Category Archives: AUCTIONS / MEMORABILIA

Interesting Elvis Memorabilia – Part 37

The Auction at Graceland Sign

I have run out of ideas for different titles on these posts featuring Elvis collectibles, so I’m just going to number them from now on. Here are the titles for the memorabilia articles posted so far in 2017.

2017 Elvis Auctions

So, the 37th post in this series will feature items for the recent Elvis Week 2017 Auction at Graceland. The number of lots for bid increased to 309, so the items I find interesting will fill several posts.

 

1954 Elvis Presley Ceiling Hanger Advertisement:

 

1954 Elvis Presley Ceiling Hanger Advertisement

You have to be impressed when a hanging advertisement for an Elvis record sells for $2,000. This 14 inch diameter in-store promotion featured Elvis’ second single “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” released on September 25, 1954. The auction website calls it custom-made, so presumably Sun Records made just a few for the local record stores. This one came from Popular Tunes, a record store in Memphis where Elvis shopped and hung out. It is rumored that when he released a new song, Elvis would hide around the corner to watch people go in and buy his new record.

 

Signed 1953 Humes High School Yearbook:

Signed 1953 Humes High School Yearbook

Every year or two another one of these Humes High School yearbooks shows up at auction. Elvis must have autographed the books of nearly every girl in his graduating class, and his usual message was a variation of, “Best of luck to a cute girl,” as it is in this one. The auction website describes all the pages in the yearbook pertaining to Elvis:

Elvis is depicted in his senior class portrait wearing a suit jacket and tie with a curl of hair falling onto his forehead. He has listed his major as “Shop, History, English” and his activities as “R.O.T.C., Biology Club, English Club, History Club, and Speech Club. The yearbook is 112 pages and Elvis is also mentioned on page 30 in the class’ Last Will and Testament in Section 83: “Donald Williams, Raymond McCraig and Elvis Presley leave hoping there will be someone to take their places as ‘teachers’ pets.’” Elvis is also pictured on page 56, in the 5th period 12th grade English class photo, in the back row.

If you would like to see these pages, click here.

These yearbooks are always popular with bidders, and after 15 bids, the price on this went up to $4,250, about what they usually bring.

 

1957 Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Toppings Canisters from the Graceland TV Room:

Elvis Presley’s 1957 Soda Fountain Ice Cream Toppings Canisters from the Graceland TV Room

When Elvis bought Graceland in 1957, he started remodeling immediately. He hired an interior decorator and let him decide what to do with the place. But Elvis did ask for two specific things. He wanted the most beautiful bedroom in Memphis for his mother — and he wanted a soda fountain so his friends could come and sit and have soda. He installed the ice cream machine, along with the soda fountain and topping canisters, in the bar area of the basement TV Room downstairs.

There are six ceramic canisters. The taller ones are 9 inches tall and have a soda pump. The three toppings canisters are 6 inches tall and have a chrome lid with a serving spoon attached.  Two of the soda fountains are labeled “Coca Cola” and “Root Beer,” while two of the topping canisters are marked “Marshmallow” and “Strawberry.” Two labels are missing. The set stayed in Graceland until 1974 when Linda Thompson did the remodel.

Bidding was rather light on this, but it went for $4,000. If the new owner could find a photo of Elvis standing in front of it, the value would surely go up.

 

Two Reels of 8mm Film from 1959-62:

Two Reels of 8mm Film from 1959-62

I believe someone got a real steal on this. These two rolls of film had the ridiculously low starting bid of $500 and pre-auction estimate of $1,000-1,500. They sold for $3,750.

These very interesting reels of 8 mm film contain footage of Elvis Presley and his Graceland home over a number of years, plus Elvis on location for Follow that Dream in 1961. The total viewing time is almost 20 minutes, but there is no sound. The scenes include:

Elvis Playing Football in 1961
Elvis Playing Football in 1962
His 21st Birthday Party where he kisses half a dozen different girls on the cheek as they pose for still photos.
Miscellaneous scenes showing Graceland.
Elvis signing autographs on location for Follow That Dream in Aug. 1961.” The scene shows a crowd discovering Elvis at his hotel and surrounding him, and soon he diligently signs autographs.

Based on labels on the reels, it is assumed that Ms. Pam Drew of Chicago shot this film. It seems like she (and perhaps girlfriends) caught up with Elvis a few times and had the camera ready. It is uncertain whether this film was ever shared or distributed.

The reason I think the top bid was a steal is because of the possibilities all the screen grabs present for marketing. Those shots of Elvis kissing the girls at his birthday party should alone generate big bucks for licensing. Somebody could add narration and music and editing and turn the footage into a DVD. There were 32 bids on this film, making it all the more surprising it didn’t go for a larger sum.

 

1953 “Annual Minstrel” Talent Show Program at Humes High School:

1953 “Annual Minstrel” Talent Show Program at Humes High School -- Front

Well, you wouldn’t be allowed to put an image like this on a program for a high school variety show these days. Apparently, it was okay back on April 9, 1953. Elvis is the 16th act, listed as “Guitarist,” but the interesting thing is that his last name is spelled “Prestly.”

1953 “Annual Minstrel” Talent Show Program at Humes High School - Inside

The winning bid for this program was $2,125, about what the pre-auction estimate projected.

 

Necklace – Possibly Stage-Worn in 1957:

Elvis Presley Necklace - Possibly Stage-Worn in 1957

I’m not sure why the auction website was so cautious about saying Elvis wore this item. Although they didn’t have a Letter of Authenticity from J.D. Sumner, to whom Elvis gave the neckless (along with additional tokens given to him by fans). But, they did have a LOA from Mike Moon of The Elvis Museum. Sumner gave it to the museum in the 1970s. The pendant, contains Catholic symbols on a clover-shaped design on the front, and reads on the reverse, “I am Catholic, please call a priest.”

This photo was snapped prior to Elvis’ March 28, 1957 performance at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago where he wore his famous gold-leaf suit. The website says the pendant in the picture “is very possibly the exact pendant” in the auction. Bidders must have believed this, because they ran the final price up to $8,750.

 

Complete Set of Five Elvis Presley Sun Records 45 RPM Records:

Complete Set of Five Elvis Presley Sun Records 45 RPM Records

I agree with the auction website that most collectors have to build this collection piece by piece, so it was a rare occasion to have all five Elvis Sun singles available together. Twenty bids ran the price up to $8,750

The collection includes:

1954 Sun 209 “That’s All Right” / “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (Sample stamped in red on both sides)
1954 Sun 210 “Good Rockin’ Tonight” / “I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine”
1955 Sun 215 “Milkcow Blues Boogie” / “You’re A Heartbreaker”
1955 Sun 217 “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone” / “Baby Let’s Play House”
1955 Sun 223 “Mystery Train” / “I Forgot to Remember to Forget.”

Can you make a guess which of these is the most difficult to acquire? The answer is Sun 215 “Milkcow Blues Boogie.” Four of the five records in this set are rated Very Good or better. # 217 has single crack through playing surface. You can bet the new owner of this set will still be looking for a better copy of “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.”

 

Historic January 25, 1956, Elvis Presley First Signed Document as an Adult – Certifying Earlier Agreements with Colonel Parker:

Historic January 25, 1956, Elvis Presley First Signed Document as an Adult - Certifying Earlier Agreements with Colonel Parker

Col. Tom Parker convinced Elvis and his parents to allow him to manage his career and had them all sign a contract in August 1955. Gladys and Vernon had to sign it because Elvis was just 20 years old and considered a minor. The Colonel obviously wanted something stronger, so when Elvis turned 21, Parker had Elvis sign another contract where he reaffirms his agreement to the earlier contract. It seems like Parker skipped using an attorney and composed it himself using his best legal-sounding language. He refers to himself as both “me” and Col. Thomas A Parker in the document. And when he refers to Elvis as an “infant,” he obviously meant “minor.” Have fun reading this attempt at legalese.

On this 25 day of January, 1956, before me personally appeared ELVIS PRESLEY, to me known to be the individual described in and who executed this instrument, and he duly acknowledged to me that on November 21, 1955, he entered into and signed certain management and representation agreements with Col. Thomas A. Parker, that said instruments were formerly signed and executed by him when he was still an infant under the age of 21 years, that he has since arrived at full age and is desirous of confirming the signing and execution of said agreements, and he now acknowledges that he does hereby confirm said agreements as and for his act and deed, for the purposes therein contained.

Of course the contract had a big effect on Elvis’ life. It also sold for $21,250 at this auction.

 

1956 Signed Copy of His First Album Elvis Presley:

Signed Elvis Presley Album

As far as I know, no autographed Elvis album has sold for as much as this one. The estimate of $5-10,000 seemed reasonable, but 37 bids rocketed the price up to $25,000.

What makes this album so special? The auction website says that signed copies of the Elvis Presley LP are few and far between. However, this one has an extra feature – a close connection to the inner workings of the Presley organization. The back cover has an inscription, “To Trude, A great little gal. Thanks and good luck, Elvis Presley.” This is Trude Forsher, Elvis and Colonel Parker’s west coast secretary and promotions coordinator from 1956-1961.

You may not know this fact about Elvis’ first album as explained on the auction website:

In 1956, “Heartbreak Hotel” was already a smash hit, and RCA wanted to capitalize on the heavy TV presence of its young star. So five songs RCA acquired from Sun Records when it bought Elvis’ contract were combined with seven RCA recordings to round out the album.

The front and back of the sleeve have separated from heavy use. The back of the sleeve has several areas of tape and tape residue, including one that affects “Trude” in the inscription. None of these distresses affect the Elvis signature. The bidders apparently didn’t care about this album cover not being in the best of shape. Although the photos show that the vinyl record is included, not one word was said about its condition.

 

Wraparound Sunglasses – Worn on the Set of Follow That Dream:

Elvis Presley's Wraparound Sunglasses – Worn on the Set of Follow That Dream

I know you have heard of Ray-Bans and Foster Grants, but how about Renauld sunglasses?

In the 1960s, Renauld of France created a stylish and futuristic wrap-around style sunglasses that were popular with celebrities and sport enthusiasts. The above “Sea & Ski Spectacular” model was touted as appearing to float on the face. The green lenses were guaranteed distortion-free and contained a special UV formula filter.

Elvis always wanted to be at the forefront of fashion, so it was important to him to have this latest hot item. The story of how Elvis got this pair is described in a letter from Elvis’ buddy Alan Fortas on the auction website:

“I was with Elvis during the filming of the movie Follow That Dream down in Ocala, Florida. Elvis has wanted a pair of these new wrap-around sunglasses that had just come out. He had me look in shops around town and I couldn’t find any. When Elvis wanted something he wanted it ‘NOW.’ There were hundreds of people around the set wanting autographs and just wanting to watch Elvis.

“Well, eagle eye Elvis saw someone in the crowd with a pair of the sunglasses that he wanted. He yelled at me and pointed to the person in the crowd and told me to go and ask him where he got them, and, if I had to, buy them from him. When Elvis gave you a task you followed it. Turned out the guy that was wearing them got them as a gift and he didn’t know where they came from. I said I’ll give you $50.00 for them. He said make it $100 and he’d sell them. That’s how Elvis finally got these sunglasses he had been wanting. He wore them constantly when we weren’t filming. Eventually Elvis got tired of these when he started wearing another style and gave these to me.”

The Renauld sunglasses went for $11,875, which is more than Elvis’ familiar EP design from the 70s bring at auction. There have been many of those, but this pair of Elvis shades is one of a kind.

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis Fabulous Wardrobe – Part 7

Elvis Presley's Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket -- Back

The recent Auction at Graceland listed 315 items of Elvis memorabilia. The number of offerings keeps increasing, and this time there were enough items of Elvis’ clothing to fill an ElvisBlog article.

Blue Armadillo Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket:

Elvis' Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket

You may not know it, but Elvis wore several two-piece jumpsuits like this one. Bill Belew and Gene Douchette at I.C. Costume Co. in Hollywood created them with various shoulder designs on the jacket including flames, multi-colored arrows, snakes, and a variation of this one called the red armadillo. The armadillo name came from the shoulder patterns looking similar to the scales or scutes of an armadillo.

Elvis wore the blue armadillo two-piece jumpsuit at eight concert appearances in 1975. There are many photographs of Elvis wearing the suit, which add to its value.

Elvis' Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket - Wearing

 

There were nearly 100 jumpsuits created for Elvis over the years, but most reside in the Graceland Archives. Because this auction presented a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire one, the minimum bid of $100,000 was ridiculously low. Collectors placed seven bids running the final price up to $250,000, including the buyer’s premium added by the auction.

 

Motorcycle Cap Gifted to Elvis’ Uncle Vester Presley:

Elvis Presley's Motorcycle Cap Gifted to Uncle Vester

Elvis owned many Harley-Davidson motorcycles (Graceland currently has four of his Harleys on display), and he also owned a number of black cloth motorcycle hats. This one he gave to his Uncle Vester (Vernon’s brother). In 1983, along with the cap, Vester sold other Elvis gifts like a 1975 blue and white Pontiac Grand Prix and two pistols. The cap resurfaced at the recent Auction at Graceland, and it was very popular. A total of 9 bids ran the price up to $6,000

 

Three Pair of Pants from Elvis Movies:

Three pair of Elvis Presley's Movie Pants

It is interesting to identify the scenes where Elvis wore these pants. He wore the Viva Las Vegas pants (with a grey jacket) in the scenes where he went from hotel to hotel looking for Rusty, played by Ann-Margret. When he finally finds her poolside at the hotel, he serenades her and then she pushes him into the pool.

Elvis wore the Easy Come, Easy Go pants in all of the club scenes, the yoga scene, the scene with Captain Jack and Gil, and the Zoltan car scenes.

Elvis wore the Flaming Star pants throughout the entire film.

All three pairs came with multiple photos of Elvis wearing them.

Elvis Presley's Flaming Star Beige Western Jeans

 

There were labels and tags that verified them as part of Elvis’ wardrobe for the films.

Label on Elvis Presley's Viva Las Vegas Pants

 

And all three had Letters of Authenticity.

Elvis' Easy Come, Easy Go Pants Certificate of Authenticity

So, you would expect them all to go for the approximately the same price. It didn’t work out that way.

The Flaming Star pants went for $7,500, and the Viva Las Vegas pants nearly equaled that at $6,785. But the Easy Come, Easy Go pants did not sell. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because that was a pretty weak movie and the other two were much more significant.

 

Brown Leather Jacket:

Elvis Presley's Brown Leather Jacket

Elvis wore this dark brown leather jacket in the 70’s until his increased weight made it too small for him. Believe it or not, this coat came from Sears.

Elvis Presley's Brown Leather Jacket Sears Label

Considering all the custom made clothing Elvis bought, who knew a Sears jacket was part of his wardrobe.

There is a little story about this jacket told by Dave Hebler, Elvis Bodyguard from 1972 to 1976:

“One day Elvis invited me upstairs to his bedroom at Graceland and offered me all of his old jumpsuits. He complained that they no longer fit him and that he wanted them out of his closet. I told him I had no use for 50 jumpsuits nor did I have the ability to store them at my apartment. In retrospect, I wish I had. Instead I moved a majority of the jumpsuits to the shed at the back of Graceland. I did take a couple of Elvis’ jackets for the colder winters in Memphis.”

So, if you think about it, because Hebler did not take the jumpsuits that day, the collection stayed at Graceland, and they can now be enjoyed by us fans in one place. Otherwise, they would have been sold to collectors over the years and we’d never see any of them.

The leather jacket did not come with a photo of Elvis wearing it, and thus came in under the estimate at just $4,250.

Electric Purple Button-Down Shirt:

Elvis Presley's Electric Purple Button-Down Shirt

This is another item that Elvis gave away to his Uncle Vester. The auction website says:

“Elvis’ personal fashion in the ’70s mimicked his concert costumes with a style and flair that was the embodiment of men’s fashions in that decade. With its puffy sleeve construction and bright purple hue, the offered example is in keeping with the bold patterns, colors and stylized designs of men’s fashion at the time.”

This cotton shirt with a big collar, puffy sleeves, and two pleats on the back was a favorite with the bidders. It started with a minimum of $2,000, and 16 bids later it sold for $5,500 (without benefit of a photo of Elvis wearing it). Do you think it would have gone higher if the seller had bothered to get it ironed?

 

Rabbit Fur Coat:

Elvis Presley's Rabbit Fur Coat

Elvis gave this fur coat to Patti Parry. I have seen her name before, but was not sure of her connection with Elvis, so I was thankful for the history the auction website provided:

“In 1960, at the tender age of 17, she met Elvis for the first time. Patti, who ran into Elvis while on Santa Monica Boulevard, was in beauty school at the time with Larry Geller. When she met Elvis, the two immediately hit it off and she became one of the few women to spend time with the entourage in LA. Elvis treated her like a little sister and would often introduce her as part of the family. She would style Elvis’ and sometime Priscilla’s hair. Patti was there the time The Beatles met Elvis, she was in the audience for the “’68 Comeback Special,” she was on his movie sets and at his Vegas performances, and she did his hair for the Aloha from Hawaii satellite broadcast concert. Theirs was a special brother-and-sister relationship and as with close friends and family, Elvis lavished Patti with gifts, including the offered rabbit fur coat.”

The rabbit fur coat that Elvis gave to Patti has six front buttons and a pleat on the back. The fur has a size label “40” in the collar above the maker’s label, which reads “Finest French Rabbit” and has “EP” embroidered on the inside. It brought in a price just slightly below the estimate at $7,500. Is French rabbit fur superior to American?

 

Red “Elephant Corduroy” Suit:

Elvis Presley's Red “Elephant Corduroy” Suit

This marvelous suit went from Elvis to super fan Paul Lichter to Chris Davidson for display at his Elvis-A-Rama Museum in Las Vegas. The museum has been closed since 2006, and supposedly Davidson sold its entire inventory to CKX, the company that owned Elvis Presley Enterprises at the time. However, it would appear Davidson held on to this suit.

I must say the folks writing the text for this auction’s item descriptions have risen to new heights in descriptive prose:

“Elvis was not only a musical superstar, but he also served as an icon of style, helped in part by Bill Belew, who designed outlandish stage costumes that became street fashion for the trend-setting king of rock ‘n’ roll. In the 1970s that he took his fashion to new heights and embraced the fun bohemian concept of using oneself as an art palette for fashion, mixing bold, bright colors, textures and patterns. The decade of the 1970s was about chic comfort and a lazy, luxurious feel, with diversity in individual style reflecting one’s own self-expression. No one could have carried those exaggerated elements of flared pants, oversized collars and accessories worn from head to toe better than Elvis Presley.”

Elvis Presley's Red “Elephant Corduroy” Suit - Back

“Bill Belew, Elvis’ jumpsuit designer at the I.C. Costume Company, created iconic jewel-covered jumpsuit synonymous with Elvis, but he also pushed the envelope with Elvis’ everyday wear, using the bold styles and popular fabrics of the day which included suedes, polyesters and corduroys. Corduroy, a woven fiber that lies in parallel lines forming a distinct “cord” pattern with the larger, thicker-striped version known as “elephant” corduroy, was often utilized for both men and women’s fashion.”

The website stated that photos existed of Elvis wearing the suit although none were offered. There were only five bids, but the price must have leapfrogged up from the minimum of $30,000 in big increments. The red corduroy suit topped out at $62,500.

 

Suede, Leather, and Fur-Trimmed Jacket:

Elvis Presley's Elvis Suede and Fur-Trimmed Jacket

This brown suede jacket has leather on the shoulders, pockets, and belted waist, and fur on the cuffs and collar. Wearing it, Elvis would have been prepared for any cold winter Memphis weather. Once again, Elvis was cleaning out his closet when it got too full, and he gave the coat to his cousin Harold Lloyd.

Custom Made for Elvis Presley Label on Suede and Fur-trimmed Jacket - Copy

No pictures of Elvis wearing it were provided, but the coat does have interior label indicating that the jacket was “Custom Tailored for Elvis Presley. It was certainly an in-demand item, with 16 bids pushing the price up to $8,750.

 

Brown Velvet Jacket, Pants and Cape Ensemble:

Elvis Presley's Brown Velvet Jacket, Pants and Cape Ensemble

We have already seen how an item of Elvis’ wardrobe designed by the jumpsuit master Bill Belew sold for big bucks. The owner of this ensemble and the auctioneers thought it would, too, and set the minimum bid of $35,000.

Belew created Elvis’ Black Leather outfit from the ’68 Comeback Special, the American Eagle Jumpsuit, and the suit Elvis wore during his famous Oval Office meeting with President Nixon. . He loved creating striking masterpieces for Elvis’ personal wardrobe as well. This set is a good example.

It includes chocolate brown pants, jacket and cape. The heavy, long sleeved, brown velvet jacket has a brown and white spotted lining. Tit has velvet-covered buttons, two false front pockets, wide lapels, six buttons on each cuff, and a Velcro strip on the back of the collar by which the cape can attach. The brown velvet pants are heavily bell-bottomed. The matching brown velvet cape is fully lined in brown satin. According to the auction website, “this elaborate ensemble vividly depicts Elvis’ love for dressing extravagantly in not only his professional but his personal life… It has remained in a private collection since 1999, and now presents a rare opportunity for collectors to own a personal outfit from the ultimate showman.”

In spite of all this, the three-piece outfit did not sell. There were two bids above the minimum, but they did not get close enough the estimate of $70-80,000 to please the seller, so it was pulled. I think a photo of Elvis wearing the ensemble would have made a big difference.

 

Cape with Tiger Skin Pattern on the Lining:

Tiger Skin Lining of Elvis' Lava Jumpsuit

You would think that with the item description above, the featured photo on the auction website would be the one I chose to show. However, the exterior of the cape is the one that pops up when you click on the item.

Elvis Presley Lava Jumpsuit Cape with Tiger Skin Pattern on the Interior - Copy

Five variations of it were offered, including two blow-ups of the jewels.

Elvis Presley's Lava Jumpsuit - closeup

All this is fine because the jumpsuit is not called Tiger Skin. It is the Lava Jumpsuit or the Amber Jumpsuit. Strangely, they chose not to offer a photo of Elvis in the suit. It wasn’t hard to find a couple on the internet. Unfortunately, none show Elvis with his arms outstretched holding up the corners of the cape and exposing the faux tiger skin lining.

Elvis Presly in Lava Jumpsuit

This photo was not shown on auction website.

 

The Lava Jumpsuit is already part of the Graceland Archive Collection. Do you think maybe Graceland paid the winning bid of $83,750 for the cape so they could pair it up with suit?

 

 

2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

 

 

Memphis Mafia Organizational Chart

Marty Lacker's chart of Elvis' Memphis Mafia Individual Responsibilities

This image is too small for reading, so don’t try. In this post we will dissect and expand it to show the individual responsibilities of Elvis’ Memphis Mafia circa January 1965. As you know, the men making up this unique group varied as some left (or left and came back) or were added as the years went by. But in late 1964 and early 1965, the guys who took care of Elvis’ every need were:

Marty Lacker
Red West
Billy Smith
Richard Davis
Joe Esposito
Jerry Shilling
Mike Keaton

And there was a specific order of responsibilities as shown in the following organizational chart distilled from the above image.

Elvis' Memphis Mafia Flow Chart

 

So, it appears Red West and Billy Smith had special relationships with Elvis and reported directly to him. But Richard Davis, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling, and Mike Keaton all reported to Marty Lacker.

Marty Lacker and Elvis Presley

Marty Lacker as co-best man at Elvis’ wedding

I never knew Marty was such an important member of the Memphis Mafia.

And, like most of you, I had never heard of Mike Keaton.

 

So what is this document that shows the power ranking among Elvis’ guys? It was part of a ten-page lot offered at the recent Auction at Graceland.

1965 Elvis Presley Memphis Mafia Duties and Responsibilities Chart

It had a pre-auction estimate of $5-10,000, but bidding failed to reach the minimum of $2,500. In the early 1980s, Lacker transferred ownership of these papers to Mike L. Moon for display in the Elvis Museum. I suspect we will see them up for auction again.

 

Marty Lacker's Elvis Responsibilities

This blow-up refers to Marty as Foreman, a term I had not come across before regarding the Memphis Mafia. The boxes beside his name, spell out his duties in both Memphis and Los Angeles. With Elvis making three movies a year, he and the guys traveled back and forth between the two cities.

In Memphis, Marty’s responsibilities were:

All personal financial business, including, especially, money.
Elvis’ personal mail
Business with the Col’s office.
Responsible to Elvis for entire operation
Upkeep of bus

Item # 4 is the biggie. We have read that Marty Lacker was Elvis’ personal bookkeeper and secretary, but who knew he was responsible for the whole operation?

The list for Marty Lacker’s responsibilities in Los Angeles is essentially the same. However, one of the other pages in this package expanded on Marty’ functions at both locations. I like this one – Purchase records for Elvis. This makes sense, because Marty had business interests in the recording industry and lots of contacts. So, maybe he had better taste than the other guys in what music would appeal to Elvis.

In L.A, Marty also had to work with the studio heads for Elvis. I guess he was some kind of buffer between Col. Parker. The last two other L.A. assignments make no sense to me – weekly food menu and grocery shopping. It seems strange for the guy running the whole operation to do the food shopping.

 

Red West's Elvis Responsibilities

At the top left of the chart is Red West, Elvis’ friend since high school, and he had a sweet deal – Assistant to Elvis and Available to assist others as needed. So I guess he just got to hang out and be Elvis’ buddy both in Memphis and L.A. Of course, Red served as bodyguard, so I wonder why that wasn’t mentioned.

 

Billy Smith's Elvis Responsibilities

At the top right of the chart is Elvis’ cousin, Billy Smith. The religious symbols drawn below his name and elsewhere must have been some kind of doodling by Marty Lacker, because this document was in his possession at all times. Billy Smith’s responsibilities in Memphis were rather light – Elvis’ shoes, Elvis’ razor, and be available daily if needed by Elvis. However, there is a separate sheet with a more detailed list (and a bunch of drawings of Elvis). It was also the only one to be typed

Billy Smith - expanded list of Elvis responsibilities

Billy had to keep Elvis’ shoes polished and repaired, and Elvis’ razor had to be cleaned and kept charged. A new duty was added: Elvis’ clothes – work with Richard, keep cleaned and hung upstairs in dressing room.

I like the longer explanation of be available if needed by Elvis. Here Marty gets a lot more specific about Billy’s duties: Be at Graceland by at least 2:30 P.M. each day, unless notified otherwise. (If for any reason you cannot make it by that time on any day, please tell Marty the night before).

Unlike Red West who had the same job of being Elvis’ buddy in both locations, Billy Smith had some real responsibilities added when they were in Los Angeles.

Upkeep and care of portable dressing room on set each day.
Elvis’ clothes. (Receive dirty clothes from Richard. Keep a list of them, then send to cleaners. Upon return from cleaners, remove and save tickets, then give clothes to Richard to be hung in closets. Give all tickets to Marty at end of each month to be checked against bill).
Assist Elvis with each change of wardrobe at studio
Keep Elvis’ black kit stocked with needed items and carry it for him when necessary
And Elvis’ shoes and razor as already explained.

 

Richard Davis' Elvis Responsibilities

Now we get to the two men listed as assistants to Marty. All fans know that Richard Davis was Elvis’ wardrobe guy and shopped for his clothes, but he had some other jobs, too. In Memphis, he took care of the vehicles (wash, gas, repairs), and he oversaw the stocking of needed items for Elvis in the kitchen and the rest of the house. He was also expected to be at Graceland by 1:30 every day.

There are two other Memphis responsibilities on his expanded list that I find interesting. Richard had to buy six copies of TV Guide and distribute them to Elvis’ room, the kitchen, Marty’s room, the downstairs den, and two other places with unfamiliar names. The conference room – I guess that was the dining room because Elvis ate all his meals in the kitchen. The Graceland room – I guess that would be the living room.

Richard was also expected to take care of business for Elvis, along with Joe Esposito, in the Marty’s absence. Thus the title of Assistant to Marty we see in the graph.

In Los Angeles, Richard got to oversee the running of the house on Bellagio Road. This included menu preparation and grocery shopping. I wonder why Marty would do that in Memphis and Richard would do it in L.A. Handling fan mail shifted from Marty to Richard, who also handled business calls at the house when Marty was absent.

As in Memphis, Richard Davis was responsible for the cars, bought the TV Guides, and was responsible for stocking the kitchen and bar. But my favorite of his duties is this: Keep water, gum, cigars(ettes), Blistex on set for Elvis when Jerry not available. Among Richard’s wardrobe responsibilities was: Select clothes to take to studio each morning. Return at night to Jerry.

 

Joe Esposito's Elvis Responsibilities

Joe Esposito, the other Assistant to Marty, had few daily responsibilities while Elvis was in Memphis. On an as needed basis, he would drive car for Elvis, handle miscellaneous business for Elvis, and make and confirm appointments such as doctor, dentist, house repairs, and prescriptions. He also had fill-in duties: Assume household responsibilities in Richard’s absence, and take care of business along with Richard in Marty’s absence.

When Elvis was making movies In Los Angeles, Joe had several important functions. He maintained Elvis’ script, marking daily scenes and keeping it available on set. He assisted Marty conducting business with the studio. In Marty’s absence, he handled business with Col. Parker. He assisted Elvis with wardrobe in Billy’s absence

Marty Lacker deserves credit for thinking ahead and making certain all his and the others guys’ functions had back-ups.

 

Jerry Schilling's Elvis Responsibilities

Jerry Schilling had it almost as easy as Red West when Elvis was in Memphis. He was responsible for upkeep of the Cadillac limo. There’s no telling why Richard was charged with all the other cars. Jerry also kept the cigar boxes stocked in the den, car, and Elvis’ room, plus he notified Richard of needed cigar box items. He assisted with Elvis’ clothes. Here’s the one I really like: Be available if needed whenever Elvis comes down from his room.

Marty definitely made sure people were around when Elvis woke up and started his day.

The sheet with Jerry Schilling’s expanded duties included two regarding Elvis’ private screening of movies. He had to check with the theater, and bring Elvis and Priscilla large cups of water at the movie.

When Elvis was in L,A., Jerry got some new jobs in addition to the cigar duty, assisting Billy with the clothes, and being around at night for Elvis’ companionship. Now he took care of the studio golf cart, purchased the afternoon paper at the studio, and kept glasses of ice water, cigarettes, etc on set for Elvis. And here’s the big one: Assisted Mike with ice for set dressing room each morning. How can ice detail take more than one man?

Jerry’s expanded responsibility list had this: Check with assistant director after each take, scene, or delay, as to how much time before next shot and what it will be.

 

Mike Keaton's Elvis Responsibilities

Finally, we come to this fellow Mike Keaton, who has been unknown to us up until now. He was a friend of Jerry Schilling and Elvis hired him in late September 1964. There are several familiar Memphis Mafia names who were not on the organizational chart, even though their tenure started before 1965 and ended after it. So, Charlie Hodge, Sonny West, Lamar Fike, and Alan Fortas must have been away from the scene for a while perusing singing careers, acting, or something else.

Thus, Elvis needed some new blood, and Jerry recruited Mike Keaton. When Elvis interviewed Mike, he learned the new guy was a member of the Assembly of God church, which the Presleys had attended when Elvis was a kid. Then Elvis found out that Mike’s wife was named Gladys. That clinched it for Elvis, and he hired him on the spot.

To be honest, many of the responsibilities listed for Mike in both locations duplicate many of those listed for other guys. The only different jobs listed for Memphis are picking up and returning movies, and maintaining the 16m mm film projector. In Los Angeles, he purchased two copies of the trades papers each morning at the studio, and he brought the daily call sheets to the Colonel’s office.

 

Graceland Kitchen

Graceland Kitchen

The last sheet in the auction package did not apply to anyone. It was a general list of 31 items to be “kept in kitchen and house for Elvis — at all times — every day.” I believe you will be able to read it, so I’ll skip typing it.

Elvis' Graceland 1965 - Items to be kept in kitchen and house at all times

 

So, maybe Marty Lacker’s Memphis Mafia Organizational Chart and related pages didn’t sell for $2,500, but they did give us a free look at how Elvis’ every need was provided by a group of seven men.

 

Next week we’ll look at some of the items at the Auction at Graceland that did sell.

 

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Elvis’ First Guitar — Part 2

Elvis Presley's First Guitar in front of Picture

When I posted the article last weekend on Elvis’ first guitar, I had no idea of what was to follow. There were more favorable comments on this post than any other in a long time. For example, Collette C. sent in this:

Oh, this story was fantastic. I can see his mama grinning from ear to ear when she got her way. As a mom I know how she felt! I just love this blog. Thank you so much.

Selma S. had this to say:

Phil, I am relatively new to your blogs, and as a lifelong Elvis fan, I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your email landing in my inbox.

Your dedicated research, your ability to write a logical story and your way of bringing the emotions to life are matched by the fresh information you bring.

As much as I appreciated these, I was more intrigued by this comment made by an unidentified member of the Tupelo Elvis Fan Club:

I believe Mr. Larry Moss of Memphis owns the original guitar.

Larry Moss at Tupelo Hardware with Elvis Presley's First Guitar.

Larry Moss with Elvis’ first guitar in Tupelo Hardware, June 2017, at Tupelo Elvis Festival

I replied to the comment and asked a few questions about Larry Moss. Within hours, I heard from him:

Great story and great due diligence. I am the person who owns the “Tupelo Special” guitar as some people call it… I’ll gladly discuss the details, if you’re interested…Larry Moss.

I jumped at the chance to learn more about Elvis’ first guitar, and Larry and I talked for an hour on Friday.

Larry Moss Collection 1

It turns out he and his wife Judy are major collectors of all sorts of Elvis memorabilia. They are kept in a secure, private location, but Larry has been known to let special people view his collection. When I get back to Memphis again, I will be thrilled to take up his offer for a guided tour.

Larry Moss and his wife started collecting back in 1973 when they got boxing champ Joe Frazier’s autograph on a dollar bill.

Elvis Presley's Contract with Col. Parker

Now Larry and Judy’s collection amounts to hundreds of Elvis items, a very eclectic mix. For example, Larry owns the original contract Elvis signed with Col. Parker in November 1955. Vernon and Gladys also signed because Elvis was a minor at the time.

 

There is an interesting history to Elvis’ first guitar between the time Elvis had it and today when it occupies a prime space in the Moss’ museum-like collection.

Red West And George Klein with Elvis first guitar

Red West and George Klein with Elvis’ first guitar

Elvis and the guitar were inseparable during his time in Tupelo, throughout high school in Memphis, at the first recording sessions at Sun records, and on the road performing early in his career. Back in the summer of 1955, Elvis and the band toured throughout the South. Red West was Elvis’ friend from their high school days, and Elvis asked him to travel with them. During off-time, Red took an interest in guitar playing, and Scotty Moore taught him the basics.

As the end of summer approached, Red told Elvis he would be leaving to attend Jones County Community College in Mississippi on a football scholarship. Elvis bought his friend a used Ford Model A or Modal T (a forerunner of things to come). By that time, Elvis had purchased better guitars, so he also gave his first guitar to Red so he could continue to master the instrument.

Red’s best friend and roommate in college was Ronnie Williams, another scholarship football player. He was a fan of Elvis because he liked all of the first Sun releases. Ronnie would talk to Red all the time about Elvis.

Even with a scholarship, Red found himself financially unable to stay in college. He sold the car for $50 and gave the guitar to Ronnie Williams. He later stated that the reason he did this was because Ronnie was such a big Elvis fan (plus Red couldn’t afford a case to properly carry it around). Red went back to work for Elvis as a bodyguard.

Shortly after that, Ronnie Williams transferred to Florida State. Later, he was killed (possibly shot by the police, details are fuzzy.) The guitar ended up with his brother, Bill Williams, who in 2011, tried to sell Elvis’ first guitar at Guernsey’s Auction House in New York.

Guernsey’s February 2016 Guitar Auction

Guernsey’s February 2016 Guitar Auction

The guitar had a minimum bid of $200,000, or possibly $250,000 (details are unclear), but no bidders wanted to pay that much for a guitar with absolutely no validation presented. There was no documentation to tie it to Elvis, particularly no photo of Elvis holding the guitar.

This is where the current owner, Larry Moss, came into the picture. He had an association with Guernsey’s Auctions from when they held the Archives of Graceland Auction in Las Vegas in 1999. Gurnsey’s Arlan Ettinger contacted Larry and gave him the name and phone number of the man who had put the guitar up at auction. Over several months, Larry Moss and Bill Williams negotiated, and finally, Larry Moss became the owner of Elvis’ first guitar.

He took a gamble, but had a connection he figured would help him prove the provenance of the guitar. His father played football at Humes High with Red West’s dad. Larry conducted interviews with Red in 2013 and 2014, and has nearly a half-hour of tape where Red provides valuable confirmation that the guitar is in fact Elvis’ first guitar. Larry is in negotiations with Graceland right now, so no more details can be given.

 

Scotty and Larry Moss with Guitars

Photo by James V. Roy

Larry Moss owns several other prized guitars. In the 2013 photo above, Scotty Moore holds a Gibson ES-295, the one he played when “That’s All Right, Mama” was recorded. This is Larry’s second most valuable guitar. You can spot it in the next photo (taken before Larry acquired Elvis’ guitar).

Larry Moss Collection Guitar Close-up

Photo by James V Roy

 

The collection also includes many items of Elvis’ wardrobe and five of his rings, which will be featured at a later date in a special edition of the ElvisBlog series, “Elvis’ Fabulous Rings.” Here are some of Elvis’ clothes and movie wardrobe.

Jacket Elvis wore in Million Dollar Quartet

This is the jacket Elvis wore when the guys jammed around in Sun studios, creating the iconic Million Dollar Quartet.

Million Dollar Quartet

 

Larry Moss’ collection includes another famous Elvis jacket — the one he wore during the Jailhouse Rock dance sequence.

Elvis Presley Jailhouse Rock Dance Outfit

Elvis Presley Jailhouse Rock Dance Outfit Placard

 

Do you know what was Elvis’ first jumpsuit to have a cape? It is called the White Fireworks Suit, and Elvis wore it in 1971 and 1972. It now is a star in Larry Moss’ collection.

Elvis Presley's First Jumpsuit with a Cape - Front

Elvis Presley's First Jumpsuit with a Cape - Back

 

As stated earlier, ElvisBlog will soon do a feature on the Elvis rings in Larry Moss’ collection. There are great stories to tell about some of these rings. There will also be a post about Elvis’ third cape for his American Eagle jumpsuit. Yes, the third. There’s a great story here, too.

Elvis Presley's American Eagle Cape

 

 

Like I said at the start of this article, I had no idea what last week’s post on Elvis’ first guitar would lead to.

Elvis Presley's First Guitar in Case

Photo by James V Roy

 

Now, thanks to Larry Moss, I have a treasure trove of stories and pictures to share with you.

 

The photos above credited to James V Roy appeared on www.scottymoore.net. If you want to see more photos, go to Scotty’s site.  Scroll to the bottom of the home page and type these into the search box: Elvis’ First Guitar, The Moss Collection, and The George Klein Interviews.

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Postscripts to Earlier ElvisBlogs

A Touch of Gold Vol 3 - Scarce Maroon label disc

I haven’t done one of these Postscripts in years, but some stuff has come up that will work. Like this interesting six-song EP.  It played at 45rpm but functioned as a small album.  The record has a maroon label,  making it even more rare and valuable to collectors. The cover is a variation of the classic album, with Elvis reduced to just three images.  I wish I had run across this a week earlier, because I could have put it into last weekend’s post on the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Peppers, which veered off to remade covers of 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.

Mad Magazine Cover

Here’s a variation on Sgt. Peppers that’s not an album, but a magazine.  Good luck figuring out who all the faces are.

elvis presley parody album cover

50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong is not the only Elvis album to get copied. Recognize the album cover they’re copying here?

 

A month ago, we said Goodbye to Graceland Plaza. A newer shot makes a great comparison before and after.

Graceland Plaza

Graceland Plaza - All gone

Heavy machines sit where Graceland Plaza used to be.

 

Thanks to my friend Bob Strother, I have found something that would have been great in the Chuck Berry Tribute back in March. Here’s the story.

On August 20th, 1977, NASA sent up a two-hour recording of The Sounds of Earth on the Voyager I spacecraft. It included natural sounds of animals, a French poem by Gaugliere, a passage from the Koran in Arabic, and messages from President Carter.  Plus lots of music — everything from classical to Johnnie Be Goode by Chuck Berry.

The Sounds of Earth - Voyager 1

Soon, Steve Martin teamed up with the Saturday Night Live crew to do a skit about it.  Supposedly, scientists had received a response from space, and Time magazine had promised to print the message on the cover of the next issue.  Dan Aykroyd’s character says, “Yes. They’ve sent us a message. It may be just four simple words, but it is the FIRST positive proof that other intelligent beings inhabit the universe.”

The panel moderator asks, “What are the four words?

Steve Martin’s character replies, “The four words that came to us from outer space — the FOUR words that will appear on the cover of Time magazine next week – are… He holds up the magazine.  ‘Send More Chuck Berry’.”

 

Send More Chuck Berry

Clever, very clever.

 

Rocking New Upgrades

This goes along with the article three weeks ago about Soundstage A at Elvis Presley’s Memphis.  Judging by the prices, expensive might be substituted for rocking.

View from Soundstage A

I found this photo taken by someone in front of Soundstage A. The big building at the end is the Elvis the Entertainer Museum

View of Storefronts near Soundstage A

This shot is framed farther right, with the entrance to the Soundstage on the far right.

 

Diana Henry Cast Signed by Elvis Twice

This picture and commentary were posted nearly four years ago in a feature called According to Wikipedia — The 10 Weirdest Elvis Presley Memorabilia. To my surprise, I heard from Diana Henry, the girl wearing the cast when Elvis signed it twice.  Here is what she had to say:

“I was the owner of the cast. Elvis didn’t come into the audience. He was kneeling by the stage talking to me. I didn’t beg him to sign it again. He didn’t realize he dropped sweat on the first signature and I told him so he signed it again. I wrote the story and sold it with the cast and the turquoise scarf he gave me.”

This is one of the best fan stories about Elvis memorabilia I have ever seen.  Thank you, Diana, for telling us about it.

 

Elvis as Batman

Adam West, who played Batman on TV from 1966 to 1968, died yesterday at age 88.  This is not a picture of Adam West.  It is Photoshopped Elvis.  You have to look closely to see all the Elvis references.  Lip snarl, large jumpsuit collar, scarf, bat costume open at the neck, and wide jumpsuit belt.

 

We’ll miss you, Adam West.  Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

©  2017    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Disparate Prices on Elvis Clothing at Auction

Gotta Have Rock and Roll Auction
Gotta Have Rock and Roll continues to offer a wide selection of rock artist memorabilia, but their most recent auction didn’t bring the kinds of prices we are used to seeing on several Elvis items. The Auctions at Graceland have a distinct advantage by offering a hundred or more Elvis collectibles and having them on display when thousands of fans are in town for events like Elvis Week.

So, if you have some collectibles you want to sell, stick with the Auctions at Graceland, but if you are looking to buy, be sure to check out the next Gotta have Rock and Roll auction. Their Pop Culture Auction last month had a few items that went cheap or had no bids at all.

 

Pink Stage Pants with Black Saddle Stitching:

Elvis WearingPink Stage Pants With Black Saddle Stitching

Do you remember this photo of Elvis in a pink suit and Scotty and Bill wearing pink vests? I’m not sure what happened to Elvis’ coat, but the pants were auctioned last month.

Elvis Presley's Pink Stage Pants With Black Saddle Stitching

Elvis gave the pants to his cousin Gene Smith, along with some other clothes. Gene was the first of the ever-present Elvis buddies and performed many duties for Elvis including attending to his wardrobe. He provided a letter of provenance, and Gotta Have Rock & Roll supplied their own Certificate of Authenticity. In addition, the pants contained a Lansky Bros. label and another one that said Styled for Elvis Presley.

Lansky Bros label on Pink Pants

Styled for Elvis Presley Lansky Label

So, with all that, you’d think it was a slam dunk for the pants to meet or surpass the estimate of $3-5,000, but only three bids came in and the pants went for just $2,200. A real bargain.

 

White Leather Boots:

Elvis Presley's White Leather Boots

Elvis wore these white leather boots with square toes and black heels both on and off stage. He gave them to Charlie Hodge, who received dozens of clothing items during the sixteen years he lived downstairs at Graceland. It’s hard to find an auction of Elvis collectibles that doesn’t include at least one Elvis-gifted item to Charlie.

Elvis Wearing White Leather Boots

Gotta Have Rock and Roll may have dampened the enthusiasm of some buyers in their description of these accompanying photographs. The website says “photos of Elvis wearing the same, or nearly identical, boots on stage. I added the italics. However, Charlie Hodge provided a letter of provenance, so the estimate of $4-6,000 seemed reasonable. Only one person bid on the boots, and picked them off for just $3,000.

 

Painted Leather & Suede Jacket:

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather & Suede Jacket

Elvis usually wore this brown leather jacket with painted birds and whip-stitching as a shirt. When I saw the pre-auction estimate of $5-7,000 on this jacket, I thought it was too low. Look at this blow-up of the design on the back.

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather & Suede Jacket -- Back

Elvis gave this beautiful jacket to Shaun Nielson, a friend and singer in his back-up group The Voice, after a recording session in the Graceland jungle room. The jacket came with a letter of provenance from Nielsen and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. However, only one person bid on it and he got the shirt for just $4,000. If the seller had provided a photo of Elvis wearing it, the price probably have been double or more.

 

Blue Warm Up Suit with Red and White Stripes:

Blue Warm Up Suit With Red and White Stripes

Here’s another example of where a photo of Elvis wearing an item of clothing adds much to its value. He wore this warm up suit both at the racquet ball court and when he traveled from city to city on his plane the Lisa Marie. It is yet another item Elvis gave to Charlie Hodge. Of course it was accompanied by a letter of provenance from Charlie and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. However, the photo they offered was Elvis wearing a very similar warm-up suit.

Elvis Wearing Different Warm Up Suit

Close doesn’t count. The estimate was $4-6,000, but potential buyers must have been unimpressed, because not one even bid the $3,000 minimum.

 

Bell-Sleeved Shirts:

Elvis Presley's Bell Sleeved Shirts

This is a very informative comparison. Elvis owned these custom-made, pullover, V-neck shirts with large pointed collars and balloon sleeves in two colors, red and blue. He gave both to his close friend and valet Richard Davis one day when he was cleaning out his closet. Both had the same Elvis Presley custom made label and the IC Costume Company label. Both were accompanied by a letter of provenance from Richard Davis and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. Both had the same minimum bid of $3,000 and estimate of $4-6,000, yet one had no bids and the other had nine bids and went for $8,565. Can you guess why the difference?

Elvis Presley Wearing Royal Blue Bell-Sleeved Shirt

There was no picture of Elvis wearing the red one. Like I’ve said many times, if you want to get into collecting Elvis clothing, buy the items with photos of him wearing them.

 

To be fair, some other Elvis wardrobe offerings at this auction brought in pretty substantial prices. Let’s look at them.

 

Custom Made Tan Suede Trench Coat with Faux Fur Collar

Elvis Presley's Custom Made Tan Suede Trench Coat With Faux Fur Collar

This tan suede trench coat with large faux fur collar was custom made for Elvis at Lansky Bros. This is another prime piece of his wardrobe that Elvis gave to Shaun Nielson. It has the Lansky Bros. label, letter of provenance, certificate of authenticity, and the all-important picture of Elvis wearing it. The bidding topped out at $8,577.

Elvis wearingCustom Made Tan Suede Trench Coat With Faux Fur Collar

 

Kissin’ Cousins” Film Worn Cream Denim Jeans and Jacket

Elvis Presley's Kissin' Cousins Cream Denim Jeans and Jacket

Wardrobe items from Elvis’ movies always have accompanying photos of him wearing them. I’m not sure why people go after movie clothes rather than personal ones, but this one brought in a smooth $6,000, a bit below the estimate.

Elvis Wearing Kissin' Cousins Cream Denim Jeans and Jacket

 

Blue Suede Pants with Brown Suede Flames

Elvis presley's Blue Suede Pants With Brown Suede Flames

Back-up singer Shaun Nielson picked out some really cool stuff when Elvis let him rummage through his closet after that recording session at Graceland. Elvis purchased these dark blue, suede bell bottom pants with brown suede flame design down the legs from what the website refers to as his favorite store in Las Vegas, Suzy Creamcheese. This is an exception to the rule when it comes to providing a picture of Elvis wearing the clothing item up for bid. There was none, but the pants went for $7,786 anyway, well above the estimate.

 

“EP” Blue Pajama Top:

Elvis Presley's EP Blue Pajama Top

The story is the same on this blue Munsingwear pajama top with his initials embroidered in white over the chest pocket. Elvis gave the pajama top to his good friend, and some time hair stylist Patti Parry, the only “female member” of his Memphis Mafia inner circle of friends. Patti sometimes styled Elvis’ hair, including for his Aloha from Hawaii special. Elvis gave the pajama top to Patti at his home in California when day when she was cold and asked for something to put on to keep her warm. She felt he always kept his room too cold. There is no photo of him wearing the pajama top, but it still went for $7,797.

 

There was no Elvis jewelry offered at this Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction, but there is an impressive item a fan from Denmark gave to Charlie Hodge for his many years of devotion to Elvis.

Charlie Hodge Bracelet

There’s a lot of 14k gold in this bracelet and dozens of diamonds. What I like best is the different TCB design with a horizontal lightning bolt.

Charlie Hodge Bracelet - Close-up

If Elvis had owned this, it surely would have gone for big bucks. It has been appraised at $14,000, but no one bid the minimum of $4,000. Wouldn’t the gold and diamonds alone make it a good investment? The owner should try again at the next Auction at Graceland.

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis’ Fabulous Rings — Part 8

Elvis -- Diamond and Opal Ring - Side View

The past two Auctions at Graceland have been loaded with Elvis rings. The one on January 7 (during the celebration of Elvis’ birthday) had five rings, and the one on March 4 (during the opening celebration for Elvis Presley’s Memphis) had six. And one ring at first appeared to have been sold at both auctions, but a closer look revealed they are examples of Elvis purchasing multiples of the same or similar rings from his favorite jeweler, Lowell Hays. First, here are the rings sold in January.

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Diamond Cluster Cocktail Ring:

Elvis -- Diamond Cluster Cocktail Ring

The auction website had this to say about this gentleman’s cocktail ring:

Elvis’ star shone bright and part of that sparkling came from the jewels that adorned his fingers. The offered flower-shaped seven-diamond cluster ring was worn on stage by Elvis as documented in photographs from the period. The 10k gold ring weighs 6.5 grams with seven diamonds, one weighing 0.18 carat and measuring 3.5 mm while the remaining six each weigh 0.12 carat and measure 3 mm.

Although they mention Elvis was photographed wearing this ring, no picture was offered as verification. Instead, a Letter of Authenticity from Joe Esposito was included to prove Elvis actually wore the ring. But the LOA included something strange. Instead of saying Elvis gave him the ring, Joe states “This ring was given to a particular friend.” I wonder who that might have been, and why the name wasn’t given.

The ring fell a little short of the $10-15,000 estimate, going for $9,375 (which includes the 25% auction house fee).

 

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Gold and Diamond Lion Head Ring:

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Lion Head Ring

The next four rings were all originally given by Elvis to Charlie Hodge. It is part of a group of twelve rings Charlie sold to an unnamed man is the early 80s. Here is a portion of the man’s letter describing the event:

At one point in the very early 1980s there was an event in Antwerp, organized by the Belgian fan club, that featured Charlie Hodge as the headliner. He was one of the very first people who had known Elvis up close to come to Europe to speak at an Elvis event. I found Charlie in one of the hallways at one point and talked to him for about twenty minutes. He was a bit shocked to hear a teenager asking if he had any of Elvis’ stuff for sale, but I convinced him that I was very, very serious about expanding my Elvis collection with as many personal items as possible. He told me to visit him at his hotel the next morning.

He showed me a small black box full of rings, and said Elvis had asked him to hold on to them at some point in the early 70’s and then had never asked for them again afterwards. He said this kind of stuff would happen all the time, because Elvis would go through a lot of rings and other jewelry all the time. He asked me if there was any ring I liked best, that I was most interested in buying from him. I could not take my eyes off the box and immediately knew I wanted the entire thing! Within minutes we agreed on a price for all 12 rings that were in the box. I was short so I borrowed some money from my parents, and we left with a dozen of Elvis’ rings!

The gold and diamond lion head was the star of the Elvis jewelry at this auction. It blew past the estimate of $10-15 and topped out at $37,500 (including the auction fee).

 

White Gold and Star Sapphire Ring

Elvis -- White Gold and Star Sapphire Ring

This is another ring Elvis gave to Charlie Hodge. Elvis had a fascination with sapphire jewelry, perhaps because of the special significance of sapphires in numerology, of which Elvis was an enthusiast.

This 14 karat white gold ring has a black star sapphire, which weighs 14 grams, mounted above two sapphires each weighing 0.08 carat. While the estimate was for the same $10-15,000 as the lion head ring, it sold for only a fourth as much, topping out at $9,750.

 

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 $2-1/2 Indian Head Gold Coin Ring

Elvis -- 1911 Indian Head Gold Ring

Elvis had a number of rings made with gold coins. This one is a U.S. 1911 $2½ Indian Head gold coin. Rings of this ilk were worn during many of Elvis’ hallmark moments on stage and screen, including during the filming of the 1970 documentary film Elvis: That’s the Way It Is.

The coin is set in 17 grams of 14-karat gold. I’m surprised the ring did not blow past the estimate of $10-15,000. Somebody took it home for $9,375.

 

Gold and Diamond “Pyramid” Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond “Pyramid” Ring

This is the last of the four Elvis rings given to Charlie Hodge and sold at the January 7, 2017 auction. However, there are four more coming up in the March 4, 2017 auction.

Elvis showed this affinity for jewelry by wearing and gifting a hundreds of rings in the 1970s. This 14-karat gold men’s ring weighs approximately 9.5 grams and contains a 0.18 carat diamond.. The diamond is centered in a starburst, which is centered in a pyramid-shaped concentric surround. With just one small diamond, this ring brought in a modest $8,125.

 

The March 4, 2017, Auction at Graceland provided multiple phots of the rings, but no shots of Elvis wearing any of them.

 

Gold and Diamond Panther Head Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Panther Head Ring

This 14-karat yellow gold panther head ring has marquise-shaped diamond eyes that each weigh 0.18 carat, a diamond in the panther’s mouth that weighs 0.20. It was gifted by Elvis to Tom Hulett who, with Colonel Parker, managed Elvis’ live performances in the 1970s.

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Panther Head Ring - Front

The auction website had this to say:

The ring is a stunning example of the kind of dramatic touch that Elvis was always seeking in his wardrobe and especially in his jewelry. Elvis adored larger rings later in his career, and since the symbolism of the panther represents courage, valor and power, this ring would have been a perfect choice for Elvis in his career.

Like most of Elvis’ rings in this auction, it had an estimate of $10-15,000, and it did go for $15,000.

 

Diamond and Blue Sapphire Owl Ring

Elvis -- Diamond and Blue Sapphire Owl Ring

Back to the rings Elvis gave to Charlie Hodge. According to the auction website, the owl is known to symbolize wisdom and it was a favorite of Elvis’, who would wear jewelry adorned with the depiction of an owl. Of the eighty Elvis rings featured in these ElvisBlog posts, there have been three owl rings.

Elvis -- Diamond and Blue Sapphire Owl Ring - Front

This 14-karat yellow gold ring weighs 12 grams and has two round blue sapphire eyes which each measure 2.9 mm and a singular V-shaped brow of 15 1-point diamonds. This owl ring is 14K and has gold-feathered texture surrounding the eyes, brow and beak. It had the usual $10-15,000 estimate, and thirteen bids ran the price up to $13,750.

 

Gold and Diamond Cocktail Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Cocktail Ring

This ring is another that Elvis gave to Charlie Hodge. Remember the first ring in this post that Elvis gave to a “particular friend.”  Here it is again:

Elvis -- Diamond Cluster Cocktail Ring

And here is one given to Dave Hebler covered in Part 7 of this series:

Elvis Presley's Diamond Circular Ring from Julien's May 2016

The auction website stated: “When Elvis discovered a style he liked, he would often acquire several examples of the piece of jewelry.” This flower-shaped diamond cluster ring is certainly a good example of that. Who else but Elvis would buy rings in bulk to give to people?

The Charlie Hodge version on this ring is only 10-karat, but it contains seven champagne-colored diamonds, one weighing 0.12 carat and the remaining six each weighing 0.15 carat. The gold in the ring weighs 7 grams. Of the three versions shown here, the Charlie Hodge had the highest bid of $16,250.

 

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Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring

Elvis -- Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring

The auction website says, “The shimmering rays of the star effect in the star sapphire is called asterism, from the Latin word astrum, or “star.” Black star sapphires owe their stars to the included crystals of the shiny, dark mineral hematite.”

Elvis -- Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring - Side View

This diamond and black star sapphire ring was a favorite of Elvis’ and he was as known for wearing this style as he was for gifting it to friends and family. The men’s yellow 14-karat gold ring, with black star sapphire weighs 10 grams and is mounted in a nugget-style setting that is marked 14K and “Heirloom” on the interior band. The ring measures approximately size 10 with three diamonds each measuring 1.5 mm.

This diamond and black star sapphire ring was a favorite of Elvis’ and he was as known for wearing this style as he was for gifting it to friends and family. The men’s yellow 14-karat gold ring, with black star sapphire weighs 10 grams and is mounted in a nugget-style setting. The three diamonds each measure 1.5 mm. It sold for $11,875.

 

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Diamond and Opal Ring:

Elvis -- Diamond and Opal Ring

This large white opal ring got fourteen bids, the most of any of the rings in this auction. Bidders must have liked the big size of the emerald-cut opal (19.5 x 14.5 mm). There are 40 diamonds surrounding the center stone which each measure .01 mm. The 24k gold ring weighs 10.5 grams. Elvis gave it to his concert tour promoter Tom Hulett during the 1970s. Hulett certified that Elvis wore it both on and off stage. “Opal held a special meaning for Elvis and wore it often.”

Unlike the other rings in the auction, this one had a lower estimate of $8-10,000, but fourteen bids ran it up to $15,000.

 

Gold and Red Star Sapphire Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Red Star Sapphire Ring

I get a kick out of the auction website that says, “Star sapphires were one of Elvis’ favorites.” They have said that about black onyx, opal, diamonds, lions, tigers, owls, horse heads and many more. It seems like everything was an Elvis favorite.

Elvis -- Gold and Red Star Sapphire Ring - Side view

A star sapphire is named because it has needle-like inclusions that refract a star-shaped pattern in effect known as “asterism.” Star sapphires are typically blue—but this is the less common red star sapphire . This 14-karat white gold, oval cabochon red star sapphire measures weighs 9.5 grams. The star sapphire is mounted in a textured white gold setting with two channels down either side.

There must have been many bidders hoping to score an Elvis ring without paying big bucks, but fourteen bids ran the price up to $6,875. If the winner ever finds a photo of Elvis wearing it, it will be worth a lot more.

 

 

The next ElvisBlog post or the one after it will also cover Elvis items sold at an auction. But this is a unusual one that has a Smith & Wesson revolver expected to bring $160-225,000, a diamond and ruby studded sheriff’s badge ($50-75,000), plus Elvis’ contract to purchase Graceland, two more guns, and two Nazi knives. Stay tuned.

 

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Hard Rock Cafe Elvis Pins

Hard Rock Cafe Elvis Presley

It’s a safe bet that almost everyone reading this has visited a Hard Rock Cafe. Over the years, my wife and I have never failed to visit two, three, or more each vacation. She has purchased a Hard Rock T-shirt and pin at each one. They all celebrate the city where the cafe is located, but Hard Rock offers an incredible variety of pins. While researching for this post, I actually found a Hard Rock pin featuring cupcakes.

Of course, rock artist pins are a big deal, and Elvis shows up in hundreds of designs. Here are just a few I found of interest.

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Hard Rock Cafe LOS ANGELES – Hunka ELVIS Birthday DRAGON PIN:

LOS ANGELES 2009 Hunka ELVIS Birthday DRAGON PIN White Jumpsuit

From 2006. Hunka “Elvis” Birthday green & yellow Dragon wearing white jumpsuit and playing a mauve & red birthday cake shaped guitar. Limited edition of 300. Selling for $39.99.

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Hard Rock Cafe FOXWOODS ELVIS BURNING LOVE PIN:

2016 Hard Rock Cafe Foxwoods Pin Elvis Burnin' Love, Joe Petruccio Artwork

From 2016. Foxwoods Resort and Casino, Mashantucket, CT. The Joe Patruccio signature painting of Elvis, titled Burning Love. Limited edition of 300. Selling for $20.99.

 

ELVIS PRESLEY ebay Exclusive LICENSE PLATE Pin:

2001 ELVIS PRESLEY ebay Exclusive LICENSE PLATE PIN HRC 77

From 2001. Tennessee License Plate “Elvis 1” with the word Graceland and a gold record in the background. Limited Edition of 2500. Selling for $19.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe MEMPHIS — ELVIS PRESLEY Blue Suede Shoes Guitar Pin:

MEMPHIS 2001 ELVIS PRESLEY Blue Suede Shoes GUITAR PIN

From 2001. Guitar featuring the word Memphis and a pair of blue suede shoes. A rare silver base metal pin, although the number produced is not listed. Selling for $49.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe BOSTON — ELVIS 80TH BIRTHDAY PIN:

BOSTON 2015 ELVIS PRESLEY 80th Birthday PIN LOVE 1

From 2015. The Joe Petruccio signature ( barely visible because of glare) Elvis painting with the words LOVE and 80th Birthday. Limited edition of 300. Selling for $20.99

 

Hard Rock Cafe Staff Elvis TCB Bolt Gold Crown Pin Takin’ Care of Biz:

STAFF Elvis TCB Bolt Gold Crown PIN OLD VERSION Takin Care of Biz

Not much explanation given about this one except that it is the “old Style: Apparently it was not sold to the public but distributed to cafe staff. So there must be a lot of them out there. Selling for $14.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe MIAMI — ELVIS PRESLEY “50 Years of Rock” Pin:

Hard Rock Cafe MIAMI 2004 ELVIS PRESLEY 50 Years of Rock PIN

From 2004. Issued to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of “That’s Alright, Mama,” considered by Elvis fans the Birth of Rock and Roll. Limited edition of 200. Selling for $39.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe MEMPHIS — Elvis Presley Series Pin with Gold Frame:

Hard Rock Cafe MEMPHIS 2013 Elvis Presley Series PIN King GOLD FRAME

From 2103. More Joe Petruccio artwork – Elvis’ profile with the light shining on him during a performance. Limited addition of 400. Selling for $29.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe Elvis Presley Signature Series Pin – Rags Riches Rock Royalty:

Hard Rock Cafe Elvis Presley Signature Series Pin - Rags Riches Rock Royalty

From 2002. Lots of stuff here. Elvis in black, Elvis in white jumpsuit, real young Elvis, his name, the years of his life, and the text, “From Rags to Royalty to Everlasting Fame. One of the largest pins offered at 2” x 1-3/4”. No mention of it being a limited edition. Selling for $24.

 

Hard Rock Cafe Online Elvis Presley Series PIN:

2002 Elvis Presley Signature Series PIN Rags Riches Rock Royalty

From 2013. Another big one, and another Joe Petruccio drawing. A very limited edition of just 200. Selling for $24.99.

 

Hard Rock Hotel Tampa Elvis Presley Pin “Take My Hand:

TAMPA 2014 Elvis Presley PIN Take My Hand

From 2014. Not one of Joe Petruccio’s better Elvis images. But a big pin with the familiar ELVIS in red letters sign. Limited edition of 300. Selling for $24.99.

 

Hard Rock Cafe BILOXI 2012 Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special:

Hard Rock Cafe BILOXI 2012 Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special

From 2012. The description of this one is a little confusing. I believe this is the front of the pin. And you can open it up like a book and see this:

Hard Rock Cafe BILOXI 2012 Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special - Open

Limited edition of 500. Selling for $39.99.

 

Elvis Presley 1977-2002 25th Anniversary Hard Rock Cafe Five Pin Boxed Set:

ELVIS PRESLEY 1977-2002 25th Anniversary 5 LAPEL PIN Boxed Set

From 2002. Five small pins in a 6”x 7” display box. Limited edition of 5000 (limited?). Selling for $49.99.

 

For some reason, Hard Rock Cafe Elvis pins don’t seem to show up at the Elvis auctions. But if you might be interested, there are tons of them available here.

Hard Rock Cafe on Fire

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Artwork on Foreign Posters for Elvis Movies

Hertitage Ultimate Elvis Auction PosterHertitage Ultimate Elvis Auction 2012

This Heritage auction had over 300 Elvis items up for bidding during Elvis Week 2012. They even commissioned their own Elvis drawing to publicize the event. It’s easy to imagine that the folks at EPE checked it out and realized this was popular with the fans and a good way to make money. So, Graceland got into the Elvis auction business, and Heritage hasn’t been back to Memphis since.

The Auction at Graceland March 4, 2017

Yet another Auction at Graceland was held this weekend, purposely scheduled to compliment to opening of Elvis Presley’s Memphis. In the past eight months, there have been three other of these –coupled with Elvis Week, the opening of the Guesthouse at Graceland, and Elvis’ birthday celebration. The proliferation of theses auctions at Graceland have completely sucked the Elvis market away from other companies that present entertainment memorabilia auctions.

 

Elvis Girl Happy Romanian Movie Poster

For some reason, the latest Auction at Graceland has over 40 Elvis movie posters, and most of them are from foreign countries. Like this Romanian poster for Girl Happy. I thought it was interesting that they chose to show Shelly Fabares doing her drunken striptease dance and Elvis and the guys looking through the blinds of the motel room window.  Almost looks like they are in jail.

 

Elvis The Trouble with Girls Belgian Movie Poster

Most of the foreign Elvis movie posters had artwork rather than screen shots from the film. This one above from Belgium for The Trouble with Girls has a terrific drawing. But most of the others were a little off the mark. (Some were off by a lot.)

Elvis Easy Come, Easy Go Australian Movie Poste

Like this Australian poster for Easy Come, Easy Go. Check out the close-up.

Does this look like Elvis to you?

 

Elvis It Happened at the World’s Fair Spanish Movie Poster

This poster from Spain for It Happened at the World’s Fair has both a good Elvis image and a bad one.

Elvis It Happened at the World’s Fair Spanish Movie Poster - Close-up 1

This is pretty good.

Elvis It Happened at the World’s Fair Spanish Movie Poster - Close-up 2

This is definitely not a good reproduction of Elvis.

 

Elvis Kissin’ Cousins Italian Movie Poster

This Italian poster for Kissin’ Cousins also has two drawings of Elvis.

Elvis Kissin’ Cousins Italian Movie Poster - Close-up

Soldier Elvis looks a little better than mountain-man Elvis.

 

Elvis Roustabout Argentinean Movie Poster

This Argentinean poster for Roustabout is the first of two showing Elvis on a motor cycle.

lvis Roustabout Argentinean Movie Poster - Close-up

Doesn’t quite cut it. For me anyway.

 

Elvis Clambake Belgian Movie Poster

And this is a Belgian poster for Clambake.

Elvis Clambake Belgian Movie Poster - Cl

It’s fair, I guess. But what is she wearing? Is that supposed to be a helmet?

 

Elvis Jailhouse Rock Australian Movie Poster

This is a better Elvis on an Australian poster for Jailhouse Rock. At least they did a terrific job on the hair. While the movie was in black and white, most American posters were color. I guess the Aussies thought it was artsy to do the poster in B & W also.

 

Elvis Easy Come, Easy Go German Movie Poster

Here’s another poster for Easy Come, Easy Go, this time from Germany.

Elvis Easy Come, Go German Movie Poster - Close-Up

This guy sort of reminds me Elvis. I don’t like the brown smudge on his cheek and chin.

 

Elvis Speedway Turkish One Sheet Movie Poster

Elvis movies even played in Turkey. The artist for Speedway liked Elvis skinny and Nancy Sinatra buxom.

Elvis Speedway Turkish One Sheet Movie Poster - Close up

Handsome guy. Sort of looks like Elvis.

 

Elvis Fun in Acapulco Australian One Sheet Movie Poster

Another Australian poster. The Elvis image this time isn’t near as good as their one for Jailhouse Rock.

Elvis Fun in Acapulco Australian One Sheet Movie Poster - Close-up

Sorry. Not so much.  Looks like he has a knife wound on his cheek.

 

 

Elvis Roustabout Belgian Movie Poster

Let’s end with a good one. This is a Belgian poster for Roustabout.

Elvis Roustabout Belgian Movie Poster - Close-up

Looks like Elvis to me.

 

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A Look at More of Elvis’ Wardrobe

Elvis Presley - Blue Suede Jacket

It’s been some time since the last ElvisBlog post on items of Elvis’ wardrobe. Not that much has been offered for sale at auction recently, but by combining those at the last three Auctions at Graceland we get a nice selection.

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Blue Suede Jacket:

Elvis Presley wearing blue suede jacket

The first picture above shows the coat, and the second one is a long shot of Elvis wearing it over his shoulders. It’s too bad there isn’t a close-up picture of Elvis with it on, because it would made an excellent addition to the portfolio of Elvis as a fashion icon. This luxurious blue-suede jacket was custom made for him at a Hollywood shop called Hell Bent for Leather. It features zipper pocket and a front tie through two grommets. It sold for $4,750 including the 25% auction premium.

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Rainfall” Pattern, Button-Down, Dress Shirt:

Elvis Presley “Rainfall” Pattern, Button-Down, Dress Shirt

Elvis gave many items of his personal wardrobe to his hair stylist Homer “Gill” Gilleland, and most of these have now found their way to auction. The website said this about shirts like this with polyester fabric and bold patterns utilizing abstract themes. “They were all the rage from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s as styles moved from psychedelic and bled into disco. The offered garment most likely emanates from the latter end of that period, with its burgeoning collar and cuffs, use of earth tones and kickin’ rainfall pattern.”

Close-up of Elvis Presley Rainfall Pattern Shirt

The website also says, “few have the strongly distinct look of “Elvis” that this shirt does.” Bidders agreed and someone shelled out $5,250 to buy it.

 

Brown-and-White Diamond Pattern Shirt:

Elvis Presley - Brown-and-White Diamond Pattern Button-Down Shirt Gifted to Stamps Member Larry Strickland

We’ll look at several shirts in this post, but this one has an especially interesting. Remember how it was difficult to get Elvis into the recording studio in 1976, so they finally set up a session in the Jungle Room at Graceland. After a day of recording, Charlie Hodge told the assembled musicians and back-up singers that Elvis was redoing his entire wardrobe and wanted the guys to come upstairs and pick what they wanted.

This shirt was one of several items Elvis offered to Larry Strickland, a member of the Stamps gospel group. In his accompanying letter, Larry recalls the “pretty surreal” experience of standing in Elvis’ bedroom closet with him having Elvis hold his own clothes up to Larry as if to see if they were a good fit.

This brown-and-white diamond patterned shirt features a high Napoleonic collar and the elastic bicep band that cinched to create a flounced effect to the sleeve. In the ’70s Elvis had several of the same style custom made in varying patterned fabrics. It sold for $4,000.

 

Blue Munsingwear Pajama Top:

Elvis Presley - Blue Munsingwear Pajama Top

Sometimes, interesting items are included with Elvis’ clothes offered at auction. Elvis gave this pajama top to Sheila Ryan, whom Elvis dated for a while in 1975 after Linda Thompson. Sheila was an October 1973 Playboy cover girl, and was introduced to him by Joe Esposito in Las Vegas.

Elvis Presley and Shiela Ryan on Movie Mirror Cover

After her time with Elvis, Sheila Ryan dated actor James Caan and later married him. So this issue of Movie Mirror was included for some reason. Don’t you like the subtitle: Elvis Wins in Hollywood Love Swap. The pajama top attracted 17 bids and went for $3,125

 

White Factor/Rothschild Pajama Top:

Elvis Presley - White Factor-Rothschild Pajama Top Given to Girlfriend Shelia Ryan

This is another pajama top that Elvis gave to Sheila Ryan. I wonder what happened to the bottoms. They probably stayed in Elvis’ bureau drawers. He would certainly have preferred his ladies to wear just the tops.

This one just doesn’t have the Elvis cool factor of the previous blue one, and it brought only $2,375 at auction.

 

White Button-Down Shirt with Blue Circles Pattern:

elvis Presley -White Button-Down Shirt with Blue Circles Pattern

This white shirt with blue concentric circle pattern was custom designed by Bill Belew, known for creating Elvis’ famous jumpsuits. But he also designed both performance and personal wardrobes for Elvis. This shirt was made in the summer of 1968 after the production of seven or eight outfits for Elvis’ TV Special, the most famous being the black leather outfit.

This shirt has the high Napoleonic collar Elvis favored in his jumpsuits and elastic at the biceps and wrists. Like almost all Elvis clothing that comes up for sale, it is one he gave away. The lucky recipient was uncle Vester Presley. Bidding on it topped out at $3,375.

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Zig-Zag Design Shirt:

Elvis Presley - Button Down Shirt Gifted to Stamps Member Larry Strickland During 1976 Jungle Room Recording Sessions

The auction website states, “Men’s fashion trends of the 1970s included glam rock and disco styles, with Elvis always being at the forefront as this groovy shirt exemplifies.” The black, brown, yellow and white patterned shirt has the high Napoleonic collar that Elvis favored and the flounced puff sleeves with elastic at the bicep like we have seen before. This was the second Elvis shirt in the auction that he gave to Stamps member Larry Strickland.

He never wore it and kept it in storage for years until his wife, Naomi Judd, was selling her stage clothes for charity. Larry decided to include the shirts in the benefit auction. I don’t know what it sold for then, but in 2017, it brought $4,400.

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White Munsingwear Pajamas:

Elvis Presley Owned and Worn Pajamas – Found Among his Personal Effects Left on the Lisa Marie

Now we have a full set of pajamas. Elvis never gave the top away to a girlfriend, but there is a good story to tell, anyway. The pajamas were recovered from the Lisa Marie airplane, along with a number of other personal items, after he passed away in August 1977. The pajamas were offered with a letter from Richard Grob, one of Elvis’ bodyguards from 1967 through 1977, in which he details the circumstances surrounding acquiring the pajamas from the plane:

“This was owned and worn by Elvis Presley. Shortly after August 16, 1977, when Elvis Presley, passed away, Vernon Presley, Elvis father, asked me to go to the airport and check the Lisa Marie, Elvis’ airplane. Vernon asked me to remove any items on the aircraft that maybe were left by Elvis when the plane was last used. I went through everything in the main cabin as well as the cargo areas below, in the aircraft belly. The result of my search produced weapons, clothing, papers and other items. Some of these items I was very familiar with since I was present when Elvis acquired them and I knew he did not wish to take them to Graceland so his father would not know about them. (Editor’s note: what do you think they might have been?) Upon completing my search I informed Vernon of all the items I located, and he told me to keep them. These items have been in my possession.”

“Elvis would wear these pajamas on the aircraft while traveling after a concert. Elvis would be hot and sweaty from the show and would strip out of his jump suit he wore during the show and put the pajamas on to rest. When we were about to land he would change from the pajamas into other clothes to leave the aircraft. Elvis last wore these pajamas on the evening of June 26, 1977 when he left Indianapolis Indiana after doing his last show and was flying back to Memphis.”

Only two bids were received, but the pajamas brought in $4,200.

 

“EP” Monogrammed Dress Shirt:

Elvis Presley EP Monogrammed Dress Shirt

This is another article of clothing that Elvis gave to hairstylist Homer Gilleland. This blow-up shows the EP monogram on the left breast pocket.

Elvis Presley EP Monogrammed Dress Shirt Close Up

This is a rather plain shirt compared to most that we have seen, and the condition is questionable. The shirt has moderate wear and has one button missing from the back of the collar. There is some mild but extensive staining on several areas of the shirt. The collar tag has been removed, leaving a small tear in its place. In spite of this, it still sold for $4,000.

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Blue Dress Shirt from The Trouble with Girls:

Elvis Presley Screen-Worn Blue Dress Shirt from The Trouble with Girls

While the other shirts we looked all sold for $4-5,000, this one topped out at $13,750. The others were shirts Elvis actually owned, not part of a movie wardrobe. You would think his personal shirts would be the most sought after. So, why so much for this one. My guess is because there are numerous screen shots available of him wearing it in the movie.

Elvis Presley and Marlyn Mason in The Trouble with Girls

It seems to me that the value of any Elvis shirt is greatly enhanced by a photograph of him wearing it. None of the other shirts had any collaborating photographs. They were accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated. There’s no way that’s as cool as a sharp color photo.

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Black Shirt, Black Pants and Gold Metal Belt Ensemble:

Elvis Presley Black pants and Shirt, Gold Belt

I really like the description on the auction website: “Elvis owned a lot of clothing during his lifetime, but few outfits scream ELVIS like the offered trio of a jet-black shirt, pants and metallic gold belt.” It came with a number of photographs of him wearing the outfit, but they are long distance snapshots that don’t show Elvis or the clothes off to best advantage.

Elvis Presley Gold Metal Belt

Elvis gave the outfit to Harold Loyd, his first cousin on his mother’s side. Loyd worked as a nightshift gate guard at Graceland until Elvis’ death.

In addition to the letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated, there was also a letter written by Loyd on TCB stationary. Unfortunately, it contained many spelling errors, including short words like about, his, the, and worst of all, shirt. He left out the R, resulting the funniest authenticating document I’ve ever read.

The good news is that the three-piece outfit sold for $37,500

 

Hawaiian-Style Sport Coat:

Elvis Presley Hawaiian-Style Sport Coat

As much as the previous black pants and shirt outfit screamed ELVIS, this sport coat seems to scream NOT-ELVIS. He bought it off the rack in Honolulu in March 1961, when filming Blue Hawaii.

It is yet another item Elvis gave to his hairstylist Homer “Gil” Gilleland. Since it shows almost no wear, Elvis probably realized his mistake buying it when he got back to Memphis, and quickly gave it away. It went for $6,550 at auction, and I wonder what the price might have been if there had been a photo of him wearing it included. If there had been one, it definitely would not have made the portfolio of Elvis as a fashion icon.

 

 

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