Auction Results and Backgrounds on Six Elvis Rings

Two weeks ago, we previewed six rings Elvis owned that were up for bidding at the August 27 Rockhurst Auction.  The results are in, and here’s how the bidding went, along with background information on the rings.

 

20-Diamond 14K Gold Ring:

 

 

Min Bid: $15,000
Estimate: $30,000 – $40,000

Final Price – Pass

 

 

The bidding reached the minimum bid of $15,000 on this ring, but the seller decided it didn’t reach a high enough price to suit him.  So he passed.  Here”s what the auction website had to say about this ring.

 

The offered 20-diamond 14K gold ring was owned by Elvis Presley and gifted to his Aunt Delta Biggs, who lived with Elvis at Graceland for many years. Photo research indicates that this ring was most-likely worn on stage on a number of occasions.

The accompanying Elvis Presley Museum Certificate of Authenticity is signed by Jimmy Velvet and reads in part:

Elvis gave this ring to his Aunt Delta while she lived at Graceland. It is 14K gold and has 20 beautiful diamonds with a rhodium finish over the top to add to the brilliance and sparkle of the ring. This is one of three of these rings known to me, two of which I have owned. 

The size 9 3/4 ring weighs 26.35 grams and boasts 20 diamonds, with 12 making up the center presentation and four flanking it on the top of each flank. The ring presents with moderate to heavy wear, but the “14K” stamping can still be made out on the interior. Excellent to Mint condition.

 

Gold Ring with Large Black Star Sapphire Stone and 32 Diamonds:

 

 

Min Bid: $5,000
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000

Final Price – $9,200

 

 

Offered is gold ring with a large black star sapphire center stone circled by 32 small diamonds that was owned by Elvis Presley and gifted to his dear friend Charlie Hodge. Charlie lived with Elvis at Graceland for many years, and he had a number of jobs as a member of the Memphis Mafia, including, but not limited to, stage director, backup singer for harmonies, and he was the one who handed Elvis all those scarves to give out to fans from the stage. Elvis and Charlie connected while in the Army together, and Hodge stayed on with Elvis until he passed. Elvis gave Charlie any number of pieces of jewelry, clothing, cars, you name it. The accompanying signed letter on “Charlie Hodge” pictorial stationary reads in part:

The yellow 14K oval shaped black star sapphire surrounded by diamonds was owned and worn by Elvis. Black star sapphires was [sic] one of Elvis’ favorite stones, and he purchased many of them through the years. I usually was wearing one on my hands that Elvis had gifted me. On one particular evening we were sitting in his suite at the Las Vegas Hilton and Elvis was showing everyone some of the new rings he had purchased from the jewelry store Barda of Milan in the Hilton lobby store. I wasn’t wearing mine that Elvis had given me and Elvis said ‘we’ve got to fix that, Charlie, you have to have a least (one) black sapphire ring on.’ He slipped this beautiful ring off his finger and gave it to me.

The size 10 3/4 ring weighs 24.4 grams and has a large black star sapphire stone that measures 15 x 20 mm. There are 32 small diamonds surrounding the center stone. The ring presents with moderate to heavy wear, and any interior stampings have worn away. Excellent condition overall.

 

 

Sterling Silver Ring with Large E on the Face:

 

 

Min Bid: $4,000
Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000

Final Price – $4,600

 

The offered Sterling silver ring with a large, capital letter “E” on the face was owned by Elvis Presley and was given to his cousin Patsy Presley. Elvis was partial to pieces of jewelry with his initials and even his whole name on them. He owned many such rings, cuff links and necklaces. The ring is accompanied by a letter from noted collector Tom Salva detailing his acquisition of the ring among other items he purchased from Patsy. The letter states,

The item listed and shown above has been in my personal Elvis Presley collection since 1988. I purchased this item, and many others, from Patsy Presley, Elvis Presley’s cousin who worked as secretary in the offices at Graceland for many years during Elvis’ career. The item was originally from a jewelry box from Elvis’ bedroom dresser. I purchased the jewelry box and all its contents from Patsy in 1988. While it didn’t contain any of Elvis’ ornate jewelry with diamonds and gold, etc., it did contain many rings, watches, money clips, cuff links, bracelets, pins and other items of this sort that were often gifted to Elvis by family, friends and even fans.

Also accompanying is a color copy of the original letter from Patsy Presley Gambill, as referenced in Tom’s letter. The size 10 1/2 ring has “STERLING +10” stamped on the interior, most likely indicating the adornments on the shanks of the ring are 10K gold. The ring presents with moderate wear. Excellent condition.

 

Lion-Head Figural Gold and Diamond Ring:

 

 

 

Min Bid: $10,000
Estimate: $20,000 – $25,000

Item Withdrawn

 

 

 

Unfortunately, one of the most interesting of the rings was withdrawn before the completion of the auction.

 

Offered is perhaps the most badass pieces of Elvis Presley-owned jewelry we have ever seen–a lion head figural 14K gold and diamond ring gifted from Elvis  to his karate instructor and bodyguard Ed Parker. Ed was close with Elvis for many years, and eventually became one of his karate teachers and worked as his bodyguard on tour in the 1970s. The offered ring is a masterpiece of figural jewelry, with a host of small diamonds accenting the strands of the lion’s mane as it drifts down your finger from the violently opened mouth of the King of the Jungle. The accompanying signed letter from Ed Parker on “International Kenpo Karate Association” letterhead tells about Ed meeting Elvis and the story of receiving the offered ring:

In late 1960 Elvis Presley attended a karate demonstration that I was giving at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in California. Elvis had attended unbeknownst to me until I was informed later. Elvis apparently liked what he saw and we both immediately bonded and developed a kindred friendship. I grew to love Elvis as a brother over the years. I began teaching Elvis on and off for the remainder of his life, eventually accompanying him on his nationwide tours to be there to protect him.

This beautiful large lion yellow 14kt ring with flowing mane set with diamonds and rubies was a ring Elvis wore quite often, but with Elvis giving to someone was more of a pleasure that receiving, and nothing pleased him more than the look on someone’s face when he would bestow jewelry, cars or some other gift. Consequently, what was at one moment Elvis’ favorite piece of jewelry the next moment it would find a new home and bring joy to someone else. At the end of one of the tours, Elvis took this beautiful lion head ring off his finger and put it on mine. I tried to turn him down but with Elvis that was impossible.

The size 9 1/2 ring weighs over 37 grams and is littered with dozens of tiny diamonds in the lion’s mane. There are three larger, red stones in the lion’s eyes and mouth. The “14K” stamping from the interior of the band is almost all worn away. The ring presents with moderate to heavy wear. Near Mint condition.

 

Gold Ring with Large Lapis Lazuli Stone and 14 Diamonds:

 

 

Min Bid: $10,000
Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000

Final Price – $23,000

 

The offered gold ring with 14 diamonds and a large lapis lazuli center stone was owned by Elvis Presley, and he gave it to Memphis Mafia member Joe Esposito. The ring was sold to Elvis by his Memphis jeweler Lowell Hays, and interestingly, Joe Esposito eventually sold the ring back to Lowell Hays in the late 1970s.

Elvis was fond of a variety of stones and gems with the enchanting blue of lapis lazuli being one. Lapis lazuli is a semi-precious stone that has been prized since ancient times for its celestial blue color. Since lapis lazuli is a symbol of royalty, no stone is more fitting to adorn the finger of the King than the offered 14-karat yellow gold ring with a deep blue, oval lapis lazuli stone.

The ring is accompanied by a copy of a 1978 letter from Lowell Hays detailing the purchase of the ring back from Joe Esposito, as well as a 1980  “Bill of Sale” from the gentlemen to whom Lowell Hays sold the ring, Jack Johnson and James Ledford, when they in turn sold the ring to Mike Moon’s Elvis Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Whew! A ring this beautiful is likely to get around! Finally, a Certificate of Authenticity from the Moon family’s Elvis & Hollywood Legends Museum is included which also details all the history of the ring. The ring remained with Mike Moon’s collection for more than 35 years.

The size 9 ring weighs 22.9 grams and presents with the interior stampings worn away. The lapis stone measures 7/16 x 5/8 inches and has an identifiable silver impurity in one small spot. Excellent to Mint condition.

 

Elvis’ US Army Insignia Ring:

 

 

Min Bid: $4,000
Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000

Final Price – $4,600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I added this second ring picture to show what the seal originally looked like.  This is not the same ring, but it illustrates how much wear Elvis’ ring had.

 

The offered Sterling silver United States Army Insignia ring was owned by Elvis Presley and was given to his cousin Patsy Presley. Elvis was extremely proud of his Army service from 1958 to 1960. He had a great respect for the United States Armed Forces, making many donations to various military causes, the most famous of which was his large donation for the construction of the memorial for the U.S.S. Arizona in Hawaii. The offered ring shows signs of being worn proudly and extensively, with the Army insignia suffering the heavy wear. The ring is accompanied by a letter from noted collector Tom Salva detailing his acquisition of it among other items he purchased from Patsy. The letter states,

The item listed and shown above has been in my personal Elvis Presley collection since 1988. I purchased this item, and many others, from Patsy Presley, Elvis Presley’s cousin who worked as secretary in the offices at Graceland for many years during Elvis’ career. The item was originally from a jewelry box from Elvis’ bedroom dresser. I purchased the jewelry box and all its contents from Patsy in 1988. While it didn’t contain any of Elvis’ ornate jewelry with diamonds and gold, etc., it did contain many rings, watches, money clips, cuff links, bracelets, pins and other items of this sort that were often gifted to Elvis by family, friends and even fans.

The “STERLING” stamping on the interior of the ring is well-worn but still mostly visible. The size 9 1/4 ring presents with significant wear, with the insignia worn heavily. Excellent condition.

 

I think it is interesting that each ring is a different size — ranging from 9 to 10-3/4.  There was a watch in this Rockhurst Auction that went for $195,500.  I may do a post on it soon.

 

2 responses to “Auction Results and Backgrounds on Six Elvis Rings

  1. I found this post extremely interesting. Thanks!

    • Hi Diane: We both owe Jeff Warren at Rockhurst Auctions for allowing me to reproduce the website text on the six rings. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Phil

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