Tag Archives: Elvis auctions

Interesting Items at the 7th Auction at Graceland

January 7, 2017 Auction at Graceland
I started covering auctions of Elvis memorabilia in March 2010. Over the next 4-1/2 years, ElvisBlog had 25 posts covering auctions from Heritage, Julien’s , Sotheby’s, Gotta Have It, and Michaan’s auction houses.

Then in August 2014, EPE sponsored the first Auction at Graceland in Memphis during Elvis Week.

August 14, 2014 Auction At Graceland

Since then, half of the 14 auctions containing sizeable selections of Elvis collectibles have been the Auctions at Graceland. In addition to on-line bidding, the items were on display prior to the in-person bidding in Memphis. These were logical attractions for the folks coming to Elvis Week and the Elvis Birthday celebrations.

In 2016, a third auction was added to add more pizazz to the opening of the new Guest House at Graceland.

October 29, 2016 Auction at Graceland

 

As I have stated before, EPE made a brilliant decision to get involved with auctioning of Elvis memorabilia. They are gobbling up much of the available items, and from what I can tell, they are bringing higher prices for the sellers.

The latest Auction at Graceland closed on January 7 and had 165 items for bid. We’ll probably look at the rings, autographs, and clothing in the future, but here are some other items that caught my eye for one reason or another.

Boxing Gloves Elvis Wore in Kid Galahad:

Elvis - Boxing Gloves used in Kid Gallahad

These boxing gloves were one of the surprise successes of the auction. Although this was just one of several pairs Elvis wore during the filming of Kid Galahad, it attracted 15 bidders. They ran the price way past the minimum bid of $2,500 and topped out at $11,875 (including the 25% auction premium). However, this is another example of something I’ve been reminding folks with an Elvis collectible to sell. Spend some money on a proper display. It will pay off. If it had just been two loose boxing gloves as shown above, the top bid would not have been so high.

Elvis - Display of Boxing Gloves used in Kid Gallahad

However, the top bidder actually got a nice framed 25’ x 25” display that included a shot from the movie and the six-song soundtrack EP, both showing Elvis wearing boxing gloves. The case is 5 inches deep with protective glass over it.

And here’s something you may find interesting. The previous owner said this about the boxing gloves, “I held them and could feel the Elvis vibes.” Good for her.

 

Shirt Signed by 30+ Elvis Presley Co-Stars and Friends:

eBay Shirt Signed by 30+ Elvis Presley Co-Stars and Friends

This is one item that may have fared better on a general entertainment auction than on one for just Elvis collectors. Only four bids came in and the winning one for $750 fell well below the estimate.

There are fourteen autographs on the front. Perhaps you can make out these Elvis co-stars: Anne Helm (Follow That Dream), Stella Stevens (Girls! Girls! Girls!), Cynthia Pepper (Kissin’ Cousins), Deborah Walley (Spinout), Celeste Yarnall (Live a Little, Love a Little), Julie Parrish (Paradise, Hawaiian Style), Diane McBain (Spinout), Joan Blackman (Blue Hawaii, Kid Galahad), and others. Notable co-stars on the back and sleeves include Julie Adams (Tickle Me), Marilyn Mason (Trouble with Girls), and Mary Ann Mobley (Girl Happy, Harum Scarum).

It doesn’t say so on the auction website, but I believe all these signatures were obtained over time at Elvis Weeks when all the special guests sit at tables signing publicity photos, etc. About ten years ago, I saw someone moving down the line with an acoustic guitar getting autographs by many musicians from Elvis’ past. It later sold at auction for well over $750.

 

Colt “Police Positive Special” .32 Caliber Pistol:

Elvis Presley Owned and Used Colt “Police Positive Special” .32 Caliber Pistol

What would an Elvis auction be without one of his guns? As the auction website says, Elvis had a personal arsenal. Here’s one with two interesting stories.

Elvis acquired this Colt .32 caliber pistol in the 1970s at Tiny’s Gun Store in Palm Springs, California. Tiny, the owner of the gun shop, admired one of Elvis’ rings, and Elvis asked him if he wanted to trade for it. Tiny said yes and offered several items for the trade. Elvis decided on this gun and others and made the deal.

However, after using it, Elvis gave it to his bodyguard Dick Grob. His reason for this was that it didn’t have much fire power, very little noise and almost no recoil. Definitely not enough bang to suit Elvis.

But the Colt pistol had enough appeal to bidders to run the $2,000 minimum bid up to $10,625

 

Mike McGregor’s Handcrafted “TCB” Necklace in Elvis Presley Style:

Mike McGregor’s Handcrafted “TCB” Necklace in Elvis Presley Style, Circa 1980

We could also ask, “What would an Elvis auction be without a TCB pendant?” So many of them have changed hands over the last seven years. However, this is not one that Elvis owned and wore. It is not one he gave to friends. In fact, it was made three years after his death.

Mike McGregor was a blacksmith and leather craftsman who met Elvis in the 1960s at the Western shop where Mike worked crafting saddles. Elvis hired Mike to work at the Circle G Ranch taking care of the horses. Mike and his family lived at Circle G and then moved to Graceland, where he continued making leather goods and jewelry for Elvis.

In 1976 McGregor opened his own jewelry shop in Mississippi where he made this silver pendant modelled after the Elvis style. Apparently, this is a close enough connection for the high bidder pay $687.50 for it.

 

Water Pistol from the May 8, 1976 Sahara Tahoe Squirt Gun Fight with Elvis:

Rockin’ Robin’s Squirt Gun from the May 8, 1976 Sahara Tahoe Elvis Presley Squirt Gun Fight

I didn’t think I would ever see a squirt gun at an Elvis auction, let alone bringing in a $625 top bid.

On May 8 1976 at the Sahara Tahoe, Elvis performed for nearly 90 minutes, sang more than 25 songs and was engaged throughout. Then, several fans near the stage began a water fight with squirt guns after he sang “Love Me.” One of them was “Rockin’ Robin” Rosaaen, a fan of some renown at that time.

Label on Squirt Gun from the May 8, 1976 Sahara Tahoe Elvis Presley Squirt Gun Fight

This plastic squirt gun was what she used during the skirmish. Her accompanying letter with the water pistol says, “During the show I gave Elvis this large green machine gun-sized squirt gun, and he then proceeded to shoot his back-up singers, thinking he had the only squirt gun. Later, as he stood center stage, we opened fire! Elvis thought it was too much fun, and the next night talked about it, saying ‘Ladies and gentlemen, you should have been here last night—it was like a gun fight at the OK Corral”

 

Platinum Record Award for Elvis Presley’s Album Aloha from Hawaii:

Platinum Record Award for Elvis Presley’s Album Aloha from Hawaii

Lots of Gold and Platinum Record Awards have shown up at auction. However, these are often the ones awarded to Col. Parker, or RCA, or others. Or they are awards presented by other entities than the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). However, this is the actual official one awarded to Elvis. It’s a surprise that this one is not already part of the huge awards display at Graceland.

Elvis - Aloha from Hawaii Platinum Record Award.

The minimum bid was a ridiculously low $500. Fifty bids later, it topped out at $9,375. That doesn’t mean fifty different people bid on it. Probably two or three collectors battled it out to win the prize. In any event, I have never seen an item of Elvis memorabilia receive fifty bids.

 

23 Private Photos and More:

Elvis - Aloha from Hawaii Platinum Record Award.

This is a treasure trove of mostly never-seen-before photographs from the estate of Trude Forsher. From 1956 until 1961, Forsher served as secretary for Col. Parker and Elvis. Here is a photo of her and Elvis in 1956.

Trude Forsher and Elvis in 1956

As you can see, Graceland Auctions now puts a watermark over the photos posted on the auction website. It took them a while to figure that out. There is no mention of why Elvis is is that unusual position.

Trude Forsher Archive Showing Elvis at Rehersal

Here’s a photo taken at a Los Angeles recording session in 1957. Cousin Gene Smith, the Jordanaires, and Bill Black join Elvis.

This collection had a total of 42 bids and finally went for $6,250. Seems like a very good deal for all these photos and other stuff

 

1950s Original 35mm Negatives of Elvis Presley Jam Session with Scotty Moore

35mm Negatives of Elvis Presley Jam Session with Scotty Moore

For the same price of $6,250, someone bought a set of just six Elvis pictures (not shown – a near duplicate and one shot that doesn’t include Elvis). According to the auction website, the pictures were taken at a rehearsal in 1955. They do not say this was at Sun Studios, but the folks who placed 35 bids must have thought so. Why else would the winner have paid such a high price?

 

Union 76 Gold Cards:

Elvis Union 76 Gas Gold Card

Elvis credit cards show up from time to time. This one went for $3,375. Wow.

 

1966 Tennessee License Plate:

Elvis Presley’s 1966 Tennessee License Plate

This license plate went for $3,500, thanks in part to the nice display. However, the auction website said the plate was originally on Elvis’ 1967 Lincoln Continental. I don’t think that is the car in the picture.

The plate was originally owned by EPE, but they put it up for auction back in 1999 Graceland Archives Auction in Las Vegas. They sold a whole bunch of stuff then. I wonder if they wish they had it back now that they are about to open the new “Elvis: The Entertainer” museum at Elvis Presley’s Memphis.

 

March 4 2017 Auction at Graceland

Speaking of Elvis Presley’s Memphis, the new, state-of-the-art entertainment complex, which will have its grand opening on March 2-5. Yes, there will be another Auction at Graceland as part of the festivities. I’ll bet they will have no trouble finding another 165 or so new memorabilia items to bid on.
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© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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

 

The Auction at Graceland Does It Again

The Auction at Graceland Logo

I continue to be more and more impressed with the Auctions at Graceland each time we have a new one. And they are coming at an increased frequency. The first was during Elvis Week 2014. In 2015, there were Auctions at Graceland during the birthday celebration and Elvis Week. Same thing this year, but now we get an additional one as part of the grand opening of the Guest house at Graceland.

Guest House at Graceland

Just 2-1/2 months after the Elvis Week 2016 auction, they have come up with 145 new items for collectors to bid on. I’ve noticed that the item descriptions on the auction website are getting longer and more interesting. Typically I write my own summary and comments on the items presented here on ElvisBlog, but this time we’ll look at what the website has to say (with minor editing).

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1953 Humes High School Yearbook Signed by Elvis Presley and Class President George Klein:

Elvis' High School Yearbook

Carolyn Lee Jones was certainly a popular girl in Humes High School and her yearbook from 1953 confirms the fact that this lovely lady had many friends and admirers. The most famous of those was Elvis Presley himself, who signed near his own class picture, “Best of luck to a very cute girl. Elvis.” Elvis’ friend and Class President, George Klein, also signed “To a very nice girl. Best of everything always. George.”

Elvis Autograph and Inscription on High School Yearbook

Based on the staggering number of signatures in her yearbook, it appears Carolyn knew almost everyone in her school! A cherished high school memento, this yearbook was stored for many years in a safety deposit box, and because of that it is one of the most well-preserved copies ever offered.

The yearbook is 112 pages long. 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, Speech Club.” 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.

The pristine example of the 1953 Herald yearbook is offered with a letter from Carolyn Lee (Jones) Davis in which she fondly recalls her school days with Elvis:

“There are so many memories in this wonderful book. I think back on the days of Elvis sitting on the front steps of the school and playing his guitar. To see what he has become is truly amazing. He was always a loner and most people paid him no attention. I felt sorry for him at times. We became friends and I helped him with his school work. English was his worst subject. Funny how life takes its turns. I, for one, was very proud to know him. Memories are a wonderful thing.”

 

Elvis Presley's High School Classmate Carolyn Jones
This is the yearbook photo of Carolyn Lee Jones. It was reproduced in a June 2012 ElvisBlog article, part of a series that covered comments by Elvis’ former classmates. In preparation for their 50th reunion in 2003, a website was created where everyone could post their memories of Humes High School. Naturally much of this concerned Elvis. Here is what Carolyn Jones said about Elvis then.

comment-by-elvis-presleys-high-school-classmate-carolyn-jones

Somehow, between 2003 and 2016, her recollections of Elvis went from “I didn’t know Elvis very well” to “We became friends and I helped him with his school work.” No big deal. Just interesting.

The pre-auction estimate on this yearbook was $4-6,000, and the winning bid was $6,875 (including the auction’s 25% buyer’s fee). In April 2013, ElvisBlog reported on the sale at Heritage Auctions of another Herald yearbook with Elvis’ signature and inscription. It sold for $4,375 (including buyer’s premium). This in another example of how the Auctions at Graceland bring higher realization for sellers of Elvis memorabilia.

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Rare Complete Set of Five Elvis Presley’s Sun 78 RPM Records:

Elvis 78 RPM Record That's Alright Mama

This incredible complete collection of Elvis’ Sun Records 78s includes his first five singles: 1954 Sun 209 “That’s All Right/Blue Moon of Kentucky”; 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 “Baby Let’s Play House/I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone”; and 1955 Sun 223 “Mystery Train/I Forgot to Remember to Forget.”

While a complete set of Elvis’ Sun 45s are highly collectible, a full set of the Sun 78s are even more rare and desirable. Rumors have been told throughout the years that the scarcity of the 78s was due to the fact that Sam Phillip’s brother Tom, who ran the back warehouse where stacks of the 78s were stored, allowed an overseas collector into the space and that collector was so overtaken at the sheer quantity that he fell into the stacks, causing a vast amount of irreplaceable damage. Another anecdote explaining the shortage of 78s was that Tom Phillips would give away enormous quantities to county fairs who would use them as targets in the carnival games, hanging them from strings so customers could toss balls at them in an attempt to break them to smithereens.

We may never know the true story, but the fact remains that the Elvis Sun 78s are highly sought after for their rarity and superior sound quality compared to the 45s. A very clean complete set, with signs of only moderate use, including a few scratches and scuffs. Labels are extremely clean and totally intact. Excellent condition, if not a somewhat better overall.

This set was a popular item generating eleven bids. It sold for $4,500, right in line with the pre-auction estimate.

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Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right”:

1954-stamper-for-elvis-presleys-thats-all-right

The offered metal stampers were used to produce some of the very earliest pressings of Elvis Presley’s first 45 RPM record release with the songs “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” The recording of these two songs is widely considered by many to be the birth of rock and roll. When Elvis exploded on the Memphis airwaves, changing popular music forever, Sam Phillips charged into the future and had his records on the shelves only days later, on July 19, 1954. The initial copies were pressed by Plastic Products in Memphis, and Elvis himself is said to have visited the plant to watch the record being made. There is no way to know for sure if these stampers were part of the initial production run in mid-July, but pencil notations on the storage sleeve indicate that they were in use no later than August 1954. Either way, some of the first records Elvis fans ever played were pressed from these very stampers. They pressed together upon the waiting “hot wax” and, one copy after another, helped change the world forever.

Key attributes of the stampers include the matrix numbers visible in what would be the “dead wax” portion of the final pressed records, the “Audiodisc” logo around the center circles, and, of course, the three small indentations around the center holes. The 1/4” indentations, used to hold the stampers in place by connecting with three opposing pins during pressing, are what created what are known to collectors of early Elvis records as “delta” marks. They form a triangle (or the Greek letter “delta”) of marks on the Sun labels. These marks are the tell-tale sign that a record is a “delta pressing,” pressed at the Memphis record plant. Copies pressed at other plants in Philadelphia or Los Angeles do not have these marks. The marks appear on all of Elvis’ Sun 45s except for his final release, “Mystery Train.” By the time of that release in 1955, the stamper production method had been adjusted.

When I saw the pre-auction estimate for this was $30,000 to $40,000, I said “No way.” Indeed, no one even cared to make the minimum bid of $15,000. We will see this stamper again at auction at a considerably lower price.

 

 

Three Sun Record Co. Checks Written to Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black:

Sun Records Check to Elvis Presley

This grouping of checks is an unprecedented offering representing the actual payments for an Elvis Presley recording session at The Memphis Recording Service with Sam Phillips. The three Sun Record Co., Inc. checks are each signed by Phillips and, respectively, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black. They are for the recording session on November 15, 1954 for the song “I’m Left, You’re Right, My Baby’s Gone.” The memos on the Moore and Black checks (nos. 834 and 835, respectively) read “Presley Session: 11/15/54,” while Elvis’ check (no. 833) simply reads “Session: 11/15/54.” The distinction between the memos may be related to the fact that Elvis was paid as the session leader, while Scotty and Bill, as players, were paid half as much. The checks are dated the day after the session, November 16, 1954 and are also endorsed on the reverse below each musician’s name by “O.V. Foster,” the secretary of the Memphis local musicians’ union.

Elvis Presley Signed Sun Records Check

Seven takes were recorded at the session, and are commonly referred to as the “slow” version of the song. Eventually, the boys would record the more upbeat version that was released with “Baby Let’s Play House” as Sun 217 and titled “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.” However, there is some confusion about whether the record version was recorded during the March 5, 1955 session, as is commonly held, or if it was indeed recorded during the November 15, 1954, session. The debate has smoldered among fans for some time, and hopefully the offering of these checks will only fan the flames!

Elvis Presley signed checks of any vintage are highly sought-after by collectors, and checks from the earliest period of his career only more so. And an Elvis-signed Sun Record Co. check that is also signed by Sam Phillips would be the pinnacle. So considering the presented group of Sun Record checks are signed by not only Elvis and Sam, but also Scotty Moore and Bill Black, and that they are for a recording session, it is fair to say that this may be the most significant Elvis Presley check offering ever. A truly historic auction opportunity.

The set of three checks sold for $16,250, slightly below the pre-auction estimate.

 

Complete Set of Elvis Presley’s RCA Victor 45 RPM EPs – All 29 Releases from 1956–67:

Elvis Presley EP

In November 1955, RCA bought Elvis’ contract from Sun Records. In March 1956, RCA released Elvis’ first full-length album, simply titled Elvis Presley, which sold more than 350,000 copies in just over a month. RCA simultaneously released two 45 EPs of the same title that together included all 12 tracks available on the LP. Extended Plays, commonly referred to as EPs, were created in the 1950s and contained more than the traditional two tracks on most 45s. By releasing both the LP and EPs at the same time, RCA was assuring saturation of its new star in a market that used record players with varying capabilities. RCA’s strategy proved victorious, with the EPs selling even more copies than the LP. The success of Elvis Presley made it the first in music history to sell more than a million copies, and Elvis became the first RCA single artist to reach a million dollars in sales. The album reached number 1 on the Billboard charts and launched Elvis’ long career with RCA.

Complete Set of Elvis Presley EPs

(Editor’s note: The other 27 Eps in this collection had four songs each. I learned something here – I never knew the two Elvis Presley EPs sold more than the album of the same name.)

I thought this very desirable set was undervalued in the pre-auction estimate of $1,000-$1,500. A total of 22 bids ran the price up to $2,500. Still a bargain.

 

 

Elvis Presley Stage-Worn Jumpsuit – The “Aqua Blue Vine” Jumpsuit:

Nothing is more synonymous with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll than his famous jumpsuits. While every fan remembers Elvis’ wonderfully spectacular variety of jumpsuits (nearly 100 different examples were made), few are ever made available on the open market. Only a very small number of jumpsuits exist outside the treasured Graceland Archives. The opportunity to acquire such an iconic piece of music and entertainment history is incredibly rare. The offered legendary jumpsuit, with its turquoise clustered studs, was designed by Bill Belew and Gene Doucette in 1973 for Elvis. In the typical fashion of many of his jumpsuits, it has a zippered front closure, flared sleeves, flared legs with turquoise silk inverted kick pleats, a high-pointed Napoleon collar with Velcro patches on the back to attach the matching cape, and is studded with magnificent faux turquoise stones and gold-colored studs all over. The heavy fabric material matches other examples from the period, and an important hidden element that is present is the extra underarm padding.

Elvis Presley Aqua Blue Vine Jumpsuit

After designing the famous spectacular jumpsuits for which Elvis became known, Bill Belew was in high demand. Subsequently, Gene Doucette took a more active role in studding the jumpsuits with the elaborate stone and bejeweled designs. After early experiments, Bill had found that the best color choice for the fabric was white as it enabled Elvis to be lit by different colored spotlights without the suit itself absorbing the color. The high “Napoleonic” collar was meant to draw attention to Elvis’ face, and the multitude of jewels and studs all over the jumpsuits would give the costume sparkle in the spotlights. The turquoise-and-gold flower style design of the offered jumpsuit is a perfect example of this design strategy, as it created a dazzling array of colorful glimmer under the lights of the Las Vegas stage and served to focus all attention on the shining star himself.

Elvis wearing Aqua Blue Vine Jumpsuit

There are a great number of images of Elvis in this jumpsuit, which he wore on stage in August and September of 1973 in Las Vegas and then again a few more times in 1974, most notably during the March tour. To complement this jumpsuit, Elvis often wore the matching cape and belt, which are both part of the treasured Graceland Archives Collection. The belt presented here, and included with the jumpsuit, is a replica created later for presentation purposes.

Elvis gave the jumpsuit, among many other garments and artifacts, to the family of girlfriend Ginger Alden. The Alden family subsequently sold the jumpsuit to Jimmy Velvet, and it was offered in the Jimmy Velvet auction in Las Vegas in 1994. The jumpsuit most recently traded hands on eBay nearly 10 years ago for over $200,000.

With the vast majority of jumpsuits residing at Graceland, only a precious few become available to collectors and this opportunity comes so very infrequently. The “Aqua Blue Vine” jumpsuit is a treasure to behold and with thousands of images of Elvis performing in this very costume, it would be the pinnacle of any important Elvis collection’

The jumpsuit is in excellent condition overall, with great signs of heavy stage use, wear at the armpits, discoloration marks where the matching belt would have been worn, and staining in the collar and armpits commensurate with heavy wear and stage use.

 

Elvis Presley' Peacock Jumpsuit

(Editor’s note: The last Elvis jumpsuit sale was in August 2008. The Peacock jumpsuit pictured above went for $300,000.)

The Aqua Blue Jumpsuit was billed as the highlight of this auction, and it did not disappoint. The top bidder shelled out $325,000.

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1952 The Reno Brothers “First Draft” Original Twentieth Century Fox Script for Elvis Presley’s First Film, Love Me Tender:

Elvis Presley Love Me tender Script

Elvis Presley exploded onto the national scene in 1956 with a slew of #1 hits for RCA, several landmark television appearances and his Hollywood film debut as Clint Reno in Love Me Tender. The film was retitled from The Reno Brothers late in production to capitalize on the raging success of Elvis’ single “Love Me Tender,” which sold an unprecedented one million copies prior to its release. Reworked slightly for the young singer, Love Me Tender was a fairly straightforward Western tale with some nice plot twists and some songs thrown in for good measure. The film was premiered by Twentieth Century Fox on November 15, 1956 in New York City and on November 20 in Memphis. Elvis attended the Memphis showing with his mother Gladys. When Gladys cried at the death of her son’s character at the end of the movie, Elvis vowed never again to take a role in which his character perished. Gladys wasn’t the only one to take umbrage with Elvis’ onscreen demise—when test audiences reacted poorly to seeing him expire, the studio quickly had Elvis add another verse to the title track that could be sung by his ghostly image above the final scene.

This astounding first draft script’s original title, “The Reno Brothers,” is stamped on the front of its orange-colored cover. The new title is handwritten in ink directly above the stamped original title and date of November 15, 1952. The script is marked “First Draft Continuity” and numbered “2671” in the upper right corner of the cover. It is stamped along the bottom “Property of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Return to Stenographic Department

The offered script, along with the treatment that was delivered with the script to the then-head of Twentieth Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck, is also accompanied by a memo from Zanuck back to the filmmakers and writers. Based on this memo, the offered script contains Zanuck’s very own handwritten edits in red, including dialogue changes and removals. His memo goes on to discuss changes to the end of the film. This historic collection of Hollywood ephemera is noteworthy for Zanuck’s handwritten contributions to the film that would launch Elvis’ robust movie career. Since the script languished for years in pre-production, the script’s printed date pre-dates Elvis’ fame.

Although originally quite minor, the part Elvis was given was revised to include extra lines and added scenes to accommodate his rabid fan base. Love Me Tender was the only film in which Elvis appeared and was not given top billing, but was also widely regarded as his best performance. Elvis, who desperately wanted to be taken seriously as an actor, would go on to make over 30 movies.

This screenplay was well below the pre-auction estimate but still topped out at $1,375. This would put it in the middle of the price range for the other screenplays reported in an ElvisBlog post two months ago.

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1952 Jailhouse Rock Original MGM “Vault Copy” Script with Working Title “Ghost of a Chance”

Elvis Presley Jailhouse Rock Screenplay

The 1957 MGM film Jailhouse Rock was based on the dark short story by Nedrick Young titled “Ghost of a Chance.” Production of the film took only two months between May and June of 1957. The movie premiered in October that year in Memphis and was released nationwide in November. The script for the film began with the working title Ghost of a Chance after the short story on which it was based. The film’s name was subsequently changed to The Hard Way and Jailhouse Kid before the final title of Jailhouse Rock was decided. Jailhouse Rock was a highlight in Elvis’ career and contains the most recognized and memorable musical scene in any of his films.

The offered original “Vault Copy” script has a blue cover with the typed title “Jailhouse Rock,” and is numbered 5676. The script also contains a number of yellow-colored pages dated 7-8-52 with the title “Ghost of a Change Chgs.” Yellow insert pages in a script indicate revisions and save having to reprint the entire script. This example of the Jailhouse Rock script, a movie that was selected in 2004 for the U.S. National Film Registry, has found its way out of the vault and is available to be added to someone’s lucky collection

For some reason, the Jailhouse Rock screenplay had a lower estimate than Love Me Tender, but it sold for the same price of $1,375.

 

1957 Unpublished Images of Elvis Presley aboard the USS Matsonia:

1957 Unpublished Photo of Elvis Presley

Elvis’ love for Hawaii ran deep and during his lifetime he visited often. Whether it was to perform concerts and benefits, film a movie or to just vacation, the islands would always draw him back. Elvis first sailed to Hawaii from Los Angeles aboard the first class Matson Line ship, the USS Matsonia, on November 5, 1957. Elvis was scheduled for three concerts, including a performance for troops and their families at the Schofield Barracks in Honolulu. The voyage across the Pacific took several days, during which Elvis’ new film Jailhouse Rock opened in theaters. When the Matsonia docked in Honolulu on November 9, 1957, an on-board press conference was held before Elvis disembarked and set foot on Hawaiian soil for the first time.

A plethora of images exist from this journey and press conference, however, the offered pair of 1957 unpublished images of Elvis Presley in transparency slide format have never-before-been seen in public. The 35 mm color transparencies, contained in Kodachrome transparency slide holders measuring 2 by 2 inches (5.08 x 5.08 cm), include copyrights to the photos. The transparencies are offered with two 8 by 12 inch (20.32 x 30.48 cm) full-color prints that depict Elvis at the ship’s wheel and on the main deck. Elvis appears to be at the forefront of sailing fashion in his red print shirt, sunglasses and captain’s hat, ready for a voyage that would introduce him to a place and people that would change his life. These stunning images of Elvis are accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

The transparencies (color slides) show signs of mild wear and are mounted inside slide folders. The images shown benefited from minor digital cleanup after scanning, and they show the potential of how clear an image could be created from the originals. Excellent condition.

I was pretty sure the pre-auction estimate of $1,500 – $2,000 was too low, and the bidding certainly confirmed this. This pair of never-before-seen color photos of Elvis in 1957 had 28 bids topping out at $4,000.

 

Elvis Presley Owned and Worn “E.A.P.” Gold ID Bracelet:

Elvis Presley EAP Gold Bracelet

Identification bracelets came into use during WWII as the precursor to the dog tag, and listed all the information about a soldier should he not be able to convey the information himself. Even after the war, servicemen continued to wear their bracelets as a badge of honor. The ID bracelets hit mainstream popularity in the 1970s and Elvis, always at the height of fashion, had one. Elvis’ had a nameplate that was simply engraved “E.A.P.” The 14 karat gold bracelet weighs a total of 47.6 grams, with a 5-strand gold-mesh rope bracelet and fold-over clasp marked “Z&F.”

The bracelet comes with a letter from Joe Esposito that states in part,

“This 14K gold ID Bracelet with the gold mesh bracelet once belonged to Elvis Presley. Elvis had E.A.P. engraved on it. He purchased it in Las Vegas at the Thunderbird Hotel Jewelry store. He purchased it during the 1970’s. It was during one of his engagements. I don’t remember how long he had it before he gave it to one of his girlfriends as a gift. In the early 1980’s she called me at my home and told me she was having some financial problems. She wanted to know if I knew someone who would buy it from her. I was the one who bought it.”

I was surprised this bracelet didn’t meet the pre-auction estimate, but $8,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

 

Elvis Presley Owned and Worn Puka Shell Necklace – Worn during the Time He was Filming Blue Hawaii:

Elvis Presley Puka Necklace

Elvis Presley Puka Necklace

Elvis fell in love with Hawaii at first sight and would often return. On March 18, 1961 Elvis headed to Hawaii for the USS Arizona benefit concert he would perform on the 25th, and also to begin filming for the Hawaiian-themed film Blue Hawaii, which was released by Paramount Pictures later that year. Elvis began recording the soundtrack for the film on March 21 and the location filming for the movie was complete in just three weeks. Blue Hawaii would be the first of three Elvis movies filmed on location in Hawaii. Elvis would return many times during his career and for his own personal holidays as he adored the island culture. No doubt during his stays Elvis learned that the Hawaiian word for hole is puka and that Hawaiians often create necklaces from the shells of sea snails, which have a naturally occurring hole at the center that makes these rounded-edge shells natural beads.

The offered necklace with four turquoise stone beads and seven small silver-colored beads was gifted from Elvis to Dr. George Nichopoulos, who was told that Elvis wore the necklace during the period he was filming Blue Hawaii. The necklace is mounted against a turquoise-colored background in a framed display with a plaque that states, “THIS SHELL AND TURQUOISE NECKLACE, WORN BY ELVIS PRESLEY, IN BLUE HAWAII, WAS GIVEN TO DR. GEORGE NICHOPOULOS, “DR. NICK”, BY ELVIS PRESLEY.” The wording on the plaque is somewhat inexact, as Dr. Nick clarifies in the accompanying letter when he states that the necklace was “worn in the time period of filming Blue Hawaii.” The necklace was not worn in the film.

In a related interview, Dr. Nick also detailed how Elvis and his entourage were all wearing these puka shell necklaces while in Hawaii during filming, and that he wanted Dr. Nick to have one as well. The framed display measures 15 by 11 1/2 inches, and the necklace is 6.5 inches in diameter.

Puka may be a good way to describe the feeling by bidders when they saw the estimate of $8-12,000 for this shell necklace. In fact, no one thought it was worth the minimum bid of $4,000. I agree.

 

Complete Set of Elvis Presley’s Fingerprints on 1970 Beverly Hills Police Department Application for Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon:

Set of Elvis Presley fingerprints

On October 1970, Elvis headed to the Beverly Hills Police Department to be fingerprinted for his application for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. This pristine fingerprint card contains the original fingerprint for every single one of Elvis’ 10 digits—both hands, twice—and his bold blue ink signature. This amazing artifact was held in the files at the Beverly Hills Police Department for seven years before being transferred to microfiche, and the original fingerprint card was given to the officer who took the prints, Richard Clason. The card was treasured and framed by Clason and is being offered direct from his family.

The card, numbered 73808 lists Elvis’ occupation as singer, place of birth as Tupelo, Miss. and date of birth as 1-8-35. Elvis signed the card “Elvis A. Presley,” and the signature remains bold in blue ink.

The fingerprint card is offered with a letter from Richard Clason’s son Kenneth in which he recounts in detail the circumstances of his father’s meeting with Elvis to take his fingerprints that day. This precise accounting mentions in part,

“So it was on October 22, 1970, that my father was called into Police Chief B.L. Cork’s office to meet an individual who was applying for such a permit and would need a set of prints taken right away. Imagine my dad’s surprise to see none other than the King of Rock ‘n Roll standing there in front of the Chief’s desk! Officer Clason was quite accustomed to interacting with celebrities, including some who were rather full of themselves, people who seemed to believe their own PR as my dad would say. But he recalled Elvis as being very soft spoken and polite, just a regular guy. As he walked Elvis to the fingerprint room, my father asked him why he felt he needed to carry a concealed weapon. Elvis told him there had been threats on his life and that sometimes when he was on stage with the house lights blinding his eyes, he would feel particularly vulnerable.”

Between his love of firearms and karate, Elvis was certainly capable of self-protection should the need arise. This fingerprint card, measuring 8 by 8 inches, is the pinnacle example of the most complete set of the King’s unique identifier—all 10 of his fingerprints!

This is a super cool Elvis collectible and the bidding represented this. It sold for $30,000. I’ve seen a wad of Elvis’ hair separated into smaller samplings and sold individually. Do you think the new owner of this set might start selling them one finger at a time?

 

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

Elvis Presley Pajamas

This white pair of Munsingwear pajamas was owned and worn by Elvis Presley. The pajamas were recovered from the Lisa Marie, among a number of other personal items, after he passed away in August 1977. The silky-feeling nylon pajamas, with four-button front closure, have black trim around the collar, front closure, pocket and cuffs of the shirt and pants. The shirt’s collar tag reads “Munsingwear 100% Nylon Run Proof Tricot -A-.” The pajamas are offered with a letter from Richard Grob, one of Elvis’ bodyguards from 1967 through 1977, in which he details the circumstances surrounding acquiring the pajamas from the plane:

Shortly after August 16, 1977, when Elvis Presley, passed away, Vernon Presley, Elvis father, asked me to go to the airport and check the Lisa Marie, Elvis’ airplane. The Lisa Marie was parked at the Fixed Base Operator’s parking area. Vernon asked me to remove any items on the aircraft that maybe were left by Elvis when the plane was last used. I told him that I would, however, I felt that the valets probably cleaned the aircraft when they were last on it. I added that the flight crew also probably cleaned it except for any items that Elvis used regularly or that he may have told them to leave on the aircraft. When I got to the aircraft, I went through everything in the main cabin as well as the cargo areas below, in the aircraft belly. The result of my search produced many items which I removed. The items I removed included weapons, clothing, papers and other items. Some of these items I was very familiar with since I was present when Elvis acquired them and I knew he did not wish to take them to Graceland so his father would not know about them. Some items he used when he was on board the aircraft. Items that went with the aircraft were left on the plane such as the stereo earphones. Upon completing my search I informed Vernon of all the items I located. Vernon told me to keep them when I asked him where he wanted the items. These items have been in my possession or in storage since Elvis’ death, as they were given to me by Vernon Presley, Elvis’ father. One such item was a set of white with black trim pajamas, tops and bottoms. Elvis would wear these pajamas on the aircraft while traveling after a concert. Elvis would be hot and sweaty from the show and would strip out of his jump suit he wore during the show and put the pajamas on to rest. When we were about to land he would change from the pajamas into other clothes to leave the aircraft. Elvis last wore these pajamas on the evening o [sic] June 26, 1977 when he left Indianapolis Indiana after doing his last show and was flying back to Memphis.

While there is a certain logic to Dick Grob’s claim that Elvis wore the pajamas on his final flight since they were still aboard the Lisa Marie after Elvis’ passing weeks later, there is no specific corroborating evidence to support the claim conclusively. Regardless, the offered pajamas are a superior example of the casual costume Elvis often donned for down time.

Other Elvis pajamas have sold at auction before, but none reached the price of $5,250 achieved by this set.

 

Button Down Shirt Gifted to Stamps Member Larry Strickland During 1976 Jungle Room Recording Sessions:

Elvis Button-down Shirt

Larry Strickland was a preacher’s kid from North Carolina who taught himself how to sing after falling in love with gospel music. In 1974, he was hired by The Stamps to sing bass. During his tour with The Stamps in Las Vegas, he met Elvis, who chastised him for looking like a farmer in the denim overalls he was wearing. It was a dream come true for a boy from NC to be playing for The Stamps and Elvis, but it only got better when in 1976 during a recording session in the Jungle Room at Graceland, Larry was informed that Elvis wanted to redo his entire wardrobe and was letting all the guys choose the clothes they wanted directly from his closet. When Larry’s turn came, he went into Elvis’ bedroom closet with him and responded to everything Elvis showed him saying that he liked it and could probably get it fitted to wear, knowing full well that he would never actually wear anything that had rested on the back of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Elvis always had a flair for fashion and in ’70s high style, he ordered several custom-made shirts from I.C. Costume Company in Hollywood, California, with the high Napoleonic collar that he favored in his stage jumpsuits and the flounced puff sleeves with elastic at the bicep. Larry saved this treasured black, brown, yellow and white patterned shirt in storage for years until his wife, Naomi Judd, was selling her stage clothes for charity and Larry decided to include the shirts in the benefit auction. The men’s fashion trends of the 1970s included glam rock and disco styles, with Elvis always being at the forefront as this groovy shirt exemplifies.

A very popular item among the bidders, this shirt topped out $5,500.

 

Brown-and-White Diamond Pattern Button-Down Shirt Gifted to Stamps Member Larry Strickland During 1976 Jungle Room Recording Sessions:

Elvis Brown and White Shirt

What a thrill it must have been that night in the Jungle Room when Larry Strickland was told by Charlie that Elvis was redoing his entire wardrobe and wanted the guys to come upstairs and pick what they wanted. One by one, each went upstairs and Larry specifically recalls the “pretty surreal” experience of standing in Elvis’ bedroom closet with him having Elvis hold his own clothes up to Larry as if to see if they were a good fit. Larry went home with a jumpsuit made for daily wear rather than stage use, and the offered shirt (as well as the shirt offered in the previous lot). Elvis was known to favor this style of shirt in the ’70s and would have several of the same style in varying patterned fabrics custom made. It features the high Napoleonic collar he also favored in his stage jumpsuits and the elastic bicep band that cinched to create a flounced effect to the sleeve.

Larry left Graceland that night knowing he would never actually wear the shirts, but rather saved them in storage for years. When Larry’s wife, Naomi Judd, decided to sell some of her stage clothes for charity, the shirts were included in that benefit auction and now, after years of careful custodianship, the opportunity to own the shirt off Elvis’ back can be yours. Although this stylish brown-and-white diamond patterned shirt with button-down front and cuffs and high collar has no label, it would have been custom-made by I.C. Costume Company, Hollywood, California

This shirt had fewer bids than the previous one, and it sold for $500 less.

 

Lisa Marie Presley’s Sparkling 10+ Carat Diamond Bulgari Engagement Ring from Nicolas Cage:

Lisa Marie Ring Front View

The fabled ring that made headlines around the globe could be yours! Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley and actress/author/producer Priscilla Presley, has lived her life in fame and remained in the limelight—and in the hearts of fans—for decades. She has also followed in her famous father’s footsteps with her own musical career.

This was a romance from which fairytales are made: charming, good looking actor is thunderstruck by beautiful singer and falls quickly head-over-heels in love… a true story of love at first sight. Actor Nicolas Cage was bewitched by Lisa Marie Presley and proposed marriage one summer, with the engagement lasting a mere 10 days before vows were exchanged. It was a whirlwind romance that started when the two met at a party, but this fairytale was short-lived and their marriage lasted just over 100 days, with the two realizing that their similarly strong personalities could not be tamed, and the pair were better off simply as friends.

During their swift engagement, Nick took Lisa for a cruise on his yacht, named after his son Weston, in order to swoon his soon-to-be bride. The couple encountered some onboard storms, and in the rough waves of emotion, Lisa Marie’s engagement ring found its way overboard. Nick quickly called in a cavalry of divers to retrieve the precious stone, but their efforts were in vain and the ring remains among one of the great treasures lost at sea.

Many have ruminated over the years on the details of the events surrounding the ring’s trajectory overboard, and much press has surrounded this incident. However, with the only witnesses keeping the details secret, the particulars of this mishap will remain a mystery, and like any good tale, will continue provoking speculation for years to come.

But the story does not end there. With the wedding just days away, Nick promptly replaced the engagement ring with an even brighter and more sparkling diamond to symbolize the brilliance of his love and devotion. It was this very ring that adorned the finger of his stunning bride on their wedding day in Hawaii on August 10, 2002, and is currently being offered herewith.

Lisa Marie's Diamond Ring Side View

It is said that a “diamond is forever,” and a valuable diamond ring is a treasure for any woman. This magnificent example is legendary in its own right, with a story that will always be emblazoned in entertainment and Hollywood history. A true piece of history with a provenance, outshined perhaps only by the Hope diamond, the tale of this engagement ring from Nicolas Cage gifted to Lisa Marie Presley will certainly last as long as the prized diamond itself—forever.

This 10.44 carat, natural, fancy light yellow, cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant diamond grades SI1, measures 14.16 x 11.47 x 6.98 mm and is cradled in a 14-karat yellow gold Bulgari setting with two triangular-shaped shoulder stones with a total weight of approximately 2.90 carats and each measuring approximately 8.9 mm. The stunning ring measures size 6 1/4, weights a total of 8.6 grams and is stamped “Bulgari” inside the band. This magnificent engagement ring is accompanied by a copy of a GIA certificate numbered 2171509216 and a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation.

This Auction at Graceland included four pieces of Lisa’s jewelry, but this ring was the big one. It went for $100,000. If anyone knows what a ring of this size and quality without the Lisa Marie connection would sell for, please put that info in comments.

 

There is just a little months until the Elvis Birthday Celebration in Memphis. Don’t be surprised if the Auction at Graceland comes up with another 140+ items to bid on.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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

 

Elvis’ Fabulous Rings — Part 7

Elvis Presley's Pyramid Ring in Case

In the last two two auctions I’ve followed this year, eleven rings owned by Elvis have come up for sale. We will probably never know exactly how many he had over the years, but with this post, ElvisBlog will have covered over sixty-five in the Elvis’ Fabulous Rings series.

The first eight rings here were offered at the Julien’s Rock Icons Auction in May 2016.

 

Yellow Canary Irradiated Diamond Ring:

Elvis Presley's Yellow Canary Irrddiated Diamond Ring

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I didn’t know what irradiated diamond meant, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Who knew that bombardment by protons and deuterons via a cyclotron had anything to do with jewelry? These high-energy particles physically alter the diamond’s crystal lattice, producing more intense colors. We can imagine when Elvis first learned about irradiated diamond rings he just had to have one.

This one contains a 1.75 ct full-cut diamond surrounded with 16 round diamonds, approximately .65 cts. The ring is set in 14k yellow gold band weighing 16 grams.

The auction website estimated the ring would sell for $10-12,000. The bidding topped out at $10,000 plus the 28% auction house fee for a total cost of $12,800.

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Diamond Ring:

Elvis Presley's Diamond Ring

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Here’s a beauty with 29 round full-cut diamonds totaling 1.45 cts mounted on an oval dome.  The 14k yellow gold setting weighs 20 grams.  The pre-auction estimate was $10-12,000, but the top bidder shelled out $15,360 to get it.
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Chieftain Ring:

Elvis Presley's Chieftan Ring

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Although this ring looks like silver, it is 14k gold.  The chieftain features a round emerald accenting the headdress.  Two full-cut diamonds are his eyes, and thirteen others totaling .75 cts complete the headdress.
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Elvis Presley's Chieftain Ring -- Top View
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The auction website does not state the weight of this 14k gold ring, but it is huge.  It’s hard to see it in this photo of Elvis wearing it, but you can get an idea of the size.
 Elvis Wearing Chieftain Ring
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This is the second time the Chieftain ring has sold at Julien’s Auctions.  In 2011, the buyer paid $15,360.   It sold for $19,375 in 2016, but remember, that price includes the auction house premium.  After taking that out, the seller barely broke even.
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Three-Tiered Diamond Ring with E.P. Engraved on Interior of the Band:

Elvis Pesley's Three-Tiered Diamond Ring with E.P. Engraved on Interior of the Band
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Elvis wore this ring on stage, but he had trouble keeping it on his finger.  He handed it to bodyguard Dave Hebler during a performance at the Lake Tahoe Sahara.  When Hebler tried to return it, Elvis told him to just keep it.  Elvis was very generous giving his rings away, especially stunning ones like this.  36 round-cut diamonds totaling 2.40 grams.  And mounted on a 14k gold band weighing 24.3 grams.  We can assume the engraved E.P. on the interior of the band added to its value, and it went for $20,480.  I think if this ring had been offered at the Auction at Graceland three months later, it probably would have gone for much more.
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Diamond Circular Ring:

Elvis Presley's Diamond Circular Ring
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This is another loose-fitting ring Elvis gave to Dave Hebler.  It has seven full-cut diamonds weighing 1.05 cts.  The band is 14k gold weighing 9.8 grams.  The pre-auction estimate of $10-12,000 was right on the money as the winning bid came in at $12, 800 including the auction house premium.
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Three-Channel Diamond Ring:

Elvis Presley's Three-Channel Diamond Ring
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This ring went for the same $12,800 price as the previous one, but it seems to be a superior ring.  It contains 25 full-cut diamonds totaling 1.25 cts.  The band is 14k gold weighing 10 grams.  The reason it didn’t go for more is hinted in the auction website description.  It says it was owned by Elvis, but makes no mention that he wore it.  Because it came from the estate of his Vernon Presley, it seems like Elvis bought this ring to gift to his father.
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Kempo Karate Ring:

Elvis Presley's Kempo Karate Ring
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Not every Elvis ring at the Heritage Rock Icons Auction was a winner.  This 14k white gold ring had a pre-auction estimate price of $20-40,000, which would mean an opening bid of $10,000.  Apparently no bidder thought it was even worth that.  There are no diamonds or other jewels.  I guess nobody was that impressed with a ring showing a dueling tiger and dragon in high-relief.
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Pyramid Ring:

Elvis Presley's Pyramid Ring
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The first photo at the start of this article is another view of Elvis’ pyramid ring.  The auction website said, “With the exception of the TCB ring, this may be the most exquisite ring Elvis owned.”  They also call it oversized, and that is no exaggeration.  The 14k white-gold band weighs a staggering 47.5 grams.  Then there is a .40ct full-cut round diamond in the top of the pyramid shape.  Finally, there are 76 pavé-set diamonds covering the concave sloping sides.  Elvis wore this ring at many performances and then gave it to Dr. George Nichopoulas.
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The pre-auction estimate was $30-50,000 which seems reasonable.  For some reason, the ring did not appear in the published results.  Surely, it couldn’t have been because nobody met the minimum bid.  More likely, the owner pulled it from the auction.  In my opinion, if he waits until the next Auction at Graceland, he will get the price he is hoping for.
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Speaking of the Auction at Graceland, the most recent was held on August 14 during Elvis Week in Memphis.  I have stated before that Elvis memorabilia goes for higher prices here than at other auctions.  See what you think about these three rings.
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Black Star Sapphire Ring:

Elvis Presley's Black Star Sapphire Ring -- Side View
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Elvis liked sapphires and coin rings in particular, and several of each have been shown in the Elvis’ Fabulous Rings series.  For some reason the auction website did not list separate stats on the stone and band, but together they weighed in at 21.6 grams.  The nugget-style setting is 14k gold.
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Elvis Presley's Black star Sapphire Ring
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The pre-auction was just $10-15,000, but when the dust settled after 25 bids, this black star sapphire ring sold for $35,000.
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 1911 Indian Head Gold $2½ Coin and Diamond Ring:

Elvis Presley's 1911 Indian Head Gold $2-1/2 and Diamond Ring
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The auction website says Elvis was known to adorn his fingers with multiple rings during his performances.  Because this one is only a size 6-1/2, it would have fit on only his pinky finger.  All the other rings covered in this article were sizes between 9 and 11.  In addition to the coin, the band contains 15 grams of 14k of yellow gold.  The face of the ring is surrounded by 24 diamonds.  The pre-auction estimate was $20-25,000, but bidding topped out at a cool $40,000.
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Horsehead Ring:

Elvis Presley's Ugly Horsehead Ring
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I featured this ring in a blog post a month ago on the Auction at Graceland.  In it, I questioned the rings visual appeal and said it looked weird.   Bidders apparently thought so, too, because it went for $12,800, well below the previous two beauties.  I see a pattern where returns are better at the Auction at Graceland, but a ring still has to look good to bring in the big bucks.
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Taking a Second Look:  Back in January, in Part 6, I said, “I think this is one of the ugliest rings presented in this series.  Well, I got an email from the man who bought the ring for $16,750 at the January 2016 Auction at Graceland.   He said, “I would like to change your mind.”  And he did.
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Aztec Ring:

Elvis Aztec Ring -- Poor Views
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These are the pictures from the auction website.  The buyer insisted. “The pictures of the auction house did not do it justice.  There was not a picture from its best angle, the front!”   He sent me this.
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Elvis Presley's Aztec Ring -- Front View
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I can’t imagine why the auction house didn’t take a shot from this angle, but that omission probably enabled the buyer to get it for less.  His email said, “There is also an enormous amount of detail in the ring. Of course we have the Maya calendar God on one side, There is a complete Maya village on the top of the ring in miniature, then a big temple with in the middle the roof for the sun worship
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I can’t see all that in the photos, but I’m sure you can looking at the actual ring up close.
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Now, If the buyer of that ugly horsehead ring would send me a picture showing it from an angle making it look good, I’ll be happy to publish that, too.
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©  2016    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net
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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

A Rare Look at Elvis Screenplays

Elvis - Change of Habit - Open Script

Movie screenplays are available from a number of different sources. They offer thousands of titles, but one thing you won’t find in their listings is an Elvis screenplay.

Script Fly

Script City

Apparently Elvis collectors long ago snapped up every available copy of the scripts of his movies. So, it was quite a surprise to see nine Elvis screenplays offered at the recent Auction at Graceland. They vary greatly in price for a variety of reasons we will discuss here. They will be presented from cheapest to most expensive.

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Wild in the Country:

Elvis - Wild in the Country First Draft Script

The auction website describes this one as remarkable and a rare example of a well-used original first draft screenplay. Bidders obviously thought otherwise because no one would make the minimum bid of $600 ($750 with the Graceland premium added).

Here’s why they shied away. The shabby condition certainly was a factor. Showing signs of heavy use, it is worn along the edges and stained. It also suffered water damage, mostly confined to the cover.

Please note the date of August 7, 1958 on the cover, and the original title, The Lost Country, crossed out and Wild in the Country written in. Elvis didn’t get out of the Army until 1960, so most of the copious use this script received came before Elvis was active in the project.

Elvis - Wild In The Country Movie Poster

While this script wasn’t of much interest to Elvis fans, it may have value to students of film because it contains numerous handwritten notations and amended dialog throughout. One can see how after months (years?) of review and tweaking, an original first draft script can turn into the final version used for filming.

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Roustabout:

Elvis Movie -Roustabout Script

This script for Roustabout is the final version, so all additions, corrections, and replacements on the first working script have been incorporated. The quality is listed as near-mint.

Elvis - Roustabout Movie Poster

The auction website says this script came from a member of the film crew, so bidders knew Elvis never even touched it. The projected winning price for this Roustabout script was $1,000-1,500, but it generated only the minimum bid of $600 (plus 25%).

 

Stay Away Joe:

Elvis - Stay Away, Joe Script

The next three screenplays sold for $938 ($750 plus premium), which was a good bit below the estimate of $1,000 – $1,500. Also, there were only two bids placed on each of them, presumably by the same two people in each case.

Elvis - Stay Away Joe Movie Poster

The auction website spent more space talking about the movie Stay Away, Joe than the screenplay. They did explain that it is a later-phase final script with evolution evidenced by “the plethora of blue replacement sheets, used when changes were made, to avoid having to reprint entire scripts and actors having to transcribe their personal notations.”

Blue Pages in Elvis' Stay Away Joe Script

Blue replacement sheet on left, original white script page on right.

 

Follow That Dream:

Elvis Presley - Follow That Dream Script

Screenplays ae not usually put in a hardback book cover, but this mint-condition version of Follow That Dream was for some reason.

Elvis - Follow That Dream Movie Poster
The interior cover tells us a few interesting things. The number 172 in the upper right corner indicates the large number of copies made of this script. Any number of production and support personnel get copies, not just the actors. You can see the original title was Pioneer, Go Home, with the change to Follow That Dream (Release Title) hand-written above it.

Elvis - Follow That Dream Final Script

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Double Trouble:

Elvis - Double Trouble Final Script

This script for Double Trouble has the same tan-colored cover we will see several times in this post. We are told a sticker reading “All the King’s Things” is affixed to the inside back page, but it is not explained and no photo is included. The condition is listed as Very Good to Excellent.

Elvis -Double Trouble 3

One thing of note is the message at the top of the cover: “Please do not lose or destroy this script. Return to Script Department.”

Double Trouble - Close up

Most of the screenplay copies in the auction had a similar notation, sometimes on the inside cover. The studios tried to keep their scripts from leaking out or going missing, but whoever had copy # 133 of Double Trouble got around the rule.

 

King Creole:

Elvis - King Creole Early Production Screenplay

The next two screenplays sold for $1,500 including the premium, but there doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason for the price jump. This King Creole script did at least have Elvis’ name written on it, but it isn’t stated that he wrote it, so it’s a safe assumption that it was someone else.

Elvis - King Creole Movie Poster

As you can see on the script cover, the title was originally A Stone for Danny Fisher, the same as the title of the Harold Robbins novel it was adapted from.

A Stone for Danny Fisher

That’s not the only thing that changed.

“The story of A Stone for Danny Fisher featured Danny as a boxer in a suburb of Brooklyn, New York. The film was originally written for James Dean, but then it was shelved after his untimely death in September of 1955. In 1957, the idea of the film was resurrected and adjusted for the lead to be played by the wildly popular star, Elvis Presley. The character of Danny was converted from a boxer to a musician, changed to being set in New Orleans and the title was adjusted to King Creole.”

“This working script was truer to the original story than the final version, as Danny dies on the last page, but this was later changed for the film. Perhaps this change was a result of the reaction to Elvis’ character Clint dying in the end of Love Me Tender.”

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Clambake:

Elvis - Clambake Script

I’m not sure what made this copy of the Clambake script worth more money than others we’ve looked at, except that it is mint condition. It did get ten bids, so some additional people were interested in it compared to the previous scripts at this auction.

Elvis - Clambake Movie Poster

Elvis -Clambake Script Open

With the blue cover open, we see the kind of information script covers usually contain.

 

Live A Little, Love A Little:

Elvis - Live A Little Script

It is easy to see why the top bid on this one went to $2,500 – Elvis’ signature on the cover. The auction website states this original production script was Elvis’ personal working copy. But it also sates: “There is a secretarial Elvis signature on the front cover of this script and someone has added the handwritten notation “(I’m Coming)” under the novel’s title in pencil (it cannot be determined if this is in Elvis’ hand).”

Does that mean a secretary signed his name? If so, she did a pretty good job.

Elvis - Live A Little Movie Poster

 

Change of Habit:

1969 Change of Habit Production Script Signed by Elvis Presley

There is no question why this was the winner for top bid among the screenplays offered at the Auction at Graceland. Just under the Change of Habit title, you can see Elvis’ signature.

Elvis and Barbara McNair

This script is attributed to Barbara McNair, one of Elvis’ costars. Her name is on script cover (shown in the first image of this post), it appears she had a little signing party when filming completed. In addition to Elvis, she got Mary Tyler Moore, Jane Elliot and director William A Graham sign her script. Here’s a look at Elvis’ message to her with some of the adjacent verbiage cut out.

Elvis' message to Barbara McNair

The script and autographs had value added with the inclusion of two copies of shooting call sheets dated April 18, 1969 (the 28th day of shooting) on which sets are listed with the actors’ names and handwritten costume notes.

Elvis Movie Change of Hhabit Poster

If all that wasn’t enough, Change of Habit was Elvis’ last theatrical film, so that probably added some sentimental value and boosted the winning bid up to $4,000, well above the auction estimate.

 

 

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Interesting Items at the Latest Auction at Graceland

Elvis Presley Signed Guitar Case

The Auction at Graceland continues to grow and cement its position as the best place to sell your Elvis collectibles. In addition to bringing buyers and sellers together, EPE has introduced another attraction to bring folks to Elvis Week. From just 72 items at the first auction in August 2014, the list of memorabilia grew to 197 lots in the recent August 13, 2016 extravaganza in Memphis.

For the first time that I’m aware of, a nice group of Elvis movie scripts were offered to the public. We will look at these separately in another post in a few weeks. Most of the Elvis autographs, rings, and apparel sold at this auction will show up later as ElvisBlog continues its three popular series on these items of special interest. But that still leaves plenty of goodies to cover here now.

Signed and Inscribed Guitar Case:

 

Elvis' Autographed Guitar Case

This autographed hard-shell acoustic guitar case has an interesting story. Elvis loved to ride horses, and, in February 1967, he purchased a 163-acre ranch just across the Mississippi state line, naming it “Circle G” after Graceland. Later that year, an auction was held to sell off some excess equipment along with a few personal belongings of Elvis. Two young ladies named Peggy Ferrell and Diana Hoover, roommates at the time, attended this auction. Peggy bid $15 on the battered guitar case, said to be one of the first owned by Elvis.

Somehow, the girls were able to get Elvis to sign the case, “To Peggy and Diana from Elvis Presley” with a bold marker on the inside bottom felt.

Article on the girls with Elvis' Guitar Case

Article on the girls with Elvis’ Guitar Case

Forty-five years later, at an October 2012 Heritage auction, the case sold for $5,000. Fast forward four years, and this signed guitar case sold for $9,375 at the Auction at Graceland. That includes the 25% percent premium for Graceland. The net of $7,500 for the seller made a cool $2,500 profit.

This is a good example of how the Auction at Graceland has raised the bid prices for Elvis memorabilia. Still, scoring a profit doesn’t happen every time, and there has even been a few cases where the resell lost money for the owner. It must be an intriguing mystery to figure out what items are underpriced and could payoff later like this guitar case did.

 

Elvis Tonight – 8:00 p.m. Banner:

Elvis Tonight Banner

This has to be the biggest piece of Elvis memorabilia ever reported on this blog. The new owner better have a huge wall to mount it on, because it measures 4 x 19 feet. But the banner has two other things going for it. It was was produced to hang outside the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine for Elvis’ concert on August 17, 1977. It was to be the first stop on a new tour. Elvis never made it, of course, dying the day before.

Elvis Tonight Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland ME

The second feature adding value to the banner is that it was used during the making of the 1981 film This Is Elvis. The film’s director had it hung above the door to the Civic Center just as it would have appeared on the day Elvis was supposed to play. The photo above is from the movie.

This was a high interest item with 25 total bids running the price up to $4,250.

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Huge Elvis Signatures:

Huge Elvis Presley's Signatures

While we are talking huge Elvis goodies, check out this panel with four autographs. It measures 8-3/4” wide by 17-1/4: long, plus the matting and frame. Col. Parker apparently had Elvis create them as artwork for posters, menus, photo albums, postcards, album covers, etc.

Five Inch Elvis Presley's Signature

This signature measures almost five inches wide, possibly one of the largest Elvis signatures in existence. The Best Wishes Elvis Presley inscription is almost six inches wide.

Some well-heeled Elvis autograph collector shelled out $6,000 for this unique collectible.

 

1971 Colt Lawman MKIII .357 Magnum Revolver:

Elvis' 1971 Colt Lawman MKIII .357 Magnum Revolver

What would an Elvis auction be without at least one firearm? The bidding on the Colt .357 Magnum topped out at $20,000. The auction website says, “Perhaps never again will one see such a mountain of evidence attesting to a gun being owned and used by Elvis Presley.”

Federal Firearms Acquisition and Disposition Record for Elvis' Colt Magnum

This proof of Elvis’ ownership is the Federal Firearms Acquisition and Disposition Record completed by Frontier Gun Shop when Elvis bought the pistol. It contains the gun’s model and serial number, plus Elvis’ name and Beverly Hills address. This is so solid it makes the accompanying letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated almost superfluous.

 

Horsehead Ring:

The Auction at Graceland Horse Head Ring

Elvis must have really liked horse head rings, because at least three have been reported here after sales at auctions. To my eye, this one has nowhere near the visual appeal as the other two. See what you think.

Horse Head Ring - Christie's 2001 !8,000

Sold at Christie’s Auction in 2001 for $18,800

 

Elvis' Horse Head Ring - Julien's oct 2010

Sold at Julien’s Auction in 2010

While these other rings were loaded with diamonds, the one at the Auction at Graceland had just a single ruby for the horse’s eye. Unfortunately, there was no photograph offered taken. from the top, which might have given a better idea of what the ring looks like.

Elvis' Horsehear Ring - Alt View

This view doesn’t do much except reinforce the idea that it’s a very weird ring. No wonder Elvis gave it away to bodyguard Sam Thompson. It sold for $12,500, but two other outstanding rings at the Auction at Graceland sold for $35,000 and $40,000.

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Elvis Presley Birth Record Document from Delivering Physician:

Elvis Presley Birth Record Document

This item is so unique that the auction website offered a short video from the previous owner to tell the story of how he acquired it back in 1994. The person is actor John Corbett, who made reference in the video to his roles in Northern Exposure and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He did not relate how much he paid for it, but it certainly had to be less than the $80,000 it sold for this time. Note that Elvis’ name is spelled wrong.

Article of Elvis Presley's Birth Doctor

Included with the birth record was a newspaper article on Dr. Robert Hunt, who was primarily a birth doctor for the poor rural families of northern Mississippi from 1913 until the early 50s. He brought 1,845 babies into existence, and Elvis was number 920. The delivery cost $15.

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1973 American Express Card:

Elvis' American Express Card

This is another item John Corbett put up for sale at the auction, but he did not make a profit on it. The website says he paid nearly $60,000 for it in 1994, but brought only $37,500 this time. On the video, Corbett admits he got carried away bidding against the Hard Rock Café who had considerably deeper pockets than his.

Elvis' American Express Card - Back

Of course, the card had Elvis’ signature on the back, but as we have seen, the value of his autograph varies widely depending on what item he signed.

 

Loving You Pants:

Elvis' Loving You Pants

Elvis apparel is always popular at the auctions, especially if photos are available showing Elvis wearing an item of clothing. That is certainly the case with these western-style pants he wore in the movie Loving You.

Double Elvis in Loving You Outfit

Elvis Seated Wearing Loving You Pants

It also helps if the clothing has labels sewn in that have Elvis’ name on them. Although ELVIS PRESLEY is faded here, it can be made out with the naked eye.

Nudie's Label with Elvis' Name inside Loving You Pants

The website made it a point to say that Elvis actually wore these pants during filming. I suspect this was because the wardrobe department produced extra back-up pairs that didn’t get worn. One of these showed up at the Heritage Ultimate Elvis Auction in 2010, and it sold for over $20,000. Now the pair of pants he actually did wear just went for $42,500.

 

Cuff Links:

Elvis Cuff Links

Elvis’ cufflinks do not show up at auctions very often, so this pair generated heavy bidding and topped out at $8,750. I am perplexed at this high price because the cuff links are not the kind of fine jewelry Elvis usually bought. The metal is not gold; it is called goldtone. The inlay is faux mother-of-pearl, and the stone in the center is a rhinestone, not a diamond.

Maybe the bidders were encouraged by a cute story concerning the cuff links. Over the years, Elvis gave many gifts to friend and back-up singer J.D. Sumner. Some were serious valuable items, others were just for fun. Sumner had so many of these that ultimately he hung them on a faux ficus tree in his office. It became known as the Elvis Tree, and these cuff links dangled from it for years until Sumner passed away.

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Hilton Hotel Hanging Banner:

Hilton Hotel Blue Elvis Hanging Banner

We opened with a banner, so we’ll close with another. At 6-1/2 x 36 inches (12 x 44 framed), it is much smaller, but it sold for more money. There were 31 bids placed on this banner, more than any other item, and it topped out at $6,000.

Elvis Hilton Hotel Show Invitation

The banner was a clever invitation to Elvis’ concert that night, and it had a RSVP envelope enclosed. I wonder what it took to be on the guest list of those who received this banner/invitation.

 

The Auction at Graceland

Next week we’ll take a look at Elvis movie scripts from the auction. Down the road, we’ll cover the autographs, rings, and clothing.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

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It’s the Busy Season for Auctions of Elvis Memorabilia

Elvis Wearing Painted Leather Coat

In spite of the outstanding success of the Auctions at Graceland in January and August, there are good opportunities to purchase Elvis collectibles in between. Julien’s Auctions had one in May, Heritage has one coming up in June, and Gotta Have Rock & Roll has one scheduled for July.

Julien's Music Icons 2016

All three of these are general rock & roll memorabilia auctions featuring many artists, but they have great selections of Elvis goodies for serious collectors to bid on. The recent Julien’s Music Icons Auction had 84 Elvis items, and we will look at some of the more interesting ones here.

 

Painted Leather Jacket:

 

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather Jacket

 

If I were rich, this is the Elvis collectible I would most love to own. It is cool beyond belief, both front and back, and it comes with a photo of Elvis wearing it.

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather Jacket - Back

Starting with a silver leather jacket, which is pretty cool by itself, an artist commissioned by the East West Musical Instrument Co in 1974 added multicolor flame, rainbow, and star designs. Plus a hawk on the back. My twisted mind even sees ascending sperm. Absolutely fantastic, and it sold for $50,000 (including the 25% fee the auction house adds).

 

1961 Black Mohair Suit from Lansky Bros:

Elvis Presley Black Mohair Suit from Lansky Bros

Here’s more Elvis clothing. Not as splashy, but there is much photographic documentation of Elvis wearing it on formal occasions in 1961: a luncheon at the Hotel Claridge in Memphis when he was presented with a plaque from RCA for record sales in excess of 75 million; in Nashville when he addressed the Tennessee state legislature; and in Oahu, Hawaii while there for the USS Arizona Memorial benefit concert. It sold for $28,125.

 

Waltham Pocket Watch:

Elvis Presley's Waltham Pocket Watch

 

This 21-jewel pocket watch is set in 14k gold and is attached to a gold-filled chain with fob and locket.

Elvis Presley's Waltham Pocket Watch - Inscription

As you can see, the inscription on the back is To… Elvis from Michele. This is Michele Carey, his co-star in Live A Little, Love A Little. There’s no telling what she paid for it in 1968, but it sold at auction in 2016 for $8,320.

 

Medieval Knight Figurines:

Medieval Knight Figurines from Elvis Presley's Graceland

These are plastic figurines that were displayed somewhere in Graceland. There are no photos showing them on a table or shelf in one of the rooms. All that was offered as proof that they once were in Elvis’ house are Letters of Authenticity from two collectors who previously owned the pair of knights. That wouldn’t be enough for me, but somebody paid $1,600 for them.

 

Decorative Stone Egg:

Stone Egg from Elvis Presley's Graceland

Here’s another cute item that’s a little light on verification. The auction website says, “The orange, brown and white oval stone is believed to have been displayed in the living room in Graceland.” Believed! Just a Letter of Authenticity from one of the two collectors mentioned above with the knights. Still, it was worth $625 to somebody.

 

Gibson Dove Guitar:

Elvis Presley Gibson Dove Guitar

Without question, this was the star of the show. I can’t tell the story of this guitar any better than the auction website did, so here it is:

Gibson Dove Guitar Text

The pre-auction estimate was $200-300,000, but the bidding beat that and topped out at $334,000. The guitar has a solid spruce top, maple back and sides, custom ebony finish with Kanpo decal, and gold-plated tuners. The most distinctive feature is the 21-fret fingerboard with customized Elvis Presley pearlized inlay.

Elvis Playing Gibson Custom Guitar Dove

If you look back at the first picture of the guitar, you can see pearlized dove’s heads on either side of the bridge, thus the model name Gibson Dove.

 

Brown Leather Jacket:

Elvis Presley Brown Leather Jacket

This three-quarter length brown leather jacket went for $5,120. It would have certainly gone for more money if it had been accompanied by a photo of Elvis wearing it. The auction website says Elvis gave the coat to Memphis Mafia member Dave Hebler when he helped Elvis clean out his closet. Hebler should have photographed Elvis wearing it before taking possession.

 

Baby Browning Semi-automatic Pistol:

Elvis Baby Browning Semi-Automatic Pistol

This Belgium–made pistol is only 6.35mm caliber, and has a two-inch barrel, so, the Baby Browning name is a good choice. According to the auction website, Elvis carried this gun in his boot during his Las Vegas engagements. It exceeded the pre-auction estimate by a lot, topping out at $7,680.

 

Personalized Sunglasses:

Elvis Presley's Personalized Sunglasses

It seems like a pair of Elvis sunglasses shows up at just about every auction. He certainly did have a bunch of them made over the years. These are a bit different than most because they are chrome, not gold, and I don’t remember seeing this treatment before. Perhaps that (plus the accompanying photo of him wearing them) is why they sold so well, bringing in $28,000.

Elvis Preslet Personalized Sunglasses - Wearing

 

Can of Suede Spray:

Elvis Presley Used Suede Spray

We will end this post with four examples of what fans on a budget will pay for Elvis memorabilia. The four items all were originally obtained from Nancy Rooks, the maid and cook at Graceland from 1967 until Elvis’ death. According to her LOA, Elvis used this spray can. Somebody was willing to pay $256 for something that Elvis actually touched.

 

Ballpoint Pen:

Elvis Presley Used Pen

The website says Elvis gave the pen to Nancy Rooks when it ran out of ink. It also brought $256.

 

Hawaiian Lei:

Elvis Presley Hawaiian Lei

Elvis brought this lei made of artificial flowers back from one of his trips to Hawaii and gave it to Nancy Rooks. The auction house estimated it would go for $6-800, but nobody else thought it was worth that.

 

The Worst Elvis Memorabilia Ever:

Elvis Presley Jockey Underwear

Yes, it’s true. People will pay good money for Elvis’ underwear. The action website says they were a gift from Elvis’ Aunt Delta, and they are size 36. Note that ELVIS is written on the waistband, presumably so they don’t get mixed up with anybody else’s. I’m just guessing, but I can’t imagine Elvis allowing the underwear of any other male to be washed with his. Anyway, it sold for $2,560.

 

The Julien’s Rock Icon Auction contained nine Elvis rings and a bunch of autographed items. We will look at all them all at a later date,

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Elvis’ Fabulous Rings — Part 5

Five Elvis Rings

The previous four articles in this series required a lot of legwork. I would find one or two rings at different auctions or websites, and over time would have enough to fill a post. This time, I’m lucky. The recently completed Auction at Graceland had eight fabulous Elvis rings, and six beat the estimates.

Let’s take a look at them, in ascending order of winning bid prices.

 

Diamond and Gold Ring Elvis Presley gave to Leilani Parker, Wife of Ed Parker:

Elvis Ring 1

The auction website calls this a beautiful lady’s ring, but I received an email from Paul Bennion, the successful bidder. He says it was actually a pinky ring that Elvis wore. The website says Elvis gave numerous gifts to Ed Parker and his wife Leilani over the years, and Elvis probably gave this ring to her in 1974. The new owner says it is definitely one of Elvis’ personal rings because, “I purchased one of his pinky rings from Juliens Auction with only one small diamond but exactly same design.” He is now actively looking for photos of Elvis wearing it.

If he does find that proof, it will be, as he says, “the steal of the auction.” I will agree, because the ring contains 21 clustered diamonds, weighing approximately 4.0 carats. It sold for $9,000 plus 25% fee = $11,250.

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Large Black Sapphire Ring Elvis gave to Sam Thompson:

Elvis Ring 2

Here’s another example of Elvis’ legendary generosity. Sam Thompson, the brother of Elvis’ girlfriend Linda Thompson, was Elvis’ bodyguard for several years in the 70s. Here’s the interesting story about how Elvis gave this ring to him.

“He was with Elvis on the way to a show in the car, and Elvis decided he didn’t like the feel of this ring on his finger. He asked Sam to hold onto it for him and said something to the effect of, “And don’t lose it, coz it’s pure gold!” Sam put it safely in his pocket but felt uneasy all during the show. Afterwards, Sam tried to hand the ring back to Elvis, expressing his concerns about losing it since it was made of pure gold. Elvis said something like, “And you really believed what I said about that stupid ol’ ring? Keep it, it’s yours.” Only later did Sam notice that, while not “pure” gold, the ring was stamped “90%!”

So, Sam ended up with a 22 karat gold ring weighing approximately 16.5 grams, with a large black sapphire and an ornate shank design reminiscent of a fleur-de-lis. It sold above the estimate at $16,000 plus 25% fee = $20,000.

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Ring Gifted by Elvis Presley to Ken Hicks of the Stamps:

Elvis Ring 3

This ring was never worn by Elvis, so I had doubts that it would make the pre-auction estimate, and it didn’t. The nugget-style Stamps ring was one of six made by Lowell Hays for Elvis, who gave the them to each of the members of the Stamps vocal group, which sang backup for Elvis during the 1970s. This ring was given to Ken Hicks, who sang bass for the Stamps and later became Elvis’ personal valet in January 1972.

It is a large gaudy ring in the shape of a grand piano with the “S” of word Stamps in the form of a treble clef. The “S” is composed of approximately 29 single-cut diamonds along with 2 larger diamonds to the left and 5 diamonds to the right with a total weight of approximately 0.75 carat. So, although Elvis never wore it, the ring sold for $18,000 plus 25% fee = $22,500.

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Ornate Diamond and Gold Ring Gifted by Elvis Presley to Ed Parker, His Karate Instructor and Bodyguard:

Elvis Ring 5

Here’s another ring with a very brief history of being on his finger. The auction website said Ed Parker and Elvis knew each other nearly 20 years, and that a gift of this magnitude was one of the many ways Elvis tried to show how much he treasured their friendship. In Ed’s book Inside Elvis, he recounts receiving the ring:

“In March of 1974, we were in Beverly Hills visiting his doctor when Elvis decided to visit a jewelry store as well. He examined a few rings, necklaces, and pins and asked my opinion about some of them. He tried a few more rings on and then asked for a special ring he had ordered for himself. It was astounding. It featured 20 diamonds set in white platinum with the remaining portion of the ring in yellow gold. Holding the ring you were struck by its bulk and weight and magnificence. He asked my opinion about his taste in jewelry. He said it was to be a present for himself. I commented that it was ruggedly masculine, a magnificent piece. He then asked me to try it on, and as I looked at him I immediately recognized that unmistakable look in his eyes. Sure enough when he discovered that the ring fit my left pinkie finger, he announced that it was my birthday present from him. As we got into his limousine, I kept examining and admiring the ring. His features then broadened into another of his familiar facial expressions—one of contentment and happiness.”

Nice story. And nice ring. It weighs 34 grams and the 20 diamonds are approximately four carats. It sold for $20,000 plus 25% fee = $25,000.

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Elvis Presley-Worn Pinky Ring Gifted to Sam Thompson:

Elvis Ring 6

This is the second Auction at Graceland ring Elvis gave to Sam Thompson, and it went well beyond the estimate. For one thing, it is a ring Elvis bought for himself and wore it. Here’s what Sam Thompson said in his Letter of Authenticity.

“In June of 1977, just before we left for the CBS TV Special, Elvis gave me a ring after I admired it. The ring is 14K yellow gold, nugget style, about size 10 (he had it on his pinkie finger with lots of band aids around it), with one large clear stone and 3 smaller clear stones.”

Another example of how Elvis would often spontaneously give his personal items away if someone simply admired them. How could you not admire a nugget-style, 14-karat gold ring set with three small diamonds and one larger diamond? It sold for well over the estimate at $20,000 plus 25% = $25,000

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Gold and Diamond Ring Flanked With Initials E and P:

Elvis Ring 7

The pre-auction estimate on this beautiful ring was way off at $10-15,000. The size 7 gold pinky ring contains 15 round diamonds. But the big appeal is the engraved E and P on the sides. Additional proof that the ring belonged to Elvis is a Letter of Authenticity from Richard Davis, his friend, wardrobe manager and movie stand in. Davis seems to have been the recipient of the most clothing and jewelry of any member of Elvis’ inner circle. Items Elvis gifted to him have been showing up at auctions for years.

There were no photos of Elvis wearing the ring offered along with it. In fact, none of the eight Elvis rings had supporting photos. This one sold for $22,000 plus 25% fee = $27,500.

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Gold Owl-Shaped Ring Gifted to a Fan:

Elvis Ring 4

This ring is 14-karat yellow gold has black sapphire eyes, five tiny diamonds, and a total weight of 21 grams. The best thing about it is the story of how Elvis gave it away to Connie Murray after a concert at Lake Tahoe in May 1973.

“…On the particular night I received this ring, I was sitting stage side and Elvis’ girlfriend at the time, Linda Thompson, was sitting near me. During the show Elvis threw out a red scarf. My friend had it in her hands when another girl grabbed a hold to take claim of it. Neither one of them were going to give it to the other, so I took the scarf and ripped it in half and gave each of them a half. I believe that Elvis saw this gesture and at the end of the show he went along the stage shaking hands. He then came over and motioned for me to stand up so I did. He leaned over and gave me a kiss as he took my hand and put the ring in it. I said you dropped this in my hand. He smiled and bowed with his cape wide open and said, ‘No I gave it to you.’”

The torn scarf and a newspaper clipping about Elvis’ fabled generosity at this encounter were included with the ring. It sold for well above the estimate at $26,000 plus 25% fee = $32,500.

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Gold Ring With Diamonds and Tourmaline Worn by Elvis Presley and Gifted to Linda Thompson:

Elvis Ring 8

Here is the big winner among the eight rings offered at the August 13, 2015 Auction at Graceland. According to the auction website, the18-karat yellow gold, diamond and tourmaline ring was worn by Elvis and then given to his girlfriend Linda Thompson. After that, the history of this ring gets weird. Linda said she donated it to the Elvis Presley Museum in Memphis. Then, the tabloid National Enquirer somehow gained possession of the ring. On the tenth anniversary of Elvis’ passing, the paper featured the ring as a prize in a contest for one lucky reader to win.

Elvis Ring Contest in National Enquirer

The winner of the wildly popular contest was a woman from Texas. Next, a Texas oilman purchased the ring directly from her. Then, Brown Humphries, who owned a construction company that was doing work in Texas won the ring from the oilman in a poker game. Then the current owner obtained the ring and put it in the auction.

The ring weighs approximately 21.5 grams, has 20 round diamonds weighing approximately 1.75 carats, 22 marquise-cut green tourmalines, and one large, dark-colored, radiant-cut center tourmaline. It sold for 38,000 plus 25% fee = $47,500.

 

 

To real all of the ElvisBlog articles on Elvis’ Fabulous Rings, click here.

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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The 3rd Auction at Graceland – How ElvisBlog did Handicapping the Pricey Items Estimates

Five days before the recent Auction at Graceland, ElvisBlog looked at the pre-auction estimates for the fourteen most pricey items. Predictions were made on whether they would miss the estimated range, make it, or exceed it.  Scroll down to the items and see how smart the calls were.

Items on Display in Car Museum

This is just a few of the 174 items in the third Auction at Graceland on August 13. EPE wisely put them on advance display at the Elvis Car Museum, giving the fans another incentive to visit Elvis Week. While most people will be just lookers, there is a small core of dedicated Elvis memorabilia collectors with deep pockets that must be drooling over the chance to buy some of the top-drawer items.

The auction websites always list an estimated price range for each item. I typically study these and make my guess whether items will miss, make it, or surpass these estimates. It’s fun to do, but frustrating because I am so often wrong. In other areas, too.

Viva Elvis Logo

I predicted that the Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas would be named TCB.

 

Elvis - 68 Comeback Elvis

I predicted the second Elvis Stamp would feature a ’68 Comeback Special image.

 

Elvis MarchMovieMadness

And I picked King Creole as the winner of the fan voting for Elvis’ best movie. (That’s the Way It Is won)

 

So, I will boldly push ahead with my auction predictions and will probably be embarrassed again. Here are the ten most expensive items at the Auction at Graceland (not counting rings, which will be covered separately at a later date).

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Elvis Presley’s Personal Walther Model PPK/S 9mm Kurz Handgun:

Elvis Presley's Personal Walther Model PPK-S 9mm Kurz Handgun

This model handgun makes a pretty special collectible for a number of technical reasons. But its value is greatly enhanced by what Elvis had done to personalize it. Take a close look at the nickel barrel, trigger guard and the medallion in the center of the grip. You can see the intricately engraved “Elvis” on the barrel. It may be difficult to see, but the grip medallion sports Elvis’ emblem “TCB” and the lightning bolt. There is a ton of other information about this pistol on the auction website.

Estimate: $100,000 – $125,000

ElvisBlog Prediction – It will make the estimate.

What happened:  Didn’t make the estimate.  Sold for $50,000.

 

Jacket from the Viva Las Vegas Dance Scene with Ann-Margret:

Elvid' Jacket from the Viva Las Vegas Dance Scene with Ann-Margret

I have often commented on how people could sell their Elvis collectible for more money if it were offered in a proper presentation. Well, this item takes presentation to a new level. The auction website says:

“The jacket is presented in an elaborate framed display which features three stills from the dance scene, a reproduced portion of a Viva Las Vegas movie poster, and a small plaque that reads, “ELVIS PRESLEY Personally Owned & Worn Sports Coat Featured in the Movie ‘Viva Las Vegas.'” The large title “Viva Las Vegas” carved in the matting anchors the presentation, and the multi-colored circles along the border provide a stylized “Vegas Lights” framing.”

Coat Label - Elvis' World's Fair Suit

As you can see, the owner removed the coat’s Sy Devore label and displayed it on the front for more impact.

Seldom does an item description on an auction website go into prose like this:

“It’s a scene that captured Elvis at the peak of his powers, with all of his talents on display for the big screen audience, where he’s finally paired with a star who everyone on set considered to be his almost-perfect match in intensity and larger-than-life persona: Ann-Margret. They move across the stage with wild abandon as Elvis sings “C’mon Everybody.” The two work themselves up, over and around to the point where they finish in a heap on the stage floor.”

Elvis wearing the Jacket from the Viva Las Vegas Dance Scene with Ann-Margret

Estimate: $30,000 – $50,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will make the estimate.

What happened?  Bidding went up to $28,000, then auctioneer stopped and said they would pass on the item.  Strange, because the minimum bid was only $15,000 and they got within $2,000 if the estimate.

 

Signed Hollow Body Electric Guitar:

Hollow Body Electric Guitar Signed by Elvis and Col. Parker

Elvis guitars always bring big bucks at auctions, but I’m skeptical on this one. It is a six-string Conrad hollow body double-cutaway electric guitar, model 40185. Elvis never owned it. A fan brought it backstage on New Year’s Eve 1976 in Pittsburgh, and Elvis obliged him by signing it.

Signatures by Elvis and Col. Parker onHollow Body Electric Guitar

The signature below Elvis’ is Col. Tom Parker. The auction website says. “The addition of Colonel Parker’s signature to this example has left us with a truly superior artifact.” For my money, it would be worth more without it.

Estimate: $25,000 – $35,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: Won’t make the estimate.

What happened:  Withdrawn a few days before the auction.  No reason given.

 

“TCB” Smith & Wesson .38 Caliber Pistol – Gifted to a TWA Pilot:

TCB Smith & Wesson .38 Caliber Pistol - Gifted to a TWA Pilot

This 1969 Smith & Wesson Model 36 .38 caliber pistol has an interesting backstory about Elvis giving it to a TWA captain. Here what the auction website says:

“In late December 1970 he was working a flight from Baltimore to Kansas City when he was informed that a VIP passenger was on board with a firearm. Elvis was brought to the cockpit to meet the captain at which time he explained that he had just been in Washington, D.C. to meet with President Nixon. He related that as a result of that meeting he was now cleared to carry a concealed weapon on the flight. Elvis had just acquired his Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (forerunner to the DEA) badge during his now famous meeting with the President, and this is most likely what he showed the captain. The captain acquiesced to Elvis’ request, and even went so far as to smooth it over with the captain of Elvis’ connecting flight in Kansas City. As a gesture of thanks, Elvis presented the captain with the weapon here offered. One interesting point to consider is that since Elvis was returning from his meeting with President Nixon when he met the TWA captain, it is certainly possible that he was wearing this very weapon when he entered the White House that fateful day.”

Close Up of TCB on Elvis' Smith & Wesson .38 Caliber Pistol

Elvis had the .38 caliber nickel-plated gun’s custom black pearl grip emblazoned with his personal “TCB” logo and lightning bolt.

Estimate: $25,000 – $30,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will exceed the estimate by a lot.

What happened:  Did not make the estimate.  Sold for $17,000.

 

“TCB” Diamond and Gold Necklace Gifted To Sammy Davis Jr.:

TCB Diamond and Gold Necklace Elvis Gifted To Sammy Davis Jr

This is the first of two TCB necklaces offered at this auction. Elvis must have given away a bunch of them over the years, and they have been prominent features at many auctions. This one is a little different in that the 14-karat yellow gold of the T-C-B pendant is black enameled. (Why would you cover up gold?). The lightning bolt has fifteen diamond with a total weight of 0.60 carats, and the necklace chain measures approximately 36 inches.

Elvis and Sammy Davis Jr.

Elvis gave this pendant to Sammy Davis Jr. in 1973. The website goes on at some length about their friendship. Copies of five photogaphs of Davis and Elvis together are included in the lot, but none of them show him wearing the pendant.

Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will beat the estimate.

What happened:  Beat the estimate.  Sold for $32,000.

 

Million Dollar Quartet Signed Guitar with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis Signatures:

Million Dollar Quartet Signed Guitar with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis Signatures

Why would you want a guitar signed by Elvis and Col. Parker, when for less money you could get one signed by all four members of the Million Dollar Quartet? Especially when this guitar comes in such an outstanding presentation.

Elvis Signature on Million Dollar Quartet Guitar

Here’s the short story on this guitar. A woman got Elvis to sign it in the mid-70s, and her son got the other three autographs roughly two decades later. Click here for the full story.

Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will beat the estimate by a lot.

What happened:  Withdrawn before the auction.  Looks to me like some big collector of Elvis guitars made a couple of private deals.

 

1956 Double-Signed Transfer Agreement Moving 15 Songs to Gladys Music:

1956 Elvis Presley Double-Signed Transfer Agreement Moving 15 Songs to Gladys Music

This legal agreement has Elvis’ signature twice, which is rare. The auction website certainly thinks it will bring twice as much as another document with just one autograph. The agreement spelled out the transfer of songs from Elvis Presley Music to Gladys Music. Click here to try and understand what that was all about.

1956 Elvis Presley Double-Signed Transfer Agreement Moving 15 Songs to Gladys Music - P.2

You will note that there are seven songs we have never heard Elvis sing. Are there lost recordings of them somewhere?

Estimate: $20,000-30,000.

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will not make the estimate.

What happened:  Did not make the estimate.  Sold for $10,000.

 

Suit Worn by Elvis Presley in It Happened at the World’s Fair:

Suit Worn by Elvis Presley in It Happened at the World's Fair

Most of the clothing Elvis owned was flashy, colorful, and eye-catching. This dark charcoal-colored suit is not. The difference is that this suit was movie, not personal, wardrobe.

Coat Label - Elvis' World's Fair Suit

It does have the Sy Devore label that says Elvis Presley on it, and there are certainly plenty of photos of Elvis wearing it, both of which add value.

Elvis Wearing Suit from World's Fair

Still, if I had this kind of money to buy Elvis clothing, I’d spend it on the flashy stuff that he actually owned and wore in real life.

Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will make the estimate.

What happened:  Made the estimate.  Sold for $20,000.

 

Purple Velour Shirt from the 1966 RCA Pocket Calendar:

Elvis' Purple Velour Shirt from the 1966 RCA Pocket Calendar

According to the auction website, this purple velour shirt with Sy Devore labels was worn by Elvis in photo shoots in the mid 1960’s. Perhaps other photos of him wearing it don’t exist anymore, because all that accompanies it in the display is a picture on the 1966 RCA pocket calendar.

Pocket Calendar Picture of Elvis

You know I am big on properly displaying Elvis collectibles, and this is a good one. I like the way the waistband on the bottom front of the shirt is lifted up to show the label with Elvis’ name on it. However, it does seem strange to have two color photos in the display of him not wearing the shirt.

Estimate: $10,000 – 15,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will beat the estimate.

What happened:  Made the estimate.  Sold for $10,000.

.

“TCB” Gold Necklace Gifted to Richard Davis by Elvis Presley:

TCB Gold Necklace Gifted to Richard Davis by Elvis Presley

Elvis first thought up the design for his TCB/lightning bolt pendant in 1970, and that October he bought 22 of them from jeweler Sol Schwartz of Beverly Hills. They were entirely 14k yellow gold, no diamonds.

LOA from Richard Davis on TCB Pendant

Elvis gave this particular one to Richard Davis, who has his friend, valet, bodyguard, wardrobe manager, and movie stand-in/stunt man. Several photos of Elvis and Richard together are provided, too, but they do not show him wearing the pendant.

Estimate: $12,000 – $18,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will beat the estimate.

What happened:  Beat the estimate.  Sold for $28,000.

 

1969 Handwritten Signed Letter to Gary Pepper Discussing the Inaugural Show at the International Hotel:1969 Elvis Presley Handwritten Signed Letter to Gary Pepper Discussing the Inaugural Show at the International Hotel

This handwritten letter from Elvis Presley to Gary Pepper on International Hotel stationery discusses the inaugural show at the hotel. Gary was the president of an early fan club called the “Elvis Presley Tankers,” and the content of the letter shows the high esteem in which Elvis held Gary.

Elvis' Signature on Letter to Gary Pepper

Also included is the original International Hotel mailing envelope postmarked Aug 4, 1969, hand written by Elvis.

Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will make the estimate.

What happened:  Didn’t make the estimate.  Sold for $5,000.

 

Luggage, Personal Effects and Signed Purchase Documents:

Elvis' Luggage, Personal Effects and Signed Purchase Documents

Prior to 1970’s “Second Season” of shows at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Elvis spent two weeks in Los Angeles rehearsing with his band at the RCA studios on Sunset Boulevard. During this stay, he purchased several pieces of luggage at the Beverly Hills Luggage & Gift Shoppe.

This lot includes a brown overnight bag with one large side pocket and two smaller pockets. Also offered is a brown zipper toiletry case, made in Germany, that contains a cuticle tool, mirror (still in original paper wrapping), nail file, plastic comb, metal lidded toothbrush bolder, cologne bottle, brush and two silver metal lidded containers; a pair of gold toed black dress socks (non-matching); and a white scarf.

Receipt for Elvis' Luggage, Personal Effects and Signed Purchase Documents

Look in the middle of this receipt and you will see Elvis’ signature.

Check Paying for Luggage, Personal Effects and Signed Purchase Documents

The check for this $596.93 purchase was not signed by Elvis, however, but by one of his accountants.

Estimate: $9,000 – $12,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will make the estimate.

What happened:  Didn’t make the estimate.  Sold for $7,500.

 

Signed RCA Nipper Statue:

Elvis Signed and Inscribed RCA Nipper Statue - Front

Elvis autographed some strange items, and this 20 inch-high resin statue of RCA’s mascot Nipper is a prime example.

Elvis Signed and Inscribed RCA Nipper Statue

Elvis inscribed it to Howard Strickland, who was the head of MGM’s public relations department during Elvis’ time with the studio (1957 – 1970). I can’t think of another autograph where Elvis signed it Gratefully, Elvis Presley.

Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will make the estimate.

What happened:  Made the estimate.  Sold for $10,000.

 

Elvis Presley Doll in Rare Original Box:

1957 Elvis Presley Enterprises Elvis Presley Doll in Rare Original Box

Would you think this was supposed to be Elvis if you weren’t told? I’ve seen little three-inch figurines that look more like Elvis than this eighteen-inch doll. However, that didn’t matter in the auction description: incredibly rare, in unbelievably excellent condition, still in its original box, and the pinnacle of any collection.

Box for 1957 Elvis Presley Doll in Rare Original Box

The included newspaper ad is just as glowing: “Only doll of its kind approved by Elvis Presley. The thrill of your lifetime! Now you can have ‘Elvis Presley’ for YOURSELF!”

The doll was marketed in 1957, and apparently very few remain, especially  in condition this good. Click here to read more about the doll.

Estimate: $7,000 – $10,000

ElvisBlog Prediction: It will surpass the estimate.

What happened:  Didn’t make the estimate.  Sold for $5,000.  Apparently, the bidders didn’t like this ugly doll any more than I did.

 

So, there it is. ElvisBlog predictions: five right, six wrong.  Handicapping this stuff is hard.

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Some Interesting Results at the Latest Elvis Auction

Gotta Have Rock and Roll Website

Except for the two Auctions at Graceland, there haven’t been any sizeable selections of Elvis goodies at auction this past year. Finally, some good stuff showed up at the Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction that closed late last week. There were no rings or other jewelry, but three items of clothing fetched significant bids.

 

1970’s Custom Made Bell Bottom Pants and Corduroy Jacket:

Elvis' 1970’s Custom Made Bell Bottom Pants and Corduroy Jacket

This is a nice combo – black bell bottom pants with red kick pleats (not visible in this picture) and a black corduroy jacket. Both were custom made by IC Costume Co, and the jacket bears their label.

Bell Bottom Pants and Corduroy Jacket

In addition to the photo of Elvis wearing the outfit, both items came with letters of provenance. The projected bid price was $6-8,000, and it went for a little more at $8,860. Please note that all buyers had to pay an additional 20% service charge to all sell levels mentioned in this article.

 

Lansky’s Custom Made Black Wool Jacket:

Elvis' Lansky Custom Made Black Wool Jacket

The next two items came from Elvis’ favorite clothier in Memphis, Lansky Bros, and the coat above sported both the Lansky label and the “Styled for Elvis Presley” custom-made label.

Elvis' Lansky Bros Custom Made Black Wool Jacket - Label

But what makes this black fleck woolen jacket especially desirable is the accompanying photo of Elvis wearing it.

Lansky's Custom Made Black Wool Jacket - Elvis Wearing

The estimated selling price was $5-7,000, and this turned out to be accurate. The most spirited bidding on any Elvis clothing item brought in $7088 (plus that extra 20% for the auction house)

 

1950’s Lansky Custom Made Stage Suit:

Elvis' 1950's Custom Made Stage Suit

Unlike the first two items, Elvis wore this outfit when he performed on stage (according the auction website description). If so, I’m surprised none of the previous owners has been able to find a photo of Elvis wearing it. Still, there is the Styled for Elvis Presley custom Lansky label on both the royal dark blue jacket with black velvet lapel trim and the blue-grey pants. The winning bid came in at $8860, just over the high estimate.

 .

Porcelain Monkey From Graceland:

Elvis' Porcelain Monkey From Graceland

This is the first of several items that have interesting stories. When I saw the pre-auction estimate of $2-3,000, I said, “No way.” For that kind of money, I’ve seen dozens of other Elvis collectibles I’d rather own.

Elvis' Porcelain Monkey From Graceland in TV Room

However, this photo showing the monkey in the TV room at Graceland and a letter of provenance from Charlie Hodge persuaded somebody to part with $1,612 to own it.

 

15 Priscilla Presley Original 2 x 2 Color Transparency Slides:

Priscilla Presley Original Transparency Slides

I guess there weren’t any Priscilla Presley fans following this auction, because nobody even bid the $25 minimum. I’ve never seen any of these pictures before (and I’ve downloaded many dozens of Priscilla photos over the years).

Priscilla Presley and Bull

This seems like a missed bargain – picking up fourteen rare pics of Priscilla for $25

 

Three Photographs of Elvis:

3 B&W Elvis Photos

Now, here’s some photos that really appealed to the bidders. The pre-auction estimate was $50-100, but I knew that was way low. I have never seen the two pictures on the left, and I’ve seen literally thousands of Elvis photos. Sure enough, these three 8 x 10 black and white original photographs had more bids than any other item in the auction (18) and brought in $541.

 

10th Anniversary Half-Ounce Fine Silver Coins:

Elvis Presley 10th Anniversary half ounce fine silver coins

These ten coins brought in $80, which is not that much of a premium over the price for their weight in pure silver. Maybe if the owner had bothered to polish them up before offering them….

 .

1957 Civic Center Concert Poster Reproduction:

1957 Elvis Concert Poster Reproduction

It is a mystery to me why the pre-auction estimate on this was $2-300. The auction website clearly says REPRODUCTION. Nobody thought this fake was worth the $100 minimum bid. No surprise.

 

Elvis Presley Special Edition Graceland Gift Set:

Elvis Presley's Graceland Special Edition

Elvis Presley special edition Graceland gift set Box

The auction website has one short sentence describing this item: “Recreate your own personal Graceland with this Elvis Presley special edition Graceland gift set.” Plus the two pictures above – and this:

Elvis Presley special edition Graceland gift set Inside

What is all that stuff? I couldn’t figure out what they were offering, and apparently the bidders couldn’t either. Nobody would cover the $200 minimum bid.

Box Elvis Presley's Graceland

So, I looked it up on eBay and the photos and description there made it very clear. This box contains a miniature Graceland at Christmas set — lighted ceramic Graceland building, 1955 Pink Cadillac Fleetwood, wrought iron gate, the original Christmas lawn decorations, and six mylar twinkling trees. Look at the first photo again to see it all put together.

Inside Box - Elvis Presley's Graceland

With this picture you can see some of the listed items. This set was introduced as a limited edition in 2000 and retired on January 8, 2001. A few are currently available on eBay for $2-300. I’m sure it would have sold at this auction if the owner had bothered to describe what he was selling.

 

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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The Second Auction at Graceland — Part 3

So far, we’ve looked at the big winners and the items with excessive minimum bids that nobody would pay. This post will be about the items that did way better than expected.

Viva Las Vegas Movie Poster:

lvis Viva Las Vegas Movie Poster, 1964

If you have any high-end Elvis memorabilia that you want to sell, the Auction at Graceland has quickly become the place where you want to sell it. There is no doubt in my mind that you can get more money for your stuff there than at any other auction. Maybe it’s the whole vibe associated with Elvis’ birthday celebration and Elvis Week that energizes the bidders and gets them to loosen the purse strings. Here’s an example.

This 27” by 41” poster in Very Fine condition had a minimum bid of $250, and an estimate of $4-500. This is in line with a sale of the same item in a June 2014 Heritage Auction which went for $418.25. However, twenty-two bids at the Auction at Graceland pushed the price up to $1,750, four times as much.

.

Tickle Me Movie Poster:

Elvis Tickle Me  Movie Poster, 1965

This one is even harder to believe. Again, same size, condition, minimum bid and estimate as the Viva poster. However, thirty-two bids resulted in a final price of $2,500. On the Heritage Auctions website, a search for Elvis Tickle Me resulted in dozens of these posters selling since 2009, at a top price of $155 for one rated Very Fine. Come on, people. Do your research before blowing away thousands on something.

 

Special Shelby County Deputy Sheriff Badge:

Elvis' Special Shelby County Deputy Sheriff Badge

Although EPE sponsored this auction, they made it clear that all items came from private owners, not the Graceland archives. They did, however, state that they would be bidding on some items to add to their display of Elvis memorabilia.

Elvis' Law  Enforcement  Badge Collection

Part of Elvis’ Law Enforcement Badges Collection on Display at Graceland

When I saw that the badge up for auction had a minimum bid of $1,500 and an estimate of $2,500-3,500, I thought Graceland might go after it to add to their display of Elvis’ collection of law enforcement badges. Well, it went for $8,750, so I’m guessing they dropped out of the bidding.

 

Elvis Presley’s Personal Checkbook Register:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Checkbook Register

This checkbook register from 1975-76 was offered at the first Auction at Graceland last August during Elvis Week. However, nobody thought it was worth the minimum bid price of $6,000. So, what did the owner do? He brought it back this year with the minimum bid dropped down to just $1,000. After eighteen bids, it topped out at $3,750. I think this is a bargain. There are 43 pages with Elvis’ writing (not his signature) on them. The auction says, “This checkbook is a treasure trove of examples of Elvis’ generosity.” The checks totaled $89,000, and many of them went to charities and his friends.

 

Elvis Tour Jacket, 1975:

Elvis Tour Jacket, 1975

This size 46 red wool and black-leather-sleeve, varsity-style jacket had a minimum bid of $2,500, which I thought was a little high because it was not part of Elvis’ personal wardrobe. These jackets were made for his security guys so Elvis could see them from the stage. Even the Letter of Authenticity from his personal nurse, Tish Henley, states that Elvis never wore the jacket. However, it was inside Graceland one night when it was pouring rain outside as she was leaving, and he handed it to her to wear and keep dry getting to her car.

Again, it seems the bidders didn’t read the fine print in the item description, because this jacket’s winning bid was $8,125. Pretty steep price for something that Elvis merely touched.

 

Used Guitar Pick:

Elvis Used Guitar Pick

I can’t believe what this guitar pick went for. Even though it was accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity from Graceland Authenticated, there is no way it would be worth $3,125 to me. I have seen many dozens of Elvis items at auction over the years priced less than this, that I would much prefer to have.

 

“That’s All Right” 45 Record:

Elvis' Sun Record #209 45 RPM That's All Right

This record is characterized as a File Copy. I’m not sure what that means, but the item description says it has never been played and is in pristine condition. The reason is because Cecil Scaife, who worked for Sam Phillips at Sun Records, took it home and stored it safely away.

The top bid is actually not a surprise. The estimate was $7,500-8,500, and the bids stopped at $7,500. Of course, the 25% buyer’s premium meant he had to write a check for $9,375.

 

Flashing Blue Police Light:

Elvis-Owned Blue Police Light

Did you know that Elvis was an accredited Captain on Memphis’ police force? All his other badges were honorary, but the one from Memphis PD was official. Elvis took it seriously and bought these flashing blue lights to keep ready in his cars in case a situation arose where his action was needed.

This item is not a surprise with a high bid compared to the estimates. It’s just a surprise to me that it went for as much as it did without a photo of Elvis sitting in one of his cars with this light sitting on top. It went for $2,000, but if that photo had existed and been offered with it, no telling what the bidders would have forked out.

 

Red and White 7-Button Shirt:

Elvis' Red and White Shirt From Homer Gilleland

Of all the Elvis shirts I have seen sold at auction during the past seven years, this one epitomizes him the absolute least. It rates about a 2 on the Elvisishness scale. And no photo was offered of Elvis ever wearing it. In spite of this, someone shelled out $7,500 for it. I would hate for him to know about all the other cool Elvis shirts (with photos) have sold for less than that.

One other note. The item description listed the longest chain of ownership I have ever seen on an Elvis collectible. It went from Elvis to Homer Gilleland (his personal hairdresser) to Thomas B. Morgan, Jr. to the LeBonheur Children’s Hospital to the seller (unnamed before the auction), and of course, it now has the new owner.

 

Four of Elvis’ Personal Telephone/Address Books:

nside pages Elvis Presley’s Personal Address Books

This is another item that failed to generate its minimum bid ($7,000) at the first Auction at Graceland, but staged a comeback at the recent one. This time they showed samples of the open pages rather than the closed books, and it paid off. Somebody got all four of these books for $7,500. If they had been sold individually, I am sure the total would have been higher.

Elvis Address Book

The item description said, “These books are an encyclopedia of his friends, family and acquaintances — today’s equivalent of having Elvis’ iPhone contacts.” I believe showing the books open to sample listings helped make that point and juiced up the bidding.  On the pages above you can see Priscilla, Col. Parker, and Vernon Presley.  Priscilla must have moved a lot.  Note she had five different phone numbers in Elvis’ book

 

Army First Aid Kit:

Elvis Presley’s Army First Aid Kit

I think this is one of the coolest Elvis collectibles to show up at auction. If you owned it and were showing it off to other folks, you could point to the hand-printed “EP” in blue ink at the top. Then you could turn it upside down and show the stamp with Elvis’ Army service serial number “53310761.” Then you could open it up and see the red stamp on the interior stating “SP1 ELVIS PRESLEY – US53310761, 1st Med Tank Bat. 32nd Armor 3rd Div. APO 33.” If all that wasn’t enough, Elvis also signed near the stamp, “E. A. Presley” in blue ink. The supplied Letter of Authenticity from Graceland Authenticated almost seems superfluous.

Elvis’ Army First Aid Kit had a minimum bid of $3,000, but spirited bidding ran it up to $7,500. Well worth it in my opinion.

 

I had a few more items to present, but something came in the email yesterday that deserves to be noted. It came from info@graceland.com, one of four EPE related mailing lists I seem to be on.

Solicitation for next year's Auction at Graceland

Just three weeks after their successful second Auction at Graceland, they are out soliciting collectibles for the next one. They are trying to prevail against the auction houses that frequently offer Elvis memorabilia, and I believe they will be very successful.

Heritage Auctions Ad Solicitation

Here is an ad in the current issue of the record collector magazine Goldmine showing Heritage Auctions soliciting consignments for their next entertainment memorabilia auction. It shows items from past auctions, including an Elvis standee.

Gotta Have It Ad Solicitation

From the same magazine, here is a solicitation for consignments by Gotta Have Rock and Roll for their next pop culture auction. Notice Elvis’ Peacock jumpsuit at the bottom. Like I said at the top of this post, it seems like people with Elvis collectibles can realize a higher return at the Auction at Graceland. I think EPE made a brilliant move coming up with the idea of auctioning Elvis memorabilia during Elvis Week and the birthday celebrations. They will put a hurtin’ on the competition.

I see this as similar to Graceland’s move into the Elvis Tribute Artist business. For the first two decades after his death, Graceland distanced itself from the hordes of men who performed as Elvis impersonators. Actually, they went farther than that. Ever protective of his ‘image,’ EPE filed a lawsuit against the Legends In Concert in 1983 to prevent the show’s “Elvis” from looking like, dressing like, or moving like the real Elvis.

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

But over the years, it became obvious that the fans liked the ETAs. So, in 2009, Graceland changed its tune and started the Ultimate Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis during Elvis Week. It is now an extremely popular, so I’m not complaining. But it and the auction prove if somebody is making a profit off Elvis, EPE will move in and get their share.

 

© 2014 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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