Tag Archives: Elvis auctions

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.

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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….

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

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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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ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets #19

We haven’t done Mini-Nuggets since March 2014, but Elvis’ 80th birthday has provided some short subjects to report.

Record Number of Hits for ElvisBlog:

ElvisBlog Results on Google Analytics

On January 1, I checked Google Analytics to see how well ElvisBlog did for the year. 147,000 people (users) visited the site, resulting in 279,991 pageviews (hits). That’s an average of 2,800 users a week, a gain of 30% over the 2013 results. Definitely a good year.

Which makes the results in the graphic above even more remarkable. Yesterday, on what would have been Elvis’ 80th birthday, ElvisBlog had nearly 2,600 people visit the site. Wow. I hope I’m still around to see the results on Elvis’ 100th birthday.

 

Elvis’ Movie Costars Pass Away:

Mary Ann Mobley with Elvis in Girl Happy

When time permits, we will take a deeper look at two late actresses who appeared with films with Elvis. Mary Ann Mobley (Girl Happy, Harum Scarum) died on December 19, 2014.

Donna Douglas and Elvis in Frankie and Johnny

Donna Douglas (Frankie and Johnny) passed away on New Year’s Day, 2015.

Elvis’ leading ladies have been a staple for print and video interviews about him for decades. Has there ever been an Elvis Week without one or two of them being “Special Guests” for talks, panel discussions, and autograph sessions?

Donna Butterworth with Elvis Presley in Paradise, Hawaiian Style

Well, the list is getting short, and you have to wonder what authors, journalists and EPE will do when Elvis’ female costars are all gone. Now we have a hint. In celebration of Elvis 80th birthday, an article in the Boone, NC Mountain Times featured an interview with Donna Butterworth who was ten-years-old when she appeared with Elvis in Paradise, Hawaiian Style. You are going to see more of this.

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Peanut Butter ‘N Banana Ice Cream:

Baskin-Robbins Peanut Butter 'N Bananna Ice Cream

I received an email from the PR firm representing Baskin-Robbins telling me about their new flavor to celebrate Elvis’ 80th Birthday. It will be available for the entire month of January, and it is described as banana-flavored ice cream with a chunky peanut butter ribbon. They are sending me two $31 gift cards – one to use to sample it and write a review. I expect to like it, but I did have a bad experience at Elvis Week 2007 when I tried peanut butter and banana coffee, and it was lame.

The other gift card will be offered as the prize in an Elvis Caption Contest which I will post in a couple of days.

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The Elvis Auction at Graceland:

Auction at Graceland

The auction last night was a huge success, highlighted by the 1953 acetate of Elvis’ first recorded songs “My Happiness”/”That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.” The pre-auction estimate was for $75-100,000, but it went for $300,000! That’s got to be the highest priced record ever. Let’s see a record by Michael Jackson, or the Beatles, or Mariah Carey top that.

There were 67 items up for auction, so it will take two or three blogs to cover all the interesting elements of this Elvis 80th birthday event, and I’ll get them posted as soon as possible.

 

 

© 2014 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 — Postgame Show

We looked at the losers last week, so now it is time for the winners. I’ve followed dozens of Elvis auctions over the years, and there is no question that having this one at Graceland was a brilliant move. Some of the selling prices were incredibly high.

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Gemstone, Diamond and Gold Lion Pendant:

Elvis' Lion Head Pendant Pendant

Minimum bid – $10,000, Estimate – $20-30,000: Sold for $82,500

This 18-karat gold lion’s head pendant contains two emeralds for the eyes, a cabochon ruby in the mouth, and brow and mouth set with 24 single-cut diamonds with a total weight of approximately 0.48 carats. It was designed specifically for Elvis by his favorite Memphis jeweler Lowell Hays.

Elvis Wearing Lion's Head Pendant

Elvis wore this pendant on multiple occasions, including his meeting with President Nixon, his acceptance of the Jaycees Award as one of the Top Young Men in America, and Sonny West’s wedding.

Elvis and Nixon

As has been stressed here repeatedly, nothing boosts the price of Elvis clothes or jewelry like a photograph of him wearing it. The famous Elvis/Nixon picture (bestselling item at the Nixon Presidential Library gift shop and most requested document reproduction from the National Archives) probably added $50,000 to the value of this item, and made it the big winner at this auction.

 

1977 Cadillac Seville:

Elvis' 77 Cadillac from Auction at Graceland

Minimum bid – $50,000, Estimate – $100-120,000: Sold for $81,250

Although this car was number two on the high bid listing, it went for well under the estimate. Keep in mind that the estimate price is before the auction house tacks on their 25%. The sell price shown above includes this charge; actual bidding stopped at $65,000. Two weeks ago, Elvisblog posted a photo and report from a 1994 auction where this Caddy brought in $101,000 at auction. That came from an Elvis chat room, so it could be off. But, if not, I can’t figure out why the car didn’t sell for that much or more.

Elvis’ 1977 maroon and silver Cadillac Seville – V8 automatic is the last known Cadillac he drove (the night before his death), and it was also the last Cadillac that he purchased for his own personal use.
Note: The next highest priced item was Elvis’ opal and diamond ring at $38,750. There were two other rings, but we’ll skip them all here. They will show up soon in the next edition of the series Elvis Fabulous Rings.

 

Graceland Blueprints:

Blueprints for Graceland's First Floor

Blueprints for First Floor of Graceland

Minimum bid – $10,000, Estimate – $25-35,000: Sold for $35,000

On several TV shows prior to the auction, Priscilla stated the estate would be bidding on some items. This certainly had to be one of them.

Blueprints for Graceland Upstairs

Upstairs at Graceland

There are three framed and matted 1939 blueprints measuring 32 by 54 inches in this lot. I can see the value, but if I had $35,000 to spend on Elvis memorabilia, I’d get a couple of rings or some clothes.

 

Shooting Target:

Elvis' Graceland Shooting Target

Minimum bid – $500, Estimate – $1,200-1,500: Sold for $27,000

I couldn’t believe my eyes as the bidding unfolded on this police silhouette target. There must have been two or three collectors who really wanted this, because they bid it up to a ridiculous level. Yes, we know Elvis had these 36 by 44 inch targets set up inside the old Graceland smokehouse, so he and the boys could shoot through the door at them. But, I agree with the woman in the auction chatroom who questioned whether the bullet holes were made by Elvis or by his bodyguards when he wasn’t using it.

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1969 Las Vegas Show Agreement:

Elvis' Las Vegas Show Agreement

Minimum bid – $10,000, Estimate – $20-25,000: Sold for $27,500

This isn’t just any contract Elvis signed with the Las Vegas International Hotel. This is for his1969 return to live performances after the movie years. Elvis was to be paid $100,000 per week for fifteen performances. The full contract is thirteen pages long.

 

Overnight Army Pass:

Military Leave Pass Issued to Elvis Presley, 1958

Minimum bid – $1,500, Estimate – $4-6,000: Sold for $20,625

I don’t get it. What makes this worth so much more than any other Elvis signed article? It’s not something big like his enlistment papers or release documents. It’s an overnight pass.

While stationed in Germany, Elvis was issued this military leave pass granting him permission for an overnight leave of absence to visit a “US Area of Interest” from noon on October 4 and ordering his return prior to midnight on the evening of October 5, 1958.

So, what was this US Area of Interest? Elvis, Vernon, Grandmother Minnie, Red West, and Lamar Fike travelled to Bad Homburg. They ate dinner and spent the night at the Ritters Park Hotel.

 

Personal Message to Vernon:

Elvis' Personal Message Christmas Gift to His Father

Minimum bid – $1,500, Estimate – $3-5,000: Sold for $18,750

In 1976, Elvis wanted to give his father Vernon something special for Christmas, so he asked his friend Janelle McComb of Tupelo, Mississippi, to calligraph a personal message. It has Elvis’ signature at the bottom. The framed and matted message measures approximately 17 5/16 by 14 3/16 inches.

 

Baldwin Upright Piano:

Elvis' Baldwin Piano

Minimum bid- $10,000, Estimate – $25-35,000: Sold for $15,000

This upright piano from Elvis Presley’s Palm Springs home. The plate in the center says “Baldwin.” Includes attached music stand and bench. Too bad they couldn’t find just one photo of Elvis sitting on that bench playing the piano

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“Love Me Tender” Script:

Elvis' copy Love Me Tender Screenplay

Minimum bid – $1,500, Estimate – $4-6,000: Sold for $14,375

There were six items featured in the pre-auction promotion. The Martin guitar and the marriage certificate were over-valued and scared off bidders. The Caddy sold for much less than the estimate. However, the lion’s head pendant went for much more, and so did this script.

A number of things about the cover are interesting. The original title was The Reno Brothers back in August 1993. The script languished for years in pre-production, until hot young star Elvis was considered for a role in 1956. When his hit song “Love Me Tender” dominated the charts, the title was changed, as noted on the cover. Of course, many copies of the screenplay were printed, but this was Elvis’ own copy, as stamped in the upper left: “Please forward to: ELVIS PRESLEY.”

 

Library Card:

Elvis' Library Card from Auction at Graceland

Minimum bid – $5,000, Estimate – $12-15,000: Sold for $10,000

This is an important Elvis signature, a steal at half the price of the overnight pass. It is the second oldest known full Elvis signature, not counting a crayon box from when he was in first grade with ‘Elvis’ scrawled on it.

This signed library card was found by the librarian at the school which Elvis attended in Tupelo. Once the librarian realized Elvis’ fame, she searched through all of the books borrowed from the library by Elvis to find his signature, and discovered two cards. The second, from two days earlier than the offered card, is now in a private collection,

 

Okay, that is the top ten highest bid items (excluding the three rings to be covered later) at the Auction at Graceland. We’ll skip now to a couple of articles of Elvis clothing.

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White Puffy Shirt:

Elvis' White “Puffy Sleeve

Minimum bid – $3,000, Estimate – $7-9,000: Sold for $8,125

This is the shirt that one auction chatroom lady said she would love to sleep in because it touched Elvis’ body. Made for Elvis by the IC Costume Company, this shirt has puffy sleeves and cuffs that were a particular favorite of Elvis’ during the 1970s.

 

Used Concert Scarf:

Elvis Presley Used Concert Scarf

Minimum bid – $300, Estimate – $6-700: Sold for $5,625

Before the actual live auction on August 14, there had been a week of internet bidding. I checked it several times and noted very spirited bidding on this scarf. By the time the live auction started, forty-six bids had been made, so you knew something interesting was going to happen. And it did with the winning price going for eight times the estimate.

There have been other Elvis stage-worn scarves up for auction before, and they didn’t bring in this much money. It’s not because Elvis signed this one – the autograph is a printed facsimile. Maybe the included ticket stub added some value. Or, maybe the winning bidder was at that concert in Pittsburgh in 1976. Then it just might be worth shelling out $5,600 to get.

 

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

 

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The Auction at Graceland – Pregame Show

If you watch any of the morning shows on the networks or cable news channels, you have seen Priscilla promoting the upcoming Auction at Graceland.

Priscilla on Fox and Friends

If not, you probably have received emails about it. They’ve come in to me from four senders: Elvis Presley Enterprises, Graceland Insiders E-Newsletter, Graceland Insiders E-Blast, and Graceland.com. So, there is obviously a big push on to promote this auction.

 The Auction at Graceland

What’s the reason for all the hype? Well, it takes place on August 14, so that makes it one more thing to attract folks to Elvis Week. All 72 items will be on display at the new Graceland Archives Studio that opens on August 9. Sounds good, but don’t forget that the only way to get in the Archives Studio is by buying one of the Graceland ticket packages, the cheapest of which costs $37.

On her TV appearances, Priscilla has stated that the items for sale at the auction are not any that EPE owns. Rather they come from the private collection of Greg Page. So, who is this guy?

Greg Page

He was born in Sydney, Australia in 1972. In 1991 while attending Sydney’s Macquarie University to study Early Childhood Education, he teamed up with two fellow students to form The Wiggles, one of the world’s largest children’s entertainment brands.

The Wiggles

The Wiggles travelled all over the world to entertain children, live performances before more than 4 million people. They also recorded well over 20 CDs and 22 DVDs with combined sales of over 17 million. Greg Page obviously made a lot of money, and he used much of it to amass a sizeable collection of memorabilia from his favorite singer, Elvis Presley. In 2009, he opened The King’s Castle, Australia’s only permanent exhibit of Elvis artifacts.

 The King's Castle

Page’s collection has totaled as many as 1500 items, so he is selling just a small portion at the Graceland auction. The photo below shows a few of the items on display at the King’s Castle, but that room is pretty bare now. The piano is now Item #55 at The Auction at Graceland. The gold ‘throne chair’ is item #63, and the couch is item #68.

King's Castle Display

 

Greg Page also combined his affection for Elvis with his own musical ability and worked with the TCB Band in several concert settings.

Las Vegas 2003

The above Las Vegas show took place in 2003.

Las Vegas wwith Jerry Schiff

In this photo, bass player Jerry Scheff is on stage with Greg Page at the Stardust concert.

Greg Page and James Burton and Glen D. Hardin

Here we see Glen D. Hardin, James Burton, and Greg Page in concert in Sydney in 2006.

Greg Page and James Burton 2006 Sydney

This is a better shot of James Burton and Greg Page

 

When I took my first look at the items to be auctioned at Graceland, some of them looked familiar. Over a dozen auctions of Elvis memorabilia have been covered on ElvisBlog, so this is no surprise. Look at Item #1, a signed library card.

Elvis' Library Card from Auction at Graceland

It has a minimum opening bid of $5,000 and an estimated top bid of $10-12,000. It is accompanied by a letter from the archives of Graceland stating that they have no full Elvis Presley signature pre-dating it. The only earlier signature of Elvis they have is a scrawling of “Elvis” on a crayon box from when Elvis was in 1st grade. I’m sure this item will get the minimum bid and probably beat the estimate as well, because another Elvis Presley signed library card from a year later went for $7,500 at a November 10, 2010 Heritage auction.

Elvis' Library Card from 2010 Heritage Auction

Next, we see Item #62, Elvis’ 1977 Cadillac Seville. The minimum bid is $50,000, and the estimate is $100-120,000.

Elvis' 77 Cadillac from Auction at Graceland

Again, I have no doubt they will get this, maybe more. Here is the photo of it from a 1994 auction where it sold for $101,000.

Photo of Elvis' 77 Caddy for 1991 Auctions

 

There is so much more to write about with the Auction at Graceland. There will definitely be a Postgame Show, so stay tuned.

 

 

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Winners and Losers at the Latest Elvis Auction

Sotheby's - A Rock and Roll History

Perhaps you saw something on the news last week about Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to “Like a Rolling Stone” selling for $2 million dollars at auction. It happened at the Sotheby’s auction shown above. Many of the news reports also mentioned some of the other big ticket items, including Elvis’ Peacock jumpsuit (design close-up shown in the box above).

There were ten Elvis items offered in this auction – five sold and five did not reach the minimum required bid. Let’s take a look at the losers first, followed by the winners.

1957 Multnomah Stadium Concert Poster:

Elvis Multnomah Concert Poster

This is the worst case of overpricing an Elvis collectible, I have ever seen. It’s hard to figure how the owner of this poster for Elvis’ September 2, 1957 concert in Portland thought it would bring between $25,000 and $30,000. For that price you could buy several items of Elvis clothing or a couple of his rings. The poster is not very big, just 11” by 14,” and it has some stains at the top. It is supposed to be very rare, but I guess Elvis poster collectors have been able to buy earlier ones for much less, so they passed.

 

Concert Ticket Signed by Elvis, Scotty and Bill:

Elvis Concert Ticket

The autographs of the three rock pioneers are on the back of this 2” x 4 ½” picture ticket for an April 19, 1956 appearance at the Oklahoma Municipal Auditorium. I guess the bonus of Scotty’s and Bill’s autographs doesn’t add much value to that of Elvis’ alone. Elvis’ concert tickets from the 50s typically bring a few hundred dollars, and Elvis autographs sell for $600 to $1,400, so it is surprising that no one was willing to make the minimum bid of $1,000 for the combo.

 

“Softly As I Leave You” Original Handwritten Manuscript:

Elvis' Spoken-Word Lyrics for Softly As I Leave

All Elvis fans are familiar with the spoken word part in the middle of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” but less known is the similar treatment he did on “Softly as I Leave You.” This two-page auction item is Elvis’ hand-printed lyrics to use during his performance of this song at his last Las Vegas stage show. Certainly, it has value, but expecting bidders to shell out $6-8,000 for it was way too optimistic.

 

America’s New Singing Rage!!! Poster:

Elvis Poster from 1956l

The auction website says this poster is from February, 1956, but how can you tell? It is totally generic – no date, no time, no venue. Plus, it is small, just the letter size. You can practically envision Col. Parker travelling with a suitcase of them and posting them around numerous venues. So in spite of the triple exclamation point adorning the title, and the two Elvis pictures, this poster never motivated bidders to shell out the $1,250 minimum bid. Not a good auction for Elvis concert posters.

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Autographed Publicity Photo:

Elvis Publicity Photo

Autographed Elvis items always bring more when they are presented in a nice frame. This 1955 item won’t work well that way because Elvis’ signature is on the back. Plus, the 8” x 10” photo has a few deep creases and a thumbtack hole. Possibly not a bad value at $500, but collectors must have been looking for better quality piece that could be properly displayed.

 

Okay, that takes care of the losers. It’s more fun to see the items that surpassed the minimum bids and found new owners.

 

Cream-White Soft Wool Jacket:

Elvis' White Jacket

There was no photograph supplied to verify Elvis wore this coat, but it does have labels saying “Lansky Bros, Men’s Shop on Famous Beale St. Memphis” and “Styled for Elvis Presley.” The cream colored jacket has white satin lining and has red speckling (barely visible in photo). It is in excellent condition. The estimate of $7-9,000 was right on the money, as the jacket went for $8,750 including the 25% auction premium.

 

Las Vegas Set List:

 Elvis Set List from International Hotel Show

This is an envelope from the International Hotel in Las Vegas where Elvis performed in 1969 and 1970 (after that, the name changed to Las Vegas Hilton). On it, Elvis hand-printed his selections for one night’s set list of songs to be performed. I was surprised that the pre-auction estimate was so high at $4-6,000, but somebody thought it was worth that and ponied up $5,000.

 

Red Knit Shirt from Kissin’ Cousins:

Elvis' Kissin' Cousins Red Jacket

This shirt was worn by Elvis Presley during production of the 1964 MGM film Kissin’ Cousins. Inside are two tags: “MGM STUDIO. Culver City” (with the handwritten Elvis Presley and size, production number), and “Sy Devore of Palm Springs.” It is in excellent condition and sold for $12,500. So, why did this shirt go for $4,000 more than the white coat above?

 Elvis Wearing Red Shirt on Kissin' Cousins Album

It is because Elvis is shown wearing the red shirt on the Kissin’ Cousins original soundtrack album. The seller included a copy of the album. Smart move.

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New Scofield Reference Bible:

Elvis' Bible

This bible has everything going for it except good condition. The photo shows that Elvis studied it repeatedly. Printed in 1967 by the New York Oxford Press, the Bible has “Elvis Presley” stamped in silver gilt in lower left.

Insert from Elvis' Bible

The estimate was $8-10,000, but Elvis’ Bible sold for $25,000. Why the big ticket? The thing that probably made the difference were the frequent notes that Elvis wrote in it. This is more than a collectible. It is a look into Elvis’ mind and his thinking on religious topics.

 

Peacock Jumpsuit:

Elvis Peacock Jumpsuit at Sotheby's Auction

It is tempting to call this the big winner among Elvis items in the Sotheby’s auction because it went for $245,000. After deducting the 25% auction premium from this price, the net to the seller was $196,000. Still pretty good, you say? Not if we look back to an ElvisBlog article dated December 8, 2008. This same jumpsuit sold at a Gotta Have Rock & Roll auction, and the buyer shelled out $300,000. If he netted only $196,000 selling it this time, he took a bath of over 100,000 on it. So, this big winner was actually a big loser. Yikes.

Peacock Jumpsuit Back Insert

There is one other interesting thing about this famous Peacock jumpsuit. The picture above is from the Sotheby’s Auction website. The one below is from the 2008 ElvisBlog article.

Peacock Front - Close-up

Note they are not the same. Are there two Peacock jumpsuits? No. The answer is that the design on the suit’s back is different than the front.

peacock jumpsuit back

 

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There’s another rock and roll memorabilia auction coming up on July 16. The previews make it sound like they’ve got some cool Elvis goodies. Stay tuned.

.

 

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

 

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Now, the Winners from the Most Recent Elvis Auction

Last week we looked at eleven Elvis items that received no bids at Heritage Auctions’ April 27 Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction. However, there were over sixty items that found new owners, and here are some of the most interesting.

Full-Length Coat with Fur Trim and Cape:

 Elvis' Full-Length Coat With Fur Trim and Cape

The auction website description of this coat used the words dazzling and fantastic, but they put a minimum opening bid of only $5,000 on it. I knew immediately it would easily pass that, but I didn’t think it would go for $30,000 (including 25% fee for the auction house).

Elvis Wearing Full-Length Coat With Fur Trim and Cape

Three bidders battled it out to get this coat, and one reason for its appeal must be the inclusion of two photographs of Elvis wearing it (plus a Letter Of Authenticity from Elvis’ wardrobe valet and friend Richard Davis).

Elvis in Full-Length Coat With Fur Trim and Cape

But I think this coat had one more thing going for it – the “cool” factor. Compare it to the Lansky Bros. blue suit shown last week that didn’t get a bid at $10,000 minimum. The suit had major historical significance, as Elvis wore it during his performances at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas in 1956. However, it wasn’t flashy or funky, just a conservative business suit. If money was no problem, what would you rather have displayed as the centerpiece of your Elvis collection – a blue suit or a cool full-length red coat with a fur cape? Funky wins.

 

Light Blue Suit:

Elvis' Light Blue Suit Given to Bob Luman

Here is a blue suit that did sell, but just barely. One bidder thought it was worth the $7,500 minimum opening price (plus service fee). The website description is a little cryptic, but it seems Elvis wore this suit on the Louisiana Hayride before giving it to country artist Bob Luman. The suit has spent time in the Country Music Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and in the Stars of Country Music Museum travelling exhibit.

Elvis in Light Blue Suit on Album Cover

A LOA was furnished, but the clincher probably was that Elvis is shown wearing the suit on the cover of the posthumous Time-Life CD release, The Elvis Presley Collection.

 

Professional Makeup Case:

Elvis' Make-up Case - closed

Here’s an item the auction seriously undervalued. Estimated to bring $800 and up, it went way up – to $3,750. Elvis gave this expanding make-up case to his buddy Charlie Hodge, who provided the LOA.

Elvis' Make-up Case Open

When closed, this “EP” initialed case measures 9″ x 11.5″ x 7.5″, but when opened, the three stair-stepping trays extend to a height of 13”. According to Hodge, Elvis used the compartments for makeup, jewelry, prescriptions, etc. Included in the auction lot were Elvis’ used bottles of cologne, Jovan and Hai Karate, plus a blue scarf with “Elvis Presley” printed on it, the same type of scarf Charlie kept on stage and handed to Elvis to give to his fans.

Elvis-Make-up-Case-Sonny-West-Carrying

The above photo is kind of dark, but it shows Sonny West carrying the case as he walks behind Elvis. So, this is a strong collectible – “EP” monogrammed make-up case, stage scarf, two bottles of Elvis’ cologne, LOA from a Memphis Mafia buddy, and a supporting photo of a different buddy carrying the case. No wonder it sold for seven times the low minimum bid.

 

Black Velour Bathrobe:

Elvis' Black Velour Bathrobe

This regal bathrobe by Christian Dior is interesting, because more people bid on it than any other Elvis item in the auction. Seven people battled it out, but the robe topped out at only $3,000, including auction house service fee. It has the “cool” factor covered, but no photo of Elvis wearing it was provided, keeping a lid on the price. However, Elvis’ private nurse Letitia (“Tish”) Henley provided the LOA. She worked at Graceland from 1968 to 1977, actually living there with her husband for the last four years.

 

Elvis’ 1962 Financial Statement:

Elvis' 1962 balance sheet

The auction description calls this an extraordinary document, but it’s not a collectible I’d spend my money on. One collector did make the minimum bid and got it for $2,500. Elvis’ 1962 financial statement, prepared by CPAs Spain and Fisher details a few interesting things. His income was evenly split between movies and records, and totaled $13 mllion in 2014 dollars.

Elvis' 1962 balance sheet - net worth

Photos of some of the included exhibits were shown on the auction site. This one shows Elvis’ Total Assets, Total Liabilities, and Net Worth as of 1962. One last thing to note, the Certificate of Authenticity came from The Estate of Elvis Presley at Graceland. I guess EPE didn’t think it was worth keeping.

 

Stage Worn Guitar Strap:

Elvis' Stage Worn Guitar Strap

Here’s another item with a LOA from Charlie Hodge. Elvis possibly gave more clothing and other items to Charlie than any of his other buddies. As the auction website states, Charlie was part of Elvis’ inner circle from 1958 until 1977, and he did many functions. In addition to passing scarves to Elvis on stage, Charlie also sang harmony, acted as stage director, and served as Elvis’ personal assistant while on tour. In the latter capacity, Hodge took care of Elvis’ guitars, periodically changing the straps. According to Hodge, this strap was worn during the filming of Elvis – That’s the Way It Is in 1970.

Elvis on Stage Wearing Guitar Strap

The minimum bid price of just $1,000 seemed low, and bidding confirmed this as the guitar strap topped out at $4,062.

 

Leather Jacket:

Elvis' Leather Jacket

According to the auction website, this light brown leather jacket with coyote fur collar trim is pure Elvis. It must be, because even without a photo of Elvis wearing it, seven bidders ran the price up to $6,875. Elvis’ friend and clothing valet, Richard Davis, provided the LOA, in which he stated, “Elvis liked this style so much that he had it made in different colors.”

Labels in Elvis' Leather Jacket

The other thing this jacket has going for it is the Lansky Bros. label and a separate label that reads “Custom Tailored for Elvis Presley.”

 

Complete Set of Elvis’ Sun Records 78s:

Elvis Presley Sun 78s Complete Set

Most of us think of Elvis’ five releases on the Sun label as 45s, but the older 78 RPM format hadn’t died out yet, and Sun issued them on this format, too. Collectors of Elvis’ records must have seen this as a rare opportunity to purchase all five of the Sun 78s in one fell swoop. The winning bid came in at $2,500. I’m a record collector, too, and I’ve never even seen all five of them together, so this is impressive.

 

Chief Deputy Badge for Lee County Mississippi:

Elvis' Chief Deputy Badge For Lee County Mississippi

This badge is pretty cool, but I didn’t think anybody would bid the high opening minimum. Well, one bidder did and took it home for $6,250 including the auction house service fee. The story behind how the former owner got the badge is interesting. Here’s what the auction website said:

“On September 30 and October 1, 1974 Elvis played in South Bend, Indiana on the campus of Notre Dame University. He and his entourage stayed at the Royal Inn where Anna Niles, worked as a housekeeper, assigned to take care of the King’s room and any associated housekeeping needs. Generous as ever, before he left the hotel Elvis personally thanked the housekeeping crew and signed autographs. Upon his departure, Mrs. Niles discovered a monogrammed leather wallet containing Elvis’ Chief Deputy badge from Lee County, State of Mississippi.”

Wallet for Elvis' Chief Deputy Badge For Lee County Mississippi

“Lee County was the locale of Elvis’ birthplace and childhood home of Tupelo. The wallet also contained Elvis’ Police Officer’s Association membership card from Palm Springs, CA. dated 11/30/70. Mrs. Niles attempted returning the wallet to Elvis, but in response to her letter, she received only a fan club Christmas postcard, postmarked November 29, 1974, which is included here.”

So, somebody on Elvis’ staff blew it, and Mrs. Niles got to keep one of Elvis’ cherished law enforcement badges. Forty years later, her husband was able to turn it into some big-time cash.

 

Custom Embroidered Long-Sleeved Shirt:

Elvis' Embroidered Long-Sleeved Shirt

 We will close with this one last item of clothing, because it has a tender story.  After Elvis purchased this gold shirt, his grandmother, who he called Minnie Mae, embroidered an “E” and a “P” on the shirt pocket, with a 45 record image in-between the two initials.

Custom Embroidery by Elvis' Grandmother Minnie Mae

Can you image how many hours Minnie Mae put into this labor of love for her grandson?

Vernon, Minnie Mae, and Elvis

Vernon, Minnie Mae, and Elvis

The monogrammed shirt sold for $3.750, but we can bet Elvis considered it priceless.

 

© 2013 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis Auction Items That Don’t Sell

Mis-Pressed 45 Sun Single Milkcow Blues Boogie

Since 2010, ElvisBlog has posted features on twenty-one different auctions containing significant offerings of Elvis memorabilia. Typically, we look at the items that bring in the most money, but this time we will look at some items that nobody chose to bid on. Like the Sun Records 45 pictured above, offered at the recent Heritage Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction in New York.

 

Mis-Pressed 45 Sun Single “Milkcow Blues Boogie” (Sun 215, 1955)

I never thought this record would have any trouble getting the minimum starting bid of $1,200. Of the five Elvis Sun releases, “Milkcow Blues Boogie” is the rarest and most valuable. In Near-Mint condition, a copy of this record should bring between $1,200-1,800, according the collectors price guides. However, this copy is graded VG5, several notches down the scale.

On the other hand, it has two features that make it extremely rare oddity and therefore worth more. First, the labels are mismatched. The “Milkcow Blues Boogie” side actually plays “You’re a Heartbreaker,” and vice versa. The other anomaly is that the big 45-size hole did not completely punch out. You can see the mark where the punch started but didn’t go through. According to the auction website, they contacted Elvis experts, but none had ever seen a similar specimen before.

If I owned this rare Elvis record, I’d keep offering it for sale on EBay or at auction. Someday, a well-healed collector of Elvis records will want this for his collection and will pay the $1,200.

 

Blue-Wash Denim Suit:

Elvis-Worn Blue Washed Suit

There were three Elvis suits offered at this auction, and two of them didn’t sell. He wore this leisure suit in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the condition is very good. It features a large pointed collar and wide bell-bottoms. However, it failed to attract the minimum opening bid of $4,000.

This supports the theory advanced here before that you won’t get top dollar selling Elvis clothing unless you provide a photo of him wearing it. I’m sure the owner thought the Letter of Authenticity from Ed Parker, Elvis’ friend and Karate instructor, would be enough to justify the price. Plus the inside suit pocket has a Tony Alamo label that says, “Custom Tailored for Elvis Presley.”

Elvis Blue Washed Denim Suit Label

But without a picture of Elvis wearing this suit, bidders shied away. My suggestion is that everyone wishing to sell an item like this should join TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS: The Elvis Forum. Then post a photo of the item and ask if anyone has ever seen a picture of Elvis wearing it. Some of the guys in this forum are like detectives and have incredible resources to find stuff. They seem to love the challenge and will probably come through, but if not, one more Elvis fan will be introduced to this incredibly interesting site.

 

Indian Head Ring:

Elvis-Gifted Indian Head Ring

There were also three Elvis rings included in this latest auction, but the one above did not sell. I’m not surprised. The reason – Elvis never wore it. For the other two rings, the titles of the item descriptions say “Elvis Owned and Worn“, but this ring was just “Elvis Owned” The description notes that the ring was given to Elvis by Felton Jarvis, who produced most of Elvis’ records from the mid-1960s until his death in 1977. But perhaps Elvis thought the ring with an American Indian design featuring polychrome enamel was ugly. I do. Anyway, it must not have meant much to Elvis, who then gave the ring to Sheila Ryan, a girl he dated for a while (who later married actor James Caan).

It didn’t mean much to Elvis memorabilia collectors either, and they passed on the minimum opening bid of $3,000.

 

Rare “Old Shep” Promo Mailing Envelope (1956):

Elvis Old Shep Promo Mailing Envelope

This item really caught my eye when the auction items were first shown. This is not a picture sleeve for the 45 single titled “Old Shep.” It is a mailing envelope. In 1956, RCA produced a one-sided promo-record and sent copies out to radio stations on December 21, 1956. So far, this is the only mailing envelope known to survive. However, that did not make it worth the minimum bid of $2,000.

According to the record collectors’ price guides, the “Old Shep” 45 inside is worth $700 to $800, so maybe $2,000 is a bit rich for the mailing envelope alone. So, the seller should offer this again at a more reasonable price – or get a copy of the record and see what the whole package would bring.

Elvis Fans know “Old Shep” was significant as the first song Elvis performed in public as a 10-year old in 1945. It was never commercially released as a single. However, it was part of the four-song EP Elvis, Volume 2, and it received enough airplay to reach #47 on the Billboard charts.

 

Custom-Made Metal Scrapbook (1969):

Elvis Metal Scrapbook - Cover

Several Colonel Parker items have appeared in the lots of Elvis auction items, but they never seem to do very well. When I saw the minimum bid price of $2,500 on this scrapbook commissioned by Col. Parker, I said “no way,” and I was right.

Elvis Metal Scrapbook -Inside

Sample Inside Pages

Here’s what the auction description had to say about it. “This large (12″ x 22″) scrapbook was one of only four that Colonel Tom Parker commissioned as an in-house display to promote and commemorate Elvis’ triumphant return to live performances on the heels of his legendary NBC-televised “Comeback Special” of 1968. It features a custom-made metal cover with Elvis’ image and logo, with 17-pages chockfull of press clippings from an exciting, pivotal era in The King’s career. In 1969 Presley began a series of sold-out concerts at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.”

The seller would be lucky to get $500 if he puts this collection of newspaper clippings back on sale someday.

 

 

Silk-Rayon Shirt:

Elvis Silk-Rayon Shirt

This long-sleeved shirt with a Sy Devore label had a modest minimum bid price of just $1,000, but it still did not sell. The item description says “Elvis Owned,” not “Elvis Owned and Worn.” Elvis probably did wear the shirt, but there is no photo showing him wearing it to support this.

Also, there is a LOA from David Turner, a man who bought the shirt from the Salvation Army after Vernon donated a number of Elvis’ wardrobe items. Turner never saw Elvis wear the shirt, so of course he couldn’t verify that Elvis ever wore it.

 

UK version of the EP Loving You:

Elvis UK EP Loving You

 In addition to a twelve-song album titled Loving You, Elvis had two 45 RPM EPs (Volumes 1 and 2) with the same title and cover picture. The EPs each had four songs. But RCA did something unusual with the UK version of the EP. They put all eight songs on a 10’ disc that played at 33-1/3. Who knows why they didn’t just put all twelve songs on a 12” record and issue it as the standard album?

So, we have a rarity that seemed like it would bring the $400 minimum bid, but it didn’t. Possibly the reason is that it graded VG-6, a couple of notches down from the preferred Near Mint grade.

 

 Suit Worn at Frontier Hotel Shows:

Suit Elvis Wore at Frontier Hotel Performances

The results on this suit really surprised me.  It seemed like it had so much going for it that bidding would blow past the minimum bid of $10,000 and go for much more.  First, the suit is historically significant – Elvis wore it during his 1956 performances at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.

 Frontier Hotel Suit - Elvis Wearing

Second, there are numerous photos of Elvis wearing the suit, including one of the cards in the 1956 Topps Elvis series.

Elvis in Frontier Hotel Suit

And finally, the suit bears the famous Lansky Bros. label plus a special one:

Elvis Frontier Hotel Suit - Custom Label

I can’t figure out why no Elvis collector bid $10,000 for this suit. Even excluding jumpsuits, there have been many Elvis clothing items going for more than this (including a coat at this auction that sold for $30,000). If the seller brings this suit back at auction again, I think he will get his price.

 

Fantasia Fiberoptic Lamp:

Elvis-Gifted Fantasia Fiberoptic Lamp

This is just stupid. Elvis gave this spikey lamp to Al Strada, one of his security guys in the 70s. It is unlikely that Elvis even paid for it, because a plaque at the bottom states, “Las Vegas Hilton Elvis Presley August 1975”. When I saw the minimum opening bid of $1,000, I laughed. Try $100 next time and maybe it’ll sell.

We will take a look at the big winners at the Heritage Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction next week.

 

© 2013 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 


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Bull Market in Elvis Memorabilia is Back

Just like the stock market, the values for Elvis collectibles stormed upward in 2013. But they didn’t need the Fed to pump billions into the market to make it happen. Elvis collectors willingly bid big bucks to secure certain primo items at Heritage Auctions Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction last month.

Guitar Elvis Played at 1976 Concert in Denver, CO:      $31,250.00

NBN-Guitar-Elvis-Used-in-Denver-CO-1976.jpg

Who knows how many guitars Elvis had during his lifetime, but every one of them has value as Elvis collectibles. However, it’s hard to believe someone would pay $31,250 (including 25% buyer’s premium to auction company) for a guitar Elvis played briefly during just one concert. It is a limited edition 1976 Model #0014 Mahogany acoustic guitar made by NBN, a manufacturer of fine stringed instruments. Two of the owners of NBN presented the guitar to Elvis on his 41st birthday while he was vacationing in Vail, CO. Three months later, Elvis used it a bit at his April 23, 1976 performance at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver. For some reason there is no photo available showing Elvis holding the guitar on stage, but it did come with multiple Letters/Certificates of Authenticity.

 

Case for Guitar Elvis Played at the Denver Concert:     Did not sell

NBN Guitar Case

Here’s an example of greed or stupidity, or both. Instead of including the case along with the NBN guitar, the owner tried to sell it separately. The minimum bid was $1,000, but bidders passed.

 

King Creole Screenplay and Wardrobe Continuity Script:     $30,000

 King-Creole-Screenplay-and-Wardrobe-Continuity-Script.jpg

Copies of screenplays for Elvis’ movies are seldom seen up for bid at auctions, so they should command pretty high prices. Even rarer is one that also has wardrobe continuity notes and photographs inserted, like the one shown above. It is the 130 page screenplay for King Creole with numerous colored script changes marked throughout.

Wardrobe-Continuity-Script-from-King-Creole-2.jpg

This is one of the inserted wardrobe continuity pages showing what Danny (Elvis) wears in scenes 2 through 17. Handwritten entries list his shirt, t-shirt, pants, shoes and socks.

Wardrobe-Continuity-Script-from-King-Creole-3.jpg

This page shows Danny in scenes 148 and 149. The additional wardrobe items listed here include coat, tie, belt and jewelry. There are over 20 never-before-seen, small, black and white photographs of Elvis in costume glued or taped to the individual pages. The pre-auction estimate was $6,000 and up. Obviously, well-healed Elvis collectors found it to be worth way more than that.

 

Handmade Silver Turquoise Bracelet, 1971:     $6,875

Handmade-Silver-Turquoise-Bracelet-1971.jpg

The prices for Elvis’ jewelry got soft after the 2008 financial meltdown, but they have gone up considerably in the past two years. If this bracelet had been worn by Elvis and been accompanied by a photo of him wearing it, the top bid would have been much higher. However, the auction website said it was a gift Elvis gave to his friend and backing vocalist J.D. Sumner. That meant it had been touched for a few minutes by Elvis – enough for it to be worth almost $7,000 to somebody.

 

Army Jacket, Circa 1950s:     $6,875

 Army-Jacket-Circa-1950s.jpg

This is yet another item of clothing that Elvis gave to his double-cousin Patsy Presley. She provided a letter of authenticity, and that plus the accompanying photo of Elvis wearing the jacket resulted in the selling price coming in double the $3,000 estimate.

 Elvis-Wearing-Army-Jacket-2.

 

Striped Shirt, Circa 1960s:      $22,500

 Elvis-Striped-Shirt-Circa-1960s.jpg

When I saw the pre-auction estimate of $1,000 (and up), I said “No way. This will go much higher.” Apparently ten bidders thought the same thing, as they ran the price up to $22,500. It is cotton blend with blue, gray, and black stripes, long sleeves, six button front closure and French cuffs

 Elvis-Wearing-Striped-Shirt-on-Promo-Shot.jpg

The auction offering also included a well-known publicity shot of Elvis wearing the shirt.

Close up of EP on Striped Shirt

Finally,  the desirability of the shirt is boosted by the “E. P.” monogram on the pocket. This is a great Elvis collectible with everything going for it, and it is indicative of the new market values for these quality articles.

 

Monogrammed Shirt:     $56,250

Elvis' EP Monogramed Sweatshirt

Here’s another item with a ridiculous estimate of $1,000. Instead, we ended up with the highest price I have ever seen paid for an article of Elvis clothing, except for jumpsuits (and some of them have gone for less than $56,000). Sixteen bidders fought it out for this white cotton, zip-up collar shirt, with a large “EP” stitched in black on left breast. The letter of authenticity says Elvis appeared on the cover of Life magazine wearing the shirt. I Googled it and couldn’t find the cover, but I guess it is true. The LOA also stated that Elvis is shown in the movie Tribute to Elvis wearing the shirt while playing football.

Elvis in Monogrammed Sweatshirt with Anita Wood

However, this accompanying picture of Elvis wearing the shirt with girlfriend Anita Wood to his right probably was the clincher for the bidders. There is an interesting story about how the owner of the shirt happened to get it. Maudie Hayes was the wife of the co-owner of a car dealership in Memphis. She said Elvis borrowed a station wagon to transport his football team to a playing field. When he returned the car, he left the shirt in it. When Mrs. Hayes told Elvis about it, he told her to keep the shirt.

 

Unused Concert Ticket:     $5,625

Ticket for Elvis concert in La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1956

How about this — a $1.50 Ticket for Elvis’ 9:30 pm performance at the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium in La Crosse, Wisconsin, May 14, 1956 that sold for over $5,600.

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Jailhouse Rock Promotional Poster, 1957:      $5,937.50

Promotional Poster for Elvis in Jailhouse Rock

The top bid on this 24” X 38” in-store display really surprised me. Although the auction website says it is a rare early promotional poster, it also admits that the poster is in poor condition with numerous wrinkles and yellowing throughout, Scotch tape residue on the front, and the entire backside covered in masking tape. I thought one of the basic tenants of collecting Elvis memorabilia was to buy only items in excellent condition.

 

© 2013 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Curious Results at Recent Elvis Auction

Gotta Have It concluded their “Rock and Roll Pop Culture Auction” on September 27.  It contained 41 Elvis items, and the offerings were much like those covered here in previous posts.  Of course, there was clothing Elvis had given to his buddies, plus jewelry, autographs, and rare photographs.  However, the expectations listed on the auction website for the winning bids on some items were questionable, and several results were curious.  For example, look at what has to be the most inflated minimum bid I have ever seen.

1957 Concert Poster:

1957 Multnomah Stadium Concert Poster

This 11″ x 14″ cardboard poster for concert in Portland, Oregon on September 2nd, 1957, shows Elvis in his western outfit from the movie Loving You.  And it truly is very rare.  According to the auction house, there is only one other known surviving copy of this poster.  They say there are few remaining posters from any of Elvis’ 50s concerts, and most of them don’t have Elvis’ picture on it.  Elvis wore his famous gold lame jacket for this show and at stops in Vancouver, BC, and Tacoma, and Seattle.  Elvis mania was in full swing, and a near-riot occurred.  This poster comes from a radio DJ’s wife who actually attended the concert and saved it for over 50 years!

Okay, it was a historic concert, the poster was one of the few with Elvis’ photo on it, and it is extremely rare.  But, where did they get the idea to set the minimum bid at $35,000?  When I saw that, I knew it would go unsold.  For that kind of money you could get several articles of Elvis’ clothing, accompanied by photos of him wearing them and/or letters of authenticity from the folks Elvis gave the clothes to.  If you had $35,000 to spend on Elvis collectibles, wouldn’t you much rather have some cool shirts, pants and coats?  I’m curious to see how much lower the minimum bid will be on this poster when it shows up at auction again.

 

Brown Suede Jacket and Pants: 

 Brown Suede Jacket and Pants With Scarf

There is nothing surprising about the results on this set of Elvis clothing. The minimum bid was $8,000, and the winning bid was $14,174 included the buyer’s premium charged by the auction house.  Like three other lots in this auction, it was a gift from Elvis to Alan Fortas, who provides Letters of Authenticity on all.  Elvis bought this brown suede jacket and flared slacks combo in 1968.  No history is offered for the scarf that accompanies them.  This is an example of a good investment in Elvis collectibles – three article of his personal clothing for just over $14,000.

 

Beaded Fringe Suede Vest:

 Beaded Fringe Suede Vest

This was a very good deal if your budget can’t handle the bigger ticket items.  Elvis’ beaded, fringed suede vest had a projected sell price of $4-6,000, but it went for just the minimum bid of $2,000 plus buyer’s fee.

 Beaded Fringe Suede Vest -- Wearing

Not only does it come with a photo of Elvis wearing it, it also comes with a LOA from Elvis’ cousin and Graceland gate guard, Harold Loyd, whom Elvis gave it to one day while cleaning out his closet.  I can’t believe only one person bid on this vest, but that person must certainly be thrilled with their bargain-priced Elvis collectible.

 

Mint Green Munsingwear Pajamas:

 Mint Green Munsingwear Pajamas

Now let’s look at a really bad deal.  These pajamas were one of several items in the auction originally given to Charlie Hodge by Elvis.  The minimum bid was $2,000, and just one person bid on them.  For some inexplicable reason, this person bid $8,000, four times more than necessary to get on the board.  Why?  Pretty stupid.

 

North Beach Leather Pants with Whip Stitching:

North Beach Leather Pants With Whip Stitching

These custom made cream leather pants with red whip stitching came with a LOA from Charlie Hodge, but no photo of Elvis wearing them.  Perhaps that is why the minimum bid was only $1,000, low enough to bring in the most spirited bidding of all offerings.  The winning bid came in at $2,600.

 

Diamond & Gold Nugget Ring:

8 ct. Diamond & Gold Nugget Ring

This14k gold ring was by far the most valuable item of the auction, but also a big loser for the seller.  It is set with 16 round brilliant cut diamonds and three emerald cut diamonds totaling 8.05ct.  The minimum bid was $20,000, which seems kind of low, and the projected sell price was $110-120,000.  It brought in $57,000, but unfortunately it had been purchased at Affiliated Auctions in December 2009 for $107,500.  Somebody took a huge loss.

A very interesting story behind this ring is told on the auction website: “At this 1975 concert in North Carolina, Elvis threw his black Gibson guitar into the audience and two men in the front row grabbed for the guitar and wrestled for it briefly. One man ended up with the guitar, and Elvis called the other man over to the front of the stage where he met him, took this ring off his finger and gave it to him. Elvis walked back across the stage saying into the microphone, “Ah, what’s $16,000.” The man’s name was Lloyd Perry, and the ring comes with a letter of provenance from him as well as newspaper articles and photographs.”

 

Long Sleeve Shirt, Pants and Belt:

 Long-Sleeved Shirt, Pants and Gold Belt

Here is another lot containing three Elvis clothing items.  It went for $12,865, double the minimum bid and above the projected winning price.  Elvis gave Charlie Hodge this flowery print shirt, black flared bottom slacks, and gold metal stretch belt with a lion buckle in 1970, when he was cleaning out his Palm Springs house.

Upside down sunglasses

Although no mention is made on the auction website listing, the shirt sure looks like the one Elvis wore during the rehearsal filming for the movie Elvis – That’s the Way It Is.

 

Custom Made Pink Gabardine Shirt:

Custom Made Pink Gabardine Shirt

Considering that this shirt was custom-made for Elvis, it has to be one of the most conservative shirts he ever wore.  It has a LOA from Alan Fortas, but for some unknown reason, it is accompanied by a photo of Elvis wearing a “very similar shirt.”  Other than being pink, it looks substantially different, so what value does the picture add?

Custom Made Pink Gabardine Shirt -- wearing

In addition to the LOA, one other thing should have made this shirt desirable to bidders.  It is the Lansky Bros. “Styled for Elvis Presley” label inside the collar.  Still, the shirt topped out at only $2,929, a bargain in my mind.

Label on Custom Made Pink Gabardine Shirt

“Aloha From Hawaii” Transparency Slides:

 Aloha From Hawaii Transparency Slides

This set of 11 original slides from 1973 show Elvis arriving in Hawaii for his “Aloha From Hawaii” TV special.  It brought in $1,952, just about what was expected.

 

Two Sets of Four Original 8 x 10 black and white photographs of Elvisley, each signed by photographer Alfred Wertheimer:

Al Wertheimer Set 1

 Al Wertheimer Set 2

In addition to Alfred Wertheimer’s signature of the back of each photo, he also hand-wrote his photo titles, a description of the shot, and the location and date.

Alfred Wertheimer Signature and Notes on Back

What’s curious is why the first set had 10 bids and went for $1,433, while the second had only 3 bids and topped out at $803.  I can’t figure it out.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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