Tag Archives: Elvis clothes

Elvis Fabulous Wardrobe – Part 7

Elvis Presley's Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket -- Back

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

Blue Armadillo Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket:

Elvis' Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket

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

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

Elvis' Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket - Wearing

 

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

 

Motorcycle Cap Gifted to Elvis’ Uncle Vester Presley:

Elvis Presley's Motorcycle Cap Gifted to Uncle Vester

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

 

Three Pair of Pants from Elvis Movies:

Three pair of Elvis Presley's Movie Pants

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

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

Elvis wore the Flaming Star pants throughout the entire film.

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

Elvis Presley's Flaming Star Beige Western Jeans

 

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

Label on Elvis Presley's Viva Las Vegas Pants

 

And all three had Letters of Authenticity.

Elvis' Easy Come, Easy Go Pants Certificate of Authenticity

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

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

 

Brown Leather Jacket:

Elvis Presley's Brown Leather Jacket

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

Elvis Presley's Brown Leather Jacket Sears Label

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

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

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

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

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

Electric Purple Button-Down Shirt:

Elvis Presley's Electric Purple Button-Down Shirt

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

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

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

 

Rabbit Fur Coat:

Elvis Presley's Rabbit Fur Coat

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

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

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

 

Red “Elephant Corduroy” Suit:

Elvis Presley's Red “Elephant Corduroy” Suit

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Suede, Leather, and Fur-Trimmed Jacket:

Elvis Presley's Elvis Suede and Fur-Trimmed Jacket

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

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

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

 

Brown Velvet Jacket, Pants and Cape Ensemble:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cape with Tiger Skin Pattern on the Lining:

Tiger Skin Lining of Elvis' Lava Jumpsuit

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

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

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

Elvis Presley's Lava Jumpsuit - closeup

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

Elvis Presly in Lava Jumpsuit

This photo was not shown on auction website.

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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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 in Short Sleeves

EP Monogrammed Elvis Short Sleeve

There are lots of photos out there showing Elvis as a fashion icon.

Cool Elvis Out the Sun Roof

In fact, in March 2010, Graceland introduced a new exhibit called Elvis Presley: Fashion King. According to the press release at the time, it explores the fashion trends ushered in by the King of Rock & Roll.

Elvis Presley Fashion King Logo

 

The best fashion photos of Elvis came from his later years when he wore some stunning clothes. Even his casual wear during that period was notable.

Graceland Fashion King Exhibit

 

But in the fifties and early sixties, when Elvis dressed casually, he wore a number of short sleeve shirts with no particular fashion statement.

Elvis in Very Plain Short Sleeve

Not only did he wear short sleeve shirts, he rolled up the sleeves.

Elvis on Phone in Short Sleeves

 

Sullen Elvis in Short Sleeve

The top few buttons were almost always open.

Elvis with Short Sleeves Rolled up, Buttons Open, Collar Up

 

Elvis Signing Autographs Wearing Short Sleeve

There are a lot of photos of Elvis wearing this shirt.

Elvis WearingCustom Made Pink Gabardine Short Sleeve Shirt

When Elvis first started getting into stylish clothes, he went to Lansky Bros. in Memphis. This custom made Lansky shirt from 1956 sold for $2,925 at a 2013 Gotta Have It auction.

 

Elvis during Rehersal for Ed Sullivan Show

Elvis wore this shirt while rehearsing for the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. It shows another common Elvis preference – the collar turned up.

 

Elvis Wearing Short Sleeve in Girls, Girls, Girls

Elvis had all of his favorite early shirt features going in this shot from Girls, Girls, Girls – rolled-up short sleeves, open buttons, and turned up collar.

Elvis in Plain Black Short Sleeve

But, he doesn’t have them here. Looks pretty plain for Elvis, doesn’t it?

 

60s Elvis in Short Sleeve 1

This is older Elvis in unusually conservative clothing. Still rolling up those sleeves, though.

 

Elvis in Short Sleeve Like a Regular Tourist

Elvis looks like he could be just another tourist in Hawaii in this shot.

Elvis Wearing Faux Suspenders Short Sleeve

This looks like faux suspenders to me.

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Elvis did make attempts to get some fashion elements into his short sleeve shirts with so-so results

Elvis in Jazzed Up Short Sleeve

Young Elvis in Decorative Short Sleeve

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However, there is one shirt that doesn’t look very sharp by itself, but it shines when a sport coat is added to the ensemble.

Short Sleeve Shirt Worn by Elvis while Singing Hound Dod on Milton Berle Show

 

Elvis Doing Hound Dog on Milton Berle Show

This is Elvis performing “Hound Dog” on the June 5, 1956 Milton Berle Show. If you don’t know all about how Elvis’ gyrations that night ignited a firestorm of protest, you need to brush up on your Elvis history

. Black rayon shirt with pink yoke worn by Elvis Presley on The Milton Berle Show on June 5, 1956

I don’t know if the other parts of Elvis’ outfit from that landmark performance still exist, but the shirt sold for $51,000 at the Julien’s Music Icons Auction in June 2010. Not bad for an ugly short sleeve shirt.

 

 

© 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.

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.

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“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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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.

 

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The Second Auction at Graceland — The Big Winners

2015 Elvis Auction at Graceland

As part of the activities for Elvis’ 80th birthday celebration, EPE promoted a large auction of his memorabilia. You have to give them credit for coming up with another reason for folks to brave the harsh winter weather in Memphis that week.

Elvis Wearing Necklace, 1957

There were 67 items up for auction, and eight were pieces of jewelry, including the necklace above. I’ve followed auctions of Elvis memorabilia for years, and this one has to be called the big daddy winner. Many items sold for much more than the pre-event estimates. Let’s look at the most expensive items in descending order.

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Elvis’ First Recording Acetate:

Elvis Presley’s First Recording Acetate, 1953

According to the description on the auction website, this is likely the most important 78 mm record ever offered. It had a pre-auction estimate of $75-100,000, but twenty-one serious record-collector bids ran it up to $300,000. One note, the winning bid was $240,000, but a 25% “Buyer’s Premium” was added to cover the cut for the auctioneer (and probably EPE, too).

The auction website had a very complete description of this item and its history.

“Elvis walked into Sam Phillips’ Memphis Recording Service, home of Sun Records, [in August 1953] and paid the sum of $4 to record a belated birthday gift for his mother — his first ever recording. Elvis sang two songs: “My Happiness” (Side A), which is the only Elvis recording that exists of this song, and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” (Side B). Legend has it that Elvis’ friend Ed Leek convinced and accompanied Elvis to the recording studio that fateful day. Elvis was greeted by Marion Keisker, assistant to Sam Philips, who asked Elvis who he sounded like and Elvis responded, “I don’t sound like nobody.” Little did she know at the time that he was absolutely right. In these two songs that Elvis chose to sing, Marion heard something different, enough to note Elvis’ name and telephone number [on a 3×5 card] and add that he was a good ballad singer. When Elvis left the studio that day, he and Ed stopped at Ed’s parents’ house to listen to the fresh recording, as they had a modern phonograph and Elvis wanted to hear how it sounded. Elvis left his friend’s house that day without the record and this acetate is being offered directly from a descendant of Ed Leek.”

Elvis -- My Happiness Label

I can add two more things about the legend of this record. Supposedly, Elvis had no money with him this day, so Ed Leek paid the $4, and this is why the record stayed at Ed’s house. He also made some money from this record back in 1992, when RCA purchased the rights to include it in their compilation titled ELVIS The King of Rock ’N’ Roll – The Complete 50’s Masters.

ELVIS The King of Rock 'n Roll -- The Complete 50s Masters

 

Treble Clef Gold and Diamond Ring:

Elvis' Treble Clef Gold and Diamond Ring Gifted to Sammy Davis, Jr.

Elvis’ rings are always popular at the auctions, and this one is certainly fabulous. The pre-auction estimate was $20-25,000, and it hit the high end of that range. With the 25% buyer’s premium added, the total tab was $32,500. Let’s look at what the item description said about this ring:

“Elvis’ close friends were without a doubt very important to him, and one of those friends was Sammy Davis, Jr. This ring was treasured by “The Candyman” as it was one of several gifts given to him by Elvis that he kept in his possession for the remainder of his life. The offered 14-karat gold and diamond ring is designed as a bar of music with a diamond-encrusted treble clef on one side and a stacked but offset “EP” at the other end. The size 10 ring contains 11 diamonds weighing approximately 2.5 carats, with the gold weighing approximately 12.8 g. The design is reminiscent of the gates at Graceland.”

 

Elvis Presley’s First Sun Record, Signed:

Elvis Presley’s First Sun Record, 78 RPM Signed

The heirs of Ed Leek did well on another Elvis record. A year after the “My Happiness” acetate, Leek ended up with what is probably the first autographed Elvis Sun Records single. The estimate was woefully low at $10-15,000. It cost somebody $32,500 to take this prize home. Again, here is the auction description.

“This 78 RPM record of “That’s All Right” (#209) is the first Elvis song recorded at Sun Records. Elvis’ friend Ed Leek was with Elvis to witness the initial production of Elvis’ first Sun Studio record and grabbed one of the records, which Elvis signed to Ed, writing “To a good pal, Elvis Presley” on the label. Likely the first record signed by Elvis, this record has been in the same private collection as the 1953 acetate Elvis recorded for his mother. Considered by some to be the rock and roll equivalent of the “Shot Heard Round the World,” this record jump-started the unprecedented craze over this young star. The Sun label is signed in blue ink.”

 

1914 Indian Head Gold 2½-Dollar Coin and Diamond Ring:

Elvis' 1914 Indian Head Gold 2½-Dollar Coin and Diamond Ring

Records and rings dominate the list of top Elvis items at this auction. This beauty didn’t quite meet the estimate, but it still brought a winning bid of $18,750.

“Elvis had a great appreciation for jewelry and a particular like for jewelry that contained gold coins. He is known to have owned several rings with 2½ and 5 dollar gold pieces. The offered ring, with a U.S. 1914 2½ dollar Indian Head gold coin, was given to Tom Hulett, co-founder of Concerts West, in the 1969/1970 era. Tom was very instrumental in managing Elvis’ live performances in the last eight years of his concerts. Tom had great attention to detail and a knack for working well with Colonel Parker and as a result managed all of the Elvis concerts during this period. This fine example is surrounded by 26 round diamonds weighing approximately 1 carat total. The gold ring weighs approximately 18.6 g and measures a size 8 1/2.”

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RCA Award to Colonel Parker for “In The Ghetto”:

RCA Award to Colonel Parker for In The Ghetto

I’m afraid some of the bidders didn’t read the fine print on this one. Note the title above. It says “RCA Award to Colonel Parker,” not “RCA Gold Record Award to Elvis.” Here’s what the gold records at Graceland look like:

Elvis' Gold Records at Graceland

I thought the estimate of $6-8,000 sounded high, so I was blown away when it went for $16,250.

“This framed RCA Victor 45 award for “In The Ghetto” is dedicated “To Col. Tom Parker In appreciation of his contribution toward making IN THE GHETTO 47-9741 A Million Seller 1969.” The song, about a boy born and raised in the ghetto of Chicago, was written by Mac Davis and originally titled “The Vicious Circle.” The song describes the rough life of the boy and how, just as he is killed, another child is born, implying that the vicious cycle of poverty and violence will continue. Elvis made the song famous in 1969 and the song hit number 3 in the U.S. charts and number 2 in the U.K. This framed display features a 45 single above a silver colored plaque, both mounted on a black velvet background. The framed display measures 14 1/8 by 12 1/8 inches.”

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Neo Nautic Prescription Sunglasses Made for Elvis:

Neo Nautic Prescription Sunglasses Made for Elvis

This is the second time I’ve seen so-called “Neo-Nautic” style Elvis sunglasses at auction. The other one was less ornate and sold for $6,853 in 2011. Here is a photo of Elvis wearing the other pair.

Elvis Wearing Neo-Nautic Sunglasses

You don’t see many photos of Elvis wearing his shades in concert. Anyway, this better pair went for $15,000.

“These Neo Nautic style sunglasses with TCB custom embellishments on both arms were made for Elvis to wear for his concerts at Madison Square Garden by Dennis Roberts of Optique Boutique. Elvis often sent his sunglasses to Dennis for repairs and these glasses were sent in and never collected. The prescription sunglasses have three holes on each arm underneath the TCB embellishment. The arms show evidence of having been replaced, likely the reason they were sent to Optique Boutique for repair.”

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Red Velour Shirt Worn by Elvis in “Girl Happy”:

Red Velour Shirt Worn by Elvis in Girl Happy

This shirt sold previously at a Gotta’ Have It auction in 2011, and it brought in $8.216. This year it went for $12,500. However, here is a shot from the Girl Happy DVD. Seems like maybe blue should be the color to pull in this kind of money.

Elvis in Girl Happy Wearing Blue Velour

“The offered red velour pullover shirt with zippered collar opening has an orange MGM tag and an interior tag that reads “Sy Devore of Palm Springs Hollywood Las Vegas.” “E. Presley” has been written at the top of the tag. It comes from the MGM wardrobe collection and was worn by Elvis in the movie Girl Happy. Elvis can also be seen in various publicity photos wearing this red velour shirt. In his role, Elvis plays a band member hired by a Chicago mobster and club owner to watch over his daughter on spring break in Florida. This well documented shirt, worn by the man that has made many a girl happy.”

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Elvis Necklace from 1957:

Elvis-Worn Necklace, 1957

We will look at two necklaces in a row. This one is not made of a precious metal, and it has no diamonds or other jewels. However, it had 22 bids and went for $12,500.

“JD Sumner was Elvis’ bass singer in the 1970s. During performances at that time, fans would often throw tokens of their admiration for Elvis on stage at the end of each concert. Elvis would often give many of these items to JD Sumner. The offered religious pendant necklace was one such token that a fan gave Elvis. Before gifting it to JD Sumner, Elvis wore this necklace. It can be seen in images of Elvis from March 28, 1957 in Chicago meeting the press before a show [see second photo above]. The pendant with Catholic symbols on a clover-shaped design is suspended from a white metal chain and reads on the reverse ‘I am Catholic please call a priest.’”

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Gold “TLC” Necklace:

Elvis' Gold “TLC” Necklace
This necklace also went for $12,500, and there is no doubt that it is the one I’d spend my money on. It is 14K gold, historically significant, and rare.

“Elvis was known for gifting TCB (“Taking Care of Business”) necklaces to the men of his entourage and TLC (“Tender Loving Care”) to the women in his life. The offered necklace was one of only two of these necklaces made by a Beverly Hills jeweler for Elvis and this example was gifted by Elvis to Barbara Klein, wife of George, who was a member of Elvis’ entourage. The lightning bolt affixed to the TLC is marked “14k” on the reverse and the pendant is connected to a gold rope chain. The necklace measures approximately 18 inches long and the TLC pendant measures approximately 1 3/4 inches long.”

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16MM Film of Elvis Presley in Chicago, 1957:

16MM Film of Elvis Presley in Chicago, 1957

The pre-auction estimate sounded like a bargain at $1,500-2,000, but it turned out to be embarrassingly low. This film had 36 bids, more than any other item, and it topped out at $11,875. I hope the buyer puts it on a DVD and markets it, because that means someday it will be on YouTube. I would love to see footage of Elvis performing in 1957. And all those screaming fans.

Elvis on stage 1957

“Offered is a 16MM reel of Elvis Presley in Chicago in 1957. The film contains black-and-white footage of the end of Elvis’ concert in Chicago and is 5 minutes 15 seconds in length. Elvis, wearing a gold lamé suit, is singing to a packed house in the first 15 seconds of the film and then again for an additional 23 seconds around minute 1. The remainder of the film documents the phenomena of the physical reactions of fans to the King of Rock and Roll. The film pans to the first aid area of the arena and features a girl who fainted being whisked to first aid and revived by police. The film continues to feature female fans overcome with emotion, some crying, some waving, and many smiling and joyful. Several seconds of the film show the Colonel smoking a cigar and signing autographs. Many of the fans can be seen wearing large “I Like Elvis” buttons on their lapels. A fantastic peek into the raw emotions of fans after an Elvis concert. The film has no sound track and is contained in a period round metal container with a fabric tape label.”

 

Elvis’ First Driver’s License, 1952

Elvis' Driver's License

I knew this would bring big bucks, but it came in lower than I expected, and less than the $15-20,000 estimate. Still, $11,875 is nothing to sneeze at. I’ll bet the new owner puts it in a proper display frame. Wonder why the previous owner didn’t. He could have gotten more money for it.

“This significant document is the Tennessee operator’s (driver’s) license that Elvis obtained on March 24, 1952. It is accompanied by a completed form listing the same information. Both documents are signed by Elvis Presley. The license number is 1688827, with No 0197445 on the reverse, which lists no violations. The paper license (with no photo) was issued by the State of Tennessee and expired July 1, 1953. Both documents list his date of birth as 1-8-35, eye color as blue, weight as 153, occupation as student, hair color as “Bro” and height as 5’11 1/2”. The name is printed on the form and typed on the license as “Elvis Aron Presley.” The original typed address on the driver’s license is 185 Winchester, at the Lauderdale Courts public housing development in Memphis where the Presley family once lived. Penciled in next to that is an updated address of 698 Saffarans Avenue in downtown Memphis.  The operator’s license measures approximately 3 1/2 by 2 1/4 inches.

“Condition: The operator’s license is in fair condition with several tears expected from a paper document likely carried in a teenager’s wallet. The license also exhibits paper loss at edges, most notably under the “Presley” portion of the signature (leaving approximately 60% of the signature intact). The license has been covered in tape, which has caused the document to discolor severely.”

 

Next week we will look at the few losers that didn’t receive the minimum bid.

 

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

 

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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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