Category Archives: AUCTIONS / MEMORABILIA

Special Elvis Collectibles at the Last Auction at Graceland

1970 Elvis Presley Black-and-White Souvenir Poster

It’s been five weeks since the last Auction at Graceland, so I want to do a post on three items that interest me because of the stories behind them. We’ll save the rings, clothing, and other goodies until a later time.

 

Dixie Locke and Elvis 1955

You have probably seen this photo before, and you might know the girl with Elvis is Dixie Locke. Five items from her personal collection showed up for sale at the January 6 Auction at Graceland. The auction website does a great job describing the relationship between Elvis and Dixie:

It was January 1954 and Elvis’ family was relatively new to Memphis. Elvis attended the First Assembly of God church to hear the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, who were members of the congregation and of whom Elvis was a fan. It didn’t take long for Elvis to be noticed by a group of girls, among them the lovely Dixie Locke. Unbeknownst to Elvis, they admired him from afar and hatched a plan to discuss their weekend plans within his earshot in hopes he would come to the Rainbow Rollerdome. And in fact, he did not disappoint. When he showed up at the skating rink, Dixie immediately spotted him and skated over to introduce herself. He knew just who she was and the two talked all evening, with Elvis driving her home at the end of the night.

A courtship followed and the two began dating. Elvis was about four years Dixie’s senior so it required some interrogating questions from both sets of parents before they all blessed the relationship. In the summer of 1954, Dixie and Elvis parted company for the first time when Dixie’s family left Memphis for a Florida vacation. While they were away, Elvis began early recordings in Sun Studio, and Dixie returned to him to hear his surprise as he was making radio airtime. The two dated for about two years, with Elvis taking Dixie to her high school prom in 1955 [as pictured above].

Elvis Kissing Dixie Locke - May 6, 1955

Elvis and Dixie smooching on prom night

Dixie and Elvis were like any normal young couple dating in the 1950s: their outings consisted of going to the movies, taking drives, going to the local canteen and visiting each other at their respective homes just to play games or sit on the front porch and chat. It was later that fall that the two drifted their separate ways. Dixie has been quoted describing the departure as, “It was kind of a natural thing. His career was going in one direction, and I didn’t feel that I could be a part of it.”

Okay, now check out this photograph. Please ignore the diagonal text of Graceland Auctions obscuring it. That was put there for reasons that will soon be apparent.

1954 Snapshot of Elvis Presley with Girlfriend Dixie Locke and Her Family

Again, from the auction website:

The charming black-and-white snapshot, emanating directly from Dixie’s personal collection, depicts her large family gathering on the lawn for the going-away party for her sister, who was moving to California to be married.

Elvis is pictured in the front row with argyle socks and slicked back hair. The other people consist of Dixie and her parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncles and lots of cousins. The photo is also notated in pencil with the date “6/54” which would have been just before Dixie left on that Florida vacation and Elvis’ career began heating up. The snapshot measures 3 3/8 by 3 3/16 inches.

1954 Close-up of Elvis Presley in Snapshot with Girlfriend Dixie Locke and Her Family

Blow up of Elvis in the Dixie Locke family photograph.

Here’s why I find this photograph so interesting. It had 60 bids at the auction, running the price up to $8,750. I don’t recall any other item at the Auctions at Graceland having that much spirited bidding. So, what caused this interest? I asked Jeff Marren, the Consignment Director at the auction about this photo plus another one from Dixie Locke, and this was his reply:

“Those two offerings, specifically, were extremely strong prices, obviously, but not total surprises from the standpoint that they turned out to be photos that had never been seen. When we brought them to auction, we were almost certain they had never seen the light of day, coming directly from the Dixie Locke Emmons collection. The market is very strong for unpublished photos of Elvis.”

Whoever the high bidder was, he now owns a photo of Elvis that other fans have never seen. It will not join the millions of Elvis pictures on the internet. Nobody will be downloading copies of it. And think of the timing. It was snapped just a few weeks before his first recording session at Sun Records and the start of his career. No wonder there were 60 bids on it.

 

Elvis Presley Inscribed Snapshot - Given to His Little Sister-in-Law - From the Dixie Locke Collection

This is the other photo Mr. Marren referred to. According to Dixie’s accompanying letter, the image of Elvis on this photo postcard was taken at Blue Light Studio in Memphis.

Blue Light Studio

Look at the words along the top of the building. That is Lansky Bros. Men’s Shop. How natural would it be for Elvis to have a postcard photo made at a studio next to Lansky’s, a place he frequently visited.

Anyway, this Elvis photo had 51 bids and topped out at $9,375.

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Elvis Presley Inscribed Snapshot - Given to His Little Sister-in-Law

Elvis inscribed the back side of the black-and-white photo postcard in pencil to “My (high) tempered little sister-in-law” for Dixie’s sister. Elvis and Dixie had talked seriously of marriage during their relationship, and at the time, the two were sure that marriage was in their future. Thus, the reference to his little sister-in-law.

The photo had at one time been trimmed, cutting off part of Elvis’ inscription. The auction website sums up things nicely: “This early and delightfully playful keepsake captures the youthful star and his adoration for his young love and her family. The photo measures 4 7/8 by 3 1/3 inches.”

Over the years, I have reported on many autographed Elvis photographs at auctions, but I don’t remember another bringing in over $9,000. Looks like it makes a big difference if a photo is one of a kind and has never been reproduced on the internet.

 

The Auction at Graceland website had a quite detailed and interesting background story about a 24” by 36” Elvis concert poster.

Scotty Moore invited Elvis to join his band, The Starlite Wranglers, in July of 1954, and Elvis played just two songs with the group in front of a live audience for the first time at the Bon Air in Memphis on July 17. Just three short weeks later on August 7, Scotty, Bill and Elvis break from The Starlite Wranglers for their first real performance together at the Eagle’s Nest in Memphis. The Eagle’s Nest was a nightclub that was located above the changing room of the restaurant and pool at the Clearpool complex located on Lamar Avenue.

Eagles Nest above Swimming Club

The Clearpool was an entertainment complex that catered to a country and western swing crowd. The house band was led by Memphis DJ “Sleepy-Eyed” John Lepley, and at one time or another, the house band members included Jim Stewart, Stax Records founder, and Jack Clement, producer at Sun. Elvis performed here 16 times in 1954 before the club fell victim to fire in the late 1960s. This venue was one of the first paying gigs for Elvis and his very first consistent venue at the birth of his career. It was at the Eagle’s Nest that Elvis initially gained notoriety among the teen crowd, who would rush in from the pool to hear Elvis sing and then return outside when the next act came on. This is also where Elvis’ own style began to flourish and he was recognized as something out of the ordinary.

1954 Elvis Presley One of the Earliest Known Concert Performance Posters - Eagle’s Nest

Offered is a hand-painted, cardboard poster that hung at the entrance to the Eagle’s Nest and touts “Memphis’ own Elvis Presley with Scotty & Bill.” The poster is signed and inscribed “I spent a week there one night / Scotty Moore / DJ Fontana” in white ink on the black background.

The poster lists three songs: “Heart Breaker,” “That’s All Right,” and “Good Rockin.” Elvis had released “That’s All Right” and “Good Rockin” with Sun by September of 1954, while he had been using “Heart Breaker” in his set before recording it as “You’re a Heartbreaker” in December 1954. As Elvis’ performances on the Louisiana Hayride began in mid-October, taking his career into the direction of concert performances at other venues in various cities, his appearances at the Eagle’s Nest begin to wane. Elvis’ last two shows at the Eagle’s Nest were on November 17 and December 10, when, given the songs advertised, this poster was likely used. Since no specific date is listed, enabling the poster to be used more than once, this custom example may have even been used to advertise the appearances on both of those nights.

The auction website traces the ownership of the posters over the years, and one owner, Brian Beirne, a famed Los Angeles radio personality, purchased it in the late 80s or early 90s. He then got Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana to autograph it, approximately 35 years after they had performed there.

Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana autographs on Eagles Nest poster

Mr. Beirne says, “I consider this poster one of the true Holy Grails of concert posters.” The auction website said, “This amazingly rare survivor from the club where Elvis’ legend was launched perfectly captures the spirit of the scene from one of the most formative years in Elvis’ career. One of the earliest known Elvis concert posters.”

Bidders certainly must have been impressed, as it sold for $18,750. Wow

 

Here is one last auction item that has an interesting story. You can’t tell from this picture or the one at the beginning of this article that they are actually posters. Big ones – 22 inches by 28 inches. Hey, ladies. Wouldn’t you love to have one of these posters of Elvis hanging on a wall in your house?

1970 Elvis Presley Black-and-White Souvenir Poster 2

The auction website describes them:

“The Colonel would create generic posters of Elvis that could be altered with snips and venue information and used to promote stops on Elvis Presley’s 1970 tour. These generic posters are few and far between, especially in such an exemplary state of preservation as this one. In true Colonel style, the larger-than-life, bewitching image of Elvis graces the full size of the entire poster. This unusual and rare example with printed Elvis inscription …. is very difficult to come by.”

These full-face posters were given by Tom Diskin [Col. Parker’s assistant] to a fan(fans ?) after a Sept 1970 St. Louis, MO. concert appearance.

I think some folks got very good deals on these posters. The one with the brooding Elvis face went for $687, and the one with the microphone at his mouth went for $812.

 

It’s less than five months until the next Auction at Graceland. I can’t wait to see what new special things they will come up with.

© 2018 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets # 20

Hanging Elvis

I can’t believe it’s been three years since I last posted Elvis Mini-Nuggets. These are always kind of fun. Someday when I retire from ElvisBlog, I might get a Facebook page and do nothing but Elvis Mini-Nuggets. Maybe a new picture every day with comments. I’ve got like a million of them in my files. Anyway, here’s an extra-long mini-nugget post to make up for not having one last weekend.

 

Expressions of Sympathy and Encouragement for My Wife:

Get well wishes from Sweden

After posting a short message about my wife’s lung surgery, twenty-two kind comments came in from ElvisBlog readers. In addition to the one above from Maggie in Sweden, there were also messages from France, England and Canada. My wife and I appreciate all the concern and encouragement from you readers. She is doing okay in a long, slow recovery.

 

International Readers of ElvisBlog:

Top Ten ElvisBlog Countries

Speaking of ElvisBlog readers from different countries, here is the Top Ten. It still freaks me out to realize that only 57% of you readers are from the U.S. If you compare the relative populations of some of these other countries versus the U.S., ElvisBlog is doing really good there.

 

Where’s Elvis?

 

Elvis Army Haircut on Wall in George Jones' Home Barbershop

If you study this picture, you will probably recognize George Jones in the photo top right. This is the room in his Franklin, Tennessee home where he got his haircuts. Look closely at the framed photo to the right of the window. It is Elvis getting his Army haircut. Here’s a bigger view of it.

Elvis Getting His Army haircut.

Alert ElvisBlog reader Chris Iroler spotted the Elvis Army haircut picture while watching a uTube video on Jones’ house: (Click here to see). Chris told me about it in a blog Comment, and he advised to go to 5:56 on the video if I didn’t want to read the whole thing. When George Jones died five years ago, I did a post about the connection between him and Elvis. Click here to read it.

 

More Info on Elvis Birthday Cake Photos:

Elvis Birthday Cake During King Creole 1958

Two weeks ago, I posted six photos of Elvis eating cake. Alert ElvisBlog readers commented with more information on several of them. Like the one above where Diana from Long Island wrote:

“I enjoyed the birthday scrapbook! Re: the one with Dolores Hart- I too always thought it was a birthday cake but recently learned from an authority that it was a movie wrap party after King Creole to say goodbye to Elvis before the army, and the cake had a guitar and soldier peeling potatoes and said We Love Elvis on it.”

 

Elvis Cutting Cake at his 27th Birthday 1962

Sharys Wheeler wrote:

“The picture at the Sahara was of Elvis and Milton Prell, owner of the Sahara and a friend of the Colonel.”

 

Feeding Birthday cake to Priscilla in 1960

Sandy Van Horn wrote:

“About the picture of Elvis giving Priscilla a bite of birthday cake. If the year was 1960, and it was a birthday cake, think it had to be Elvis’ Jan. 8th birthday as he left active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on March 5, 1960. Believe Priscilla’s birthday is May 24th.”

 

So, How Did the Elvis Auction Go?

You might remember that we looked at a dozen Elvis items that failed to sell in a 1999 auction and seemingly got stuck in storage until the January 6, 2018 Auction at Graceland. I compared the expected prices then and now, and made comments on several of the items. Here’s a look at how things went.

16mm Film and Acetates of Movie Songs from Love Me Tender:

Elvis Presley 16mm Film of Love Me Tender and Acetate

1999 estimate was $5,000-7,000; current was $1,500-2,500. It sold for $5,000. I wonder why it didn’t go the first time.

 

Original Screen Door from Graceland:

Original Screen Door from Gracelsnd

The 2018 estimate was $1,500 – $2,500, and I said, “Sorry, if I had that kind of money to spend on Elvis collectibles, I’d get something besides a screen door.” But my friend Troy Yeary from the eclectic blog pastimescapes.com had this comment:

“Interesting piece, Phil. Thanks! I don’t know, if I had money to blow, I would seriously consider buying something like a screen door from Graceland. Just think how many times Elvis walked through or slammed that door? He probably interacted with it more than just about any other item in the auction.

Well, lots of folks must have agreed with Troy. Elvis’ screen door had 18 bids and sold for $2,500. Good call, Troy.”

 

Elvis’ Massive Wooden Desk from His Home Office in Palm Springs:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Massive Wooden Desk from His Home Office in Palm Springs

1999 estimate was $40-50,000, no bidders. 2018 estimate was $10-20,000, and I said I thought they would get it. Well, not really, just $7,500.

 

Elvis’ Portable Sauna:

Elvis Presley’s “Scandinavian Products” Portable Sauna - Open

1999 estimate was $8-10,000. 2018 estimate was $3-5000. I said I thought it was weird. Bidders agreed, nobody would spring for the minimum bid of $1,500.

 

Elvis’ Globe-Shaped Wooden Bar from His Beverly Hills Home:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Globe-Shaped Free-Standing Wooden Bar from His Beverly Hills Home - Closed

1999 estimate was $4-5,000. 2018 estimate was $1,500 to $2,500. I predicted it would sell for a good bit more than that. Good call, Phil. It had 38 bids and went for $22,500. Wow.

 

Elvis’ Leather Rocking Chair from the Jungle Room:

Elvis Presley’s Leather Rocking Chair from the Jungle Room

999 estimate was $20-30,000. 2018 estimate was $10-15,000. I said I didn’t think it would sell. Bad call, Phil. It went for $17,500.

 

Original Acetate of Elvis Singing Beatles Songs “Hey Jude” and “Something”:

Elvis Presley Original Acetate of Beatles Songs “Hey Jude” and “Something”

1999 estimate was $650-750. 2018 estimate was $1-2,000. I predicted it would sell for that much or more. Another good call as it had 34 bids and went for $4,000.

 

Signed Title to Elvis’ Circle G Ranch:

Elvis Presley Signed Title to His Circle G Ranch

1999 estimate was $13-15,000. 2018 estimate was $10-20,000. I didn’t make a prediction, but hoped it would go high. It didn’t excite folks drawing just 2 bids and a final price of $6,250.

So, I blew it on the screen door, the desk, and the Jungle Room rocking chair. I had it right on the desk, the sauna, the globe-shaped bar, and the acetate of Beatles songs. I’ll take that.

 

Sincere Thanks for Your Support:

 

Big E and the SANTA MAN Part 2

This was the third year I’ve done pre-Christmas promotion of my book BIG E and the SANTA MAN. It was the best year yet, and I really thank you.

My one disappointment was that I didn’t get Part 2 ready to promote until late November. Next fall I will push it hard, just like the original. As a preview, here is a review by Memphis Music on Amazon:

“I enjoyed this book as it can be read by itself, or as the continuation of the first book. As a lifetime dog lover, I also enjoyed the addition of a good ole hound dog! Kids and adults will enjoy this tale of two beloved icons; Elvis and Santa and their group of special friends. Phil Arnold’s descriptive writing make you feel a part of this adventure where good versus evil comes alive again to save Christmas. At this great price go ahead and get the first book too!

The review gave the book five stars. Every review on both books has been five stars. I’ll be reminding of you about that again later in the year.

 

 

©  2018    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis Collectibles that Failed to Sell in 1999 Get a Second Chance

Catelog - The Archives of Graceland Auction 1999

This is the 296-page catalog of the 1999 Archives of Graceland auction. It was held in the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, and the auction lots were open for public viewing for ten days. Admission was $5, or you could buy the catalog for $40 and get in free. I happened to be in Las Vegas at that time for a convention, and I gladly forked out the $5 to spend three hours looking at all the Elvis goodies while my wife played the slots. Years later I bought the catalog for a much reduced price from a vendor at Elvis Week.

Poster for the Archives of Graceland Auction

This is a very rare hotel poster (covered in plastic) announcing the Archives of Graceland auction. It probably has some collectible value of its own now.

It appears that not everything at this auction sold, and now they are back nineteen years later at the January 6, 2018 Auction at Graceland.

The Auction at Graceland Jan 6, 2018

I guess these items have been in storage in the Graceland archives all this time. But, with all the expanded exhibit space now at the Elvis the Entertainer Career Museum and five other exhibits at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, you’d think they would hang on to these items. However, they are for sale at auction again, and we will take a look at most of these repeat items. It’s interesting to compare the original 1999 estimates with those for 2018. Because the current estimates are all lower, we can assume the items were over-evaluated the first time, and nobody would pay that much for them.

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Love Me Tender 16mm Film and Acetates of Movie Songs:

Elvis Presley 16mm Film of Love Me Tender and Acetate

This is Elvis’ personal copy of the film in three metal reels and the original brown-strapped shipping case. The smaller case contains his personal acetates of the four songs in the soundtrack: “We’re Gonna Move,” “Love Me Tender,” “Poor Boy,” and “Let Me.” There were actually three versions of the title track “Love Me Tender.”

Address Label 16mm Film of Love Me Tender and Acetate

Back in 1999, the estimate was $5,000-7,000. Now it is just $1,500-2,500. But what if one of those unused versions of “Love Me Tender” is substantially different and has not already been released? It could be licensed for enough to cover the cost of the whole lot.

There are three other lots containing film reels and song acetates that also carried over from the 1999 auction: G.I. Blues, Kid Gallahad, and Live A Little, Love A Little. Their original estimates were less than Love Me Tender, but today they are the same. It seems unlikely that they will bring in as much as Elvis’ first film.

 

Original Screen Door from Graceland:

Original Screen Door from Gracelsnd

Can you believe it? I guess they figure anything related to Elvis has appeal to collectors, including this screen door from the back entrance to Graceland. It has presumably been in storage since 1967 when Elvis replaced with an ironwork door (still there today).

Back in 1999, the estimate was $3,000-4,000, but today it is $1,500 – $2,500. Sorry, if I had that kind of money to spend on Elvis collectibles, I’d get something besides a screen door.

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Elvis Presley’s Personal Massive Wooden Desk from His Home Office in Palm Springs:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Massive Wooden Desk from His Home Office in Palm Springs - Front

This desk came from Elvis’ home in Palm Springs, not Graceland. Because the Colonel and others took care of all his business dealings, Elvis actually used it for little more than reading or to review his concert arrangements. The desk is 7-1/2 feet long and is an impressive-looking piece of furniture – angular kidney-shaped wooden desk with burl wood trim and brass handles.

Elvis Presley’s Personal Massive Wooden Desk from His Home Office in Palm Springs

Back in 1999, the estimate was $40,000 – $50,000, but today it is $10,000 – $20,000. I think they will get it. If a photo of Elvis sitting at this desk ever surfaces, the value would go way up.

 

Elvis’ Portable Sauna:

Elvis Presley’s “Scandinavian Products” Portable Sauna

This is something I most remember seeing at the 1999 auction exhibit, and I thought it was pretty weird. In the 1970s, the Colonel purchased this steam spa for Elvis’ Chino Canyon, Palm Springs home.

Elvis Presley’s “Scandinavian Products” Portable Sauna - Open

Elvis used this spa to maintain his heath  because the advertised benefits included detoxification, stress relief, weight loss, and improving circulation.

Back in 1999, the estimate was $8,000 – $10,000, but today it is $3,000 – $5,000

 

Elvis Presley’s Personal Globe-Shaped Free-Standing Wooden Bar from His Beverly Hills Home:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Globe-Shaped Free-Standing Wooden Bar from His Beverly Hills Home - Closed

 

In 1967 when Elvis and Priscilla moved to the two-acre, two-story home in the elegant Holmby Hills neighborhood of California, Elvis made sure to furnish his home with only the best stuff. Amenities included a soda fountain, a pool table, a projection room and this stately Italian-style Old World Globe Bar.

Elvis Presley’s Personal Globe-Shaped Free-Standing Wooden Bar from His Beverly Hills Home

Of course, Elvis didn’t drink, and the inside doesn’t have much room to store anything, so my guess us that it was just a conversation piece. The globe/bar was put into storage in Los Angeles in 1975, and presumably has been stored away ever since.

Back in 1999, the estimate was $4,500-$5,000, but today it is $1,500 – $2,500. I think it will sell this time, possibly going for a good bit more than the estimate.

 

VCR from Elvis’ Bedroom:

Elvis Presley VCR from His Bedroom at Graceland

According to the auction website, “Not only was Elvis featured in many films, but he also thoroughly enjoyed watching movies. He often went to the theater as a young man and that habit continued into adulthood when he would rent out an entire theater to watch a film. As technology progressed and the video recording system became a popular format in the mid 1970s for home viewing, Elvis would watch his favorites in the comfort of his bedroom at Graceland.” with his own personal VCR player.

Elvis Presley VCR from His Bedroom - Controls

Elvis was passionate about technology and acquiring the latest and greatest, and this high-tech JVC model CR-6300U video player certainly was that at the time.

Back in 1999, the estimate was $4,000 – $6,000, and it is still pretty close today at $3,000 – $5,000.

 

Elvis Presley’s Leather Rocking Chair from the Jungle Room:

Elvis Presley’s Leather Rocking Chair from the Jungle Room

Although fans call it the Jungle Room today, Elvis referred to it as the den, and the auction website calls it the original man cave. However, during the 70s, the furnishings were not the ones we see in Graceland today. We can be thankful that all the original tiki-inspired furniture was saved and ultimately restored to its iconic domain.

The auction website says this rocking chair was a favorite of Elvis’ in his earlier rendition of the room. They acknowledge that a photo of the wrong chair ended up in the 1999 catalog.

Elvis Presley’s Leather Rocking Chair from the Jungle Room

To my eye, this one looks way more like something from the Jungle Room than that spindly one above. But the one in the new picture is what’s for sale and the estimate is $10,000 – $15,000. Back in 1999 it was $20,000 – 30,000. Without a photo of Elvis sitting on it, I don’t think it will sell.

 

Elvis Presley Original Acetate of Beatles Songs “Hey Jude” and “Something”:

Elvis Presley Original Acetate of Beatles Songs “Hey Jude” and “Something”

In 1969 Elvis recorded The Beatles’ hit “Hey Jude” at the American Studio in Memphis. “Hey Jude” was released by The Beatles in 1968 and topped the charts in Britain and the U.S. and is often cited as one of the greatest songs of all time. Elvis’ rendition of “Hey Jude” was included on his 1972 album Elvis Now.

“Something” was another song written by George Harrison and released on the 1969 Beatles album Abbey Road. Elvis included the song during his third season at the Las Vegas International Hotel in August 1970, and performed it during his Aloha from Hawaii television special in 1973, so the song was included on the namesake album as well.

This rare acetate of Elvis singing both famous tunes is described on the auction website as a historic relic of incomparable significance. I don’t understand why it did not sell at the 1999 auction when the estimate was only $650 – $750. Contrary to everything else we have looked at in this post, the current estimate is even higher at $1,000 – $2,000. I predict it will sell at that or more.

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Signed Title to Elvis’ Circle G Ranch:

The background story of this deed is presented nicely on the auction website:

Elvis was an avid rider and purchased his first horse, Domino, as a Christmas gift for Priscilla. Elvis’ passion grew and soon the barn at Graceland was being cleaned to house the horses Elvis began to acquire. It was during a horse-buying excursion in Mississippi that Elvis spotted a 65-foot white cross overlooking a manmade lake on a beautiful piece of land. At the time, Elvis was reading a lot about spirituality, so the mystique of the property moved him enough to stop and knock on the owner’s door. Elvis didn’t even bother negotiating the price of “Twinkletown Farm” with the owner, Jack Adams, but proceeded to put down an initial payment of $5,000 against the total asking price of $437,000 for the house, cattle, farm equipment and 160 acres of land. Shortly after, Elvis moved nearly 40 horses to the property, eight trailers for his friends and family and spent $100,000 on vehicles for the ranch. Elvis renamed the farm “Circle G Ranch,” with the “G” for Graceland. Much time was spent by Elvis, Priscilla and his entourage at the ranch as it provided a getaway from the pressures of Hollywood and superstardom. Elvis had quickly spent a small fortune on the ranch and the cost of maintaining it became too much of a financial burden, so in May of 1969 Elvis sold the property for $440,000.

Elvis Presley Signed Title to His Circle G Ranch

So, the two-page title from Mid-South Title Company in Memphis, dated February 8, 1967 for the Circle G Ranch is back at auction. The title is signed in blue ink by Elvis.

The new estimate has an unusually wide range: $10,000 – $20,000. This puts it both above and below the 1999 estimate of $13,000 – 15,000. I don’t think they know what this signed deed will bring. I hope it goes high.

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1973 Tennessee Motorcycle License Plate:

Elvis Presley 1973 Tennessee Motorcycle License Plate

Elvis owned a lot of Harley-Davidson motorcycles in his life, and this license plate was on one of them. But the best the auction website can say about it is, “The plate may have been used on a custom-made Harley-Davidson that Elvis bought in 1971.”

What’s strange is that this plate is only one of four offered at the 1999 auction.

Elvis Presley License Plates

That set included two white Tennessee plates and a black one from California. The combination was expected to bring $10,000 – 12,000 in 1999. Now the green Tennessee motorcycle plate alone is estimated at just $1,000 – $1,500. It might bring that.

 

The Auction at Graceland January 6 2018

This is just a taste of the 271 Elvis items that will be auctioned on January 6 in Memphis during the Elvis Birthday Celebration. To see everything, click here.

 

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

 

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Are There Any Collectible Elvis Figurines That Actually Look Like Elvis?

Elvis Presley Collectible Vinyl Figures

That’s a pretty scary face looking out from this box. It says ELVIS, but does it really look much like him? This is the latest collectible Elvis figurine. It is made by Kidrobot and is available on Graceland.com for $14.99.

Elvis Vinyl Figure '68 Special by Kidrobot

Here’s another view. It is the ’68 Special black leather version, and it doesn’t look much like Elvis to me, either, except maybe the lip snarl.

Elvis Gold Lame Vinyl Collectible

And this is the other option – Gold Lamé Elvis. Both are 4-1/2 inches tall, which means the head is about 2-1/2 inches. That should be plenty big enough to allow decent design and art work that looks like Elvis.

 

Back in 2008, I did an article on Tiny Elvis Heads from various figurines on the market over the years. I realized how difficult the task was when the head was just ¾” tall, like this:

Elvis and Priscilla Barbie Doll Collector Set

This one is the Elvis and Priscilla Barbie Doll Set, and his eyes are just creepy. But, like I said, it must be hard to mold and paint a good Elvis on such a tiny head.

Elvis Jailhouse Rock Christmas Ornament

Here’s what I call the skinny Elvis head Jailhouse Rock Christmas tree ornament. I’ve realized you could make a collection of just Jailhouse Rock Elvis figurines.

Elvis Nodnik

This charming thing is called an Elvis Nodnik.

Elvis Jailhouse Rock Bobblehead

This is called the Wacky Wobbler Bobblehead. There is another set of Elvis bobbleheads offered by Royal Bobbles, but no Jailhouse Rock design, just ’68 Special and Las Vegas Jumpsuit.

NECO Jumpsuit Elvis Bobblehead

Believe it or not, there is a third set of Elvis bobble heads by Neco.  And you have to say this head is very well done, easily identified without the jumpsuit or the name on the base.

 

Mini Black Elvis Nutcracker

However, if this nutcracker didn’t have the name on the base, who would ever guess it was Elvis? I do like the guitar strung over his shoulder, though. Here’s another nutcracker that’s maybe a little better.

Elvis Phoenix Jumpsuit Nutcracker

The Phoenix jumpsuit helps, but it still needs the name on the base.

 

While we are talking about bad images, how about this horrible one?

Elvis Jailhouse Rock n Sock Em Robot

I wonder if they ever sold any of these. Why would anybody want one?

 

Elvis Windshield Bobbler

I actually have one of these hanging in a window across the room, but I really like the way the photographer framed Elvis with the Graceland wall in the background.

 

Jumpsuit Elvis Pez

This is one of three PEZ Elvis that came in this tin display. The head is just over ½ inch high, so the PEZ designers deserve praise for coming up with a good tiny Elvis.

 

Elvis Bobble-Car Wacky Wobbler

This is a nice variation in Elvis figurines, and the face is pretty good.

 

Barbie Collectibles three doll Tommy as Elvis

Uggggh! This looks more like Kim Jung Un than Elvis.

 

Barbie Blue Hawaii Elvis Presley Doll

Blue Hawaii Elvis is not too common in the figurine themes. The top four are Jailhouse Rock, ’68 Special Black Leather, Aloha White Jumpsuit, and Gold Lamé. Others include G.I. Elvis and young Elvis wearing a sport coat.

 

Let’s finish up with the best of the Elvis figurines. That title goes to McFarlane Toys was started in 1994 by Todd McFarlane, a comic book creator and illustrator. His first figurines were the characters from his Spawn comic series. He has now produced hundreds of figures including cartoon horror icons, sports legends, dragons, the Simpsons, the Beatles, and many more.

McFarlane Elvis Wearing White Suit from '68 Special

Now this looks like Elvis. I also like it because it features Elvis dressed in a different outfit than in those other sets. I’m sure you recognize it as the white suit he wore in the ’68 Special when he sang “If I Can Dream.”

 

McFarlane Toys Elvis Jailhouse Rock

This is so good. Look at this close up to see how well McFarlane captured Elvis’ likeness.

McFarlane Jailhouse rock Elvis Side View

I’m really impressed with the quality of this Elvis reproduction. I don’t think they are still in production, but when I searched for good images, I found them for sale on eBay and other places.

 

Mr Potatohead Jumpsuit Elvis with Black Guitar

If you would prefer a fun Elvis figurine over an accurate one, there is always the Mr. Potato Head Elvis. I have the whole set.

 

 

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

 

 

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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 Keeton

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 Keeton, 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 Keeton. 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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