena in July 1974, the girls spent a lot of time with Elvis and his buddies. Along with a treasure of wonderful memories, she also got this signed poster.
Heritage Auctions – November 2016
There were just a handful of Elvis collectibles in the latest Heritage Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction, but what can you expect when the Auction at Graceland featured 145 the month before?
Signed June Kelly Print from Roustabout:
This painting was used during the promotion of Elvis’ film Roustabout.
Penciled on the back side in the artist’s hand is “Artist proof #1 / for Elvis / June Kelly. I guess that helped push the bidding up to $1,687
Elvis Presley Signature with Photo:
This is a nice example of proper displaying. The scrap of paper with Elvis’ autograph measures just 2.75″ x 4″, but the framed display is 12” by 19”. It went for $1,500
Elvis Presley Signed Black and White Photograph:
At first glance, it might appear Elvis signed this black and white photograph twice. However, the white “Best Wishes/ Elvis Presley” at the bottom right is a facsimile printing.
The real signing was “To Jo/ I Love You Very Much/ Elvis Presley” at the top right in red ink. She was Jo Heims, the female screenwriter on his 1967 MGM film, Double Trouble. The top bid on this was $1,625.
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