Tag Archives: Elvis Presley rings

Speculating on Elvis’ Rings Can Be Risky

 

Elvis Presley Unsold Blach Sapphire Ring at Julien's

The collector who purchased this ring for $7,500 in August 2017 thought he could sell it for a sizeable profit just eight months later in May 2018. He was wrong.

We’ll take a look at several Elvis rings in this post — ones that exemplify the risks of short-term speculating on them. First, here is the description of the above ring on the website for the August 12, 2017, Graceland Auction.

 

Diamond and Black Star Sapphire Ring:

The shimmering rays of the star effect in the star sapphire is called asterism, from the Latin word astrum, or “star.” Black star sapphires owe their stars to the included crystals of the shiny, dark mineral hematite. The unusual design of this 14-karat yellow gold, diamond and black star sapphire ring has a “Star Trek” flair.

Star sapphires were a favorite of Elvis’ and he was as known for wearing them as often as he gifted them to friends and family. This ring has an oval black star sapphire being held by two rays of diamonds atop a textured gold high-set band. The interior of the band is marked “14k”. The black sapphire measures 7.5 by 5.9 mm; the ring weighs 8 grams and contains 6 small diamonds.

This ring, size 6 1/4, emanates from Charlie Hodge and was purchased by the consignor in the early 1980s along with 11 additional rings. Elvis gave Charlie all 12 rings simultaneously in the same box in which Elvis had kept them. There are several photos of Elvis from the filming of Elvis: That’s The Way It Is that show him wearing a small ring on his pinky finger that strongly resembles the offered ring.

Elvis Presley - Close-up of Black Sapphire Ring

 

The ring had a minimum bid of $5,000, and the winning bid was $6,000. However, the winning bidder actually had to pay $7,500 because the standard 25% buyer’s premium was added.

Graceland Auction's Final Prices Include Buyers Premium

 

The last thing on the Graceland Auction website was this:

The ring, gifted by Elvis to Charlie Hodge, is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

 

So, if I had owned this ring and needed to sell it, I too would have placed it on Graceland Auctions. They always do such a nice job with their detailed and interesting descriptions, plus a nice assortment of high-quality photos.

Elvis Presley's Black Sapphire Ring Pictures

 

And I would also have made the investment required to get the Letter of Authenticity (with pictures) from Graceland Authenticated. While that would have cost me 10% of the fair market value of the ring, I believe that will be more than covered by the increase in value it produces.

Graceland Authenticated Letter of Authenticity

 

To summarize, I’ve been following auctions of Elvis items for years, and I truly believe the Graceland Auctions gets the best results for people wanting to sell their Elvis memorabilia.

I also believe that folks who buy top-tier items through the Graceland Auctions have acquired something that will appreciate over the years. Here is a quote from Glenn Johnson who owns about 1,000 Elvis items at an estimated value of $4.5 million.

“A lot of people say the value of Elvis items will go down once his older fans are gone. I look at other historical figures and cultural icons from 100+ years ago. Their original fans are gone obviously, but yet their collectibles are fetching outrageous prices (ie Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, any early presidents). I say Elvis is here to stay.”

Glenn is certainly not the only Elvis collector who expects their collection to become more valuable as time goes by. However, would they think of trying to “flip” a new purchase in just eight months? I doubt it.

However, somebody did just that, as we saw above.

 

Julien's Auctions

Same ring. But, just the one photo that’s shown at the top of this post. Just a five-line item description.

That’s not going to juice up bidders much. And I’m not sure what kind of bidder base is attracted to an auction with more Britney Spears and Kiss stuff than Elvis.

But the best predictor of a bust when trying to flip an Elvis ring is simply the math of the whole thing. Bear with me please. Say the guy that bought the black star sapphire ring at Graceland for $7,500 wanted to make $1,000 profit. The hammer price (when the auctioneer slams the gavel down and says “Sold.”) would have to be $8,500 or more. Let’s go with that.

When that winning bidder pays up, he would have to cover that 25% buyer’s premium, bringing it up to $10, 625. But, wait, there’s more. Julien’s has another charge – 3% for on-line bids. That brings it up to $10,880. Nearly $11,000 for a ring that sold for $7,500 just eight months earlier. No, thanks.

 

Here are three more Elvis rings that sold on Graceland Auctions and did manage to sell on Julien’s – but at a loss.

 

Tiger’s Eye Ring:

Elvis Presley - Gold and Tiger’s Eye Ring

(From the Graceland Auction website):  Elvis loved jewelry and often his spirituality affected the gems he chose. Tiger’s eye was one stone that Elvis favored, perhaps because it is believed to bring harmony, balance and protection as well as enhance good luck. This simple and classic 10-karat yellow gold men’s ring, weighing 9 grams, has a single central oval-shaped tiger’s eye stone measuring 17 by 12 mm. The ring, size 10, was gifted by Elvis to Pat West, wife of Red and secretary to Elvis. The ring comes with a letter from Jimmy Velvet and Bobby (Red) West on Elvis Presley Museum certificate stock and states in part, “This large cat’s eye ring was worn by Elvis Presley. It was given to Pat West by Elvis while Pat was his secretary.” As further provenance, additional documents include a copy of a letter, dated December 15, 1983 on Elvis Presley Museum letterhead. This charming ring with impeccable provenance documentation is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

Elvis Presley's Tiger's Eye Ring - Upright

The ring sold at Graceland Auction for $10,000 including the 25% buyer’s fee. It sold at Julien’s for a hammer price of $8,000. This attempt to flip an Elvis ring resulted in a $2,000 loss.

 

Diamond and Garnet “Swami” Ring;

(From Graceland Auction website): This noble ring, in the form of a maharaja with diamond eyes and a large garnet centered on the front of his turban, is fit for a King—so what better person to own such a bauble than the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll himself, especially since the term “maharaja” means great ruler or king. The ring is marked 14k yellow gold and has stylized shoulders that accentuate the bearded and bejeweled turbaned head. The diamond eyes each weight 0.01 carat and measure 1.2 mm and the ring measures size 9 1/4. The ring, with a total weight of 27.3 grams, is offered with a detailed letter from the consignor that states in part:

“One of the items I picked up from Tom Hulett at this time was Elvis’ Turban Ring or Swami Ring. He told me at one point after wearing it amongst some other rings, Elvis took it off his hand and told Tom to try it on. Tom mentioned something about it being a kind of unusual ring while he put it on one of his fingers, and Elvis told him to just keep it. Much later on I found out that this might be one of the rings Elvis is wearing in the photos where he is wearing a turban, the long red coat with black accents, and the Ram Head necklace.”

The ring is also accompanied by a letter from Graceland Authenticated.

Elvis Presley's Swami Ring - Profile

The ring sold at Graceland Auction for $12,500 including the 25% buyer’s fee. It sold at Julien’s for a hammer price of $10,000. This attempt to flip an Elvis ring resulted in a $2,500 loss.

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Gold and Gray Star Sapphire Ring:

Elvis Presley - Gold and Gray Star Sapphire Ring

(From Graceland Auction website):  Elvis was fond of jewelry featuring the star sapphire, which emanates rays from the center as light is shone on the stone. Elvis would often wear star sapphire rings and would as frequently gift them to family and friends. Perhaps his fascination stemmed from the special significance of sapphires in numerology, of which Elvis was an enthusiast. The offered gray star sapphire is set in a 14-karat gold “birds nest” setting, adding to its allure. The men’s ring, measuring size 10 1/2, is marked 14k and comes with a letter from Sam Thompson which states in part,

“During this time, in December of 1976, and while talking with Elvis upstairs at Graceland, Elvis called me into his dressing area of his bedroom and asked what size ring I wore. I told him I didn’t know and he told me to hold out my hand and he handed me a ring he removed from his own hand for me to try on. It fit on my pinky finger and he smiled and said it was his gift to me. The ring is nugget style, 14K yellow gold, with a gray star sapphire, and about a size 10 1/2. It has been in my possession since that day in 1976.”

This stunning gift from Elvis to Sam is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

Elvis Presley's Gray Sapphire Ring Profile

The ring sold at Graceland Auction for $8,750 including the 25% buyer’s fee. It sold at Julien’s for a hammer price of $8,000. This attempt to flip an Elvis ring resulted in a $750 loss.

 

So, we have a total loss on the three Elvis rings of $5,250!!   Ouch.

 

Julien’s Auction in May 2018 did have a few spectacular results, including this ring.

Fifty-Diamond Star Ring:

Elvis' $100,000 Diamond Star Ring

A hundred grand for an Elvis ring!! In spite of the fact that the picture used obviously is not the best one to show off this stunning ring. The item detail does a better job.

“A diamond star-shaped ring given by Elvis Presley to a concert-goer Donna Lewis on July 24, 1975, during a performance at the Civic Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

“The ring is designed in 14K white gold, topped with 50 full-cut round diamonds totaling approximately 6.00 cts. and graded H-I color and VS-SI clarity, size 7 1/2. 25.4 grams.

“Accompanying the ring is a photograph of Lewis and Presley at the moment he gave her the ring; an image of Presley wearing the ring; an affidavit from Lewis; and two images of Presley with a thank-you card given to him at a concert on March 18, 1976, in Johnson City, Tennessee.”

 

I wonder what kind of price this fabulous ring would have brought at a Graceland Auctions with lots of great pictures, extensive description, and an all-Elvis bidder base.

 

Photos and text used by permission, copyright 2018 GracelandAuctions.com

 

 

 

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

 

 

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Elvis’ Fabulous Rings — Part 8

Elvis -- Diamond and Opal Ring - Side View

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

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Diamond Cluster Cocktail Ring:

Elvis -- Diamond Cluster Cocktail Ring

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

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

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

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

 

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Gold and Diamond Lion Head Ring:

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Lion Head Ring

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

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

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

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

 

White Gold and Star Sapphire Ring

Elvis -- White Gold and Star Sapphire Ring

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

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

 

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 $2-1/2 Indian Head Gold Coin Ring

Elvis -- 1911 Indian Head Gold Ring

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

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

 

Gold and Diamond “Pyramid” Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond “Pyramid” Ring

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

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

 

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

 

Gold and Diamond Panther Head Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Panther Head Ring

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

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Panther Head Ring - Front

The auction website had this to say:

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

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

 

Diamond and Blue Sapphire Owl Ring

Elvis -- Diamond and Blue Sapphire Owl Ring

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

Elvis -- Diamond and Blue Sapphire Owl Ring - Front

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

 

Gold and Diamond Cocktail Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Diamond Cocktail Ring

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

Elvis -- Diamond Cluster Cocktail Ring

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

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

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

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

 

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Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring

Elvis -- Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring

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

Elvis -- Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring - Side View

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

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

 

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Diamond and Opal Ring:

Elvis -- Diamond and Opal Ring

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

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

 

Gold and Red Star Sapphire Ring

Elvis -- Gold and Red Star Sapphire Ring

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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