I’ve written seventeen articles covering the Graceland Auctions since they began during Elvis Week 2014. I like to pick out items that catch my interest or have an unusual back story and report on them.
However, this post on the January 8, 2019 auction will cover the first thirteen lots. These are all brand new fan events they’ve created for folks to bid on. And these are some really desirable packages. Here’s the list:
Annual Pass for Unlimited Visits to Graceland
Private Graceland Evening Tour and Dinner With Up To 24 Guests
Graceland Romantic Weekend Getaway
Be a Graceland Archivist for a Day
1-Hour Outdoor Photo Shoot at Graceland Mansion
Photo Shoot of Your Classic Car or Motorcycle in Front of Graceland Mansion
Private Tour of the Graceland Stables
2-Hour Private Tour of Graceland Archives
Tour of Graceland with Elvis’ Cousin
Private Movie Screening In The Guest House Theater
Hidden Graceland Private Tour
Co-Host a “Gates of Graceland” Episode
Graceland’s Chapel in the Woods Wedding or Vow Renewal
That is a very impressive list. Some fun stuff. Let’s look at a few in detail.
Graceland Romantic Weekend Getaway:
Here is the text from the Graceland Auction website as written by Jeff Marren and Laura Pickett.
Bring your favorite Elvis fan on a very special romantic getaway to Graceland and the Guest House at Graceland.
The winning bidder and one guest will spend two nights in one of our unique, luxurious two-bedroom king suites that feature a living room, dining room, kitchen and bar area.
Champagne, chocolates and flowers will be waiting in your room upon arrival.
While at Graceland, be treated to two Ultimate Graceland VIP Tours, plus dinner for two at Delta’s Kitchen and a private movie screening of your favorite Elvis movie at The Guest House Theater.
This terrific package went for $2,750, which seems like a pretty good deal. I can’t help thinking it would be better if the winning bidder could bring three guests, because it’s a two-bedroom suite. It looks like Party Central, so it would be great fun for two couples to share together.
It might also feel weird to be just two people in the theater watching an Elvis movie.
If I had bid and won this package, I think I’d I open the theater doors and let in anybody that wanted. Of course, I don’t have $2,750, so that’s just a dream.
Private Tour of the Graceland Stables:
Again, from the auction website:
Throughout the years, Elvis could often be seen riding his horses around the Graceland property and would ride down to the front gate to sign autographs for fans.
The winning bidder and a guest will receive the opportunity to tour the Graceland Stables and meet the current Graceland horses. The 90-minute tour will also include an up-close look at saddles used by Elvis and his entourage, personal western wear including chaps, hats and boots all worn by Elvis, and even Elvis’ handwriting on the wall where he wanted the tack and harnesses of each horse.
This would certainly be a good way to add a unique treat to your Graceland visit. It went for $1,500, significantly above the estimate.
Photo Shoot of Your Classic Car or Motorcycle in Front of Graceland Mansion:
Elvis had a passion for everything with wheels, including cars and motorcycles, and now those who share his passion will get a unique opportunity to drive their car or motorcycle through the famous musical gates at Graceland just like Elvis did.
The winning bidder will receive a 15-minute photo shoot of their car or motorcycle in front of Graceland Mansion by our Graceland photographer. Winning bidder will receive digital file of all photos following photo session for private use.
This cool deal had 23 bids, the most of any item in the group. It went for $2,825, approximately three times the estimate.
I have an idea for this one, too, if I was the winning bidder. I’d rent a ’59 Caddie convertible to use in the photo. That way I’d have a picture taken were you can actually see the faces of me and my friends in the car.
Private Graceland Evening Tour and Dinner With Up To 24 Guests:
Invite up to 24 guests for the ultimate Graceland experience as they enjoy an after-hours tour of Graceland Mansion led by a member of the Graceland Archives team.
Followed by a private dinner and a screening of your favorite Elvis movie at Presley Motors Automobile Museum, surrounded by some of Elvis’ most iconic cars, including his Pink Cadillac, 1975 Dino Ferrari and 1973 Stutz Blackhawk. Dinner will be catered by Vernon’s Smokehouse.
I like this one – a package for 25 people. It went for $2,500, so for $100 per person, you get the special tour of the mansion, followed by a party at the automobile museum where you see the cars, watch a movie, and eat some good food. A fine value for somebody with a lot of money and a lot of Elvis fan buddies.
Annual Pass for Unlimited Visits to Graceland:
Experience Elvis Presley’s Graceland all year long with an exclusive Graceland Annual Pass for two.
The Graceland Annual Pass will offer unlimited Elvis Experience Tours + Planes for 12 months for the winning bidder and one guest. The Experience Tour + Planes includes a tour of Graceland Mansion, access to all Elvis Presley’s Memphis attractions and exhibits plus tours of Elvis’ two personal airplanes.
I’m surprised that nobody put in the minimum bid of $1,000 on this. Maybe it’s a logistics thing — getting back to Memphis multiple times in one year could be hard to pull off. Maybe seeing the mansion and airplanes over and over makes it get boring.
Now, I want to report on something that has been underplayed in the media reports about this Graceland Auction. It is the amount of money these newly created packages are bringing to The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation.
100% of the auction hammer price on them will be donated to the Foundation. The hammer price is the winning bid when the hammer comes down on the high bid. It is before the 25% buyer’s fee is added.
The total funding generated by these thirteen fan experiences came to $25,700. Not bad, but EPE does so much more. The company underwrites all the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation’s administrative expenses, so all the Foundation’s funds are used for donations to charitable causes.
If you are not familiar with the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, it was formed by Graceland/Elvis Presley Enterprises in 1984 to continue Elvis’ own tradition of generosity and community service and to honor his memory.
The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation receives a portion of the overall business income of Graceland/EPE, with additional funding from the company’s royalties on specially licensed products and from special benefit events the company stages.
A meaningful amount of the funding also comes from donations made by Elvis fans from around the world. Some Elvis fan clubs hold drives to raise money for the foundation.
It has created the Elvis Presley Endowed Scholarship Fund at the College of Communication & Fine Arts at the University of Memphis to assist students majoring in areas that relate to Elvis’ own career: music, film, television, theater, etc.
Also, the Foundation has a long-standing relationship with one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families.
Elvis fans have grumbled about some of the things EPE has done, but let’s give credit where it’s due. Their support of the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation is commendable.
Let’s finish up with one more of the fan experiences won at the auction.
2-Hour Private Tour of Graceland Archives:
The Graceland Archives collection consists of over 50,000 photographs, 3,000 textiles, thousands of documents and a large collection of furniture, musical instruments, awards, automobiles, and other artifacts associated with the personal life and career of Elvis Presley and has been visited by a very few select guests, including Oprah and Paul McCartney.
The winning bidder of this experience and one guest will go beyond the ropes into the coveted Graceland Archives at an undisclosed location for an exclusive two-hour private tour with Graceland’s Vice President of Archives & Exhibits, Angie Marchese.
The private tour will feature exclusive white glove experiences, including holding artifacts, looking in archival boxes of special collections, seeing many never-before-displayed items, and a photo opportunity with an artifact taken by the Graceland photographer.
This sounds interesting, but I never thought anyone would bid the $5,000 minimum (which means a total payout of $6,125). I was almost right. One person thought it was worth it. For that kind of money, the tour ought to go on all day, with a break for lunch at Vernon’s Steakhouse, and a private movie screening afterward.
Photographs and text by permission, copyright 2019, GracelandAuctions.com
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