Tag Archives: Elvis signatures

So, How Much is an Elvis Autograph Worth – Part 8

Sincerely Elvis Presley

It’s been nine months since the last ElvisBlog post in this series, but there have been three auctions this year with a number of Elvis signed items, so let’s see what the latest items are.

 .

 

Julien’s Auction – May 2016:

Elvis autographs show up at Julien’s infrequently, but there were five in this auction and the three signed on things other than photographs all had interesting aspects.

 

Color Photo Inscribed to Harry Levitch:

elvis-signed-photo-inscribed-to-harry-levitch

Elvis signed an untold number of publicity photographs for his fans, but occasionally he also did it for associates in music, film, and business. Harry Levitch was a Memphis jeweler who made, sold and repaired jewelry for Elvis, including Priscilla’s wedding ring. The inscription says, “To Mr. and Mrs. Levitch, my sincere for all the thoughtful jewelry over the years. Your friend, Elvis Presley.” The high bid on this 7” x 9” item was $1,600, including the 25% buyer’s premium.

 

1955 Bank Deposit Slip:

Elvis Presley Signed Deposit Slip

The interesting thing about this signature is that it is actually the carbon copy of a two-part deposit slip for the National Bank of Commerce in Memphis. A look at the fine print at the bottom shows “Duplicate Deposit Ticket / New Account,” so this $240 probably was the first money to go into it. I wonder how much the total deposits over the years came to. The winning bidder was happy to spend $1,920 for the carbon-copy Elvis signature.

 

Signed International Hotel Postcard:

Front of Elvis Presley Signed Postcard

Elvis Presley Signed Postcard

In addition to Elvis’ signature, do we we get a sample of other Elvis writing in the address to Mary Miller?  The auction website makes no memtion of it. Strangely, the inscription is “To Dennis.” The postcard went for $1,600.

 

Inscribed Children’s Book:

Elvis Inscribed Childrens' Book

Cover of Elvis Inscribed Children's Book

As you can see, this is signed E.P. which might ordinarily deter autograph collectors. However, the message above it must be one of the longest inscriptions Elvis ever wrote, “To Robin, a sweet little girl. Thanks for your lovely cards. They are wonderful. My sincere thanks and all the best. Your friend, E.P.” Bidders obviously saw value in this item, and it went for $1,600.

 

Signed Black and White Image:

elvis-presley-signed-photo

I expected this to bring less than the previous items because the auction website said it appeared to be a page taken from a book, not a quality publicity photo. Bidders didn’t seem to care, and it went for $1,600.

 

Auction at Graceland — October, 2016:

As I have stated before, the Auctions at Graceland seem to be the ones with the best return for sellers. They also have access to a number of contractual documents, applications, and other items that add significantly to the value of the signature. I prefer to feature mostly items that Elvis signed for the fans, but here’s a list of some of the big ticket signed documents:

1956 Application for the Screen Actors Guild — $6,250
1964 Rolls Royce Phantom V credit application — $4,000
1970 Federal Firearm Transaction Record — $6,250

 

Envelope signed at the Big D Jamboree, 1955:

Elvis Presley Signed Envelope

Back when I started following the auctions of Elvis collectibles, his autograph on whatever a fan had available (scraps of paper, blank check deposit slips, etc.) would bring in $6-800. That was during the early days of the recession. Now, seven or eight years later, the economy is healthier and it cost more to buy Elvis autographs. This 3-3/8 by 5-3/4 inch signed envelope in crappy shape brought in $1,375.

 

Signed and Inscribed Elvis’ Golden Records Vol. 1:

Elvis Presley Signed Album

A young fan got Elvis to sign this album cover while he was an Army recruit at Ft. Chaffee in 1958. As I have said before, it behooves the seller of Elvis autographs to present them in proper framed display in order to fetch top dollar. At 18 by 27 inches, this signed album will look great on any collector’s wall. It went for $2,500.

signed-and-inscribed-elvis-golden-records-vol-1-close-up

 

Signed “Mr. Rhythm” Magazine in Framed Display:

elvis-presley-signed-mr-rhythm-magazine-in-framed-display-copy

OK, my theory isn’t foolproof, as proved by this item. Here we have a signed photograph from the back cover of a “Mr. Rhythm” souvenir picture program from 1956. It is beautifully displayed in a 33” by 39” black frame, along with the program cover, three photographs, and a descriptive plaque. In spite of all this, it had only four bids and went for $1,500. A real bargain for somebody.

 

Signed Early Promotional Photo from 1955:

elvis-presley-signed-early-promotional-photo

And this item diminishes another of my theories. I have often wondered why people pay so much for an Elvis photo autographed on the BACK. How do you display it? Like this?

elvis-presley-signed-early-promotional-photo-close-up

While this item has no appeal to me, it did to somebody, as it went for $2,500.

 

Signed Thunderbird Hotel Cocktail Napkin, 1963:

elvis-presley-signed-thunderbird-hotel-cocktail-napkin

Here’s a question for you. You know about Elvis performing at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, and later at the International/Hilton Hotel, and getting married at the Aladdin Hotel, but what is his connection to the Thunderbird Hotel. Give up? He stayed there while filming Viva Las Vegas. In a story like countless others, a fan had a chance encounter with Elvis and grabbed the first thing she could to get his autograph, which was this cocktail napkin. It is in less than ideal shape, but still went for $2,500.

 

Signed Flamingo Hotel Envelope:

Elvis Presley Signed Flamingo Hotel Envelope

Here’s another one. What was Elvis’ connection to the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas? You are all probably familiar with the 1969 picture of Elvis in a hard-hat signing papers at the construction site of the International Hotel. It was actually a ceremonial contract for his upcoming concert engagement when the hotel was completed. Elvis stayed in town for four days at the Flamingo and signed this hotel envelope. It sold for $2,125. So much for proper presentation in a framed display. At the Auction at Graceland, bidders just didn’t seem to care.

 

Elvis Presley Signed Promotional Poster:

elvis-presley-signed-promotional-poster

Well, if a 3” by 6” signed envelope is worth $2,125, then certainly an autographed 21” by 28” color poster is worth $2,750.

elvis-presley-signed-promotional-poster-close-up

This prize was originally obtained in 1973 by a girl with the good fortune to have a flight attendant sister who knew Elvis personally. When Elvis performed in their hometown at the Pittsburgh Civic Center Arena in July 1974, the girls spent a lot of time with Elvis and his buddies. Along with a treasure of wonderful memories, she also got this signed poster.

 

Heritage Auctions – November 2016

There were just a handful of Elvis collectibles in the latest Heritage Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction, but what can you expect when the Auction at Graceland featured 145 the month before?

 

Signed June Kelly Print from Roustabout:

elvis-presley-signed-june-kelly-print-from-roustabout

This painting was used during the promotion of Elvis’ film Roustabout.

elvis-presley-signed-roustabout-poster-close-up

Penciled on the back side in the artist’s hand is “Artist proof #1 / for Elvis / June Kelly. I guess that helped push the bidding up to $1,687

 

Elvis Presley Signature with Photo:

elvis-presley-signature-with-photo

This is a nice example of proper displaying. The scrap of paper with Elvis’ autograph measures just 2.75″ x 4″, but the framed display is 12” by 19”. It went for $1,500

 

Elvis Presley Signed Black and White Photograph:

elvis-presley-signed-publicity-photos

At first glance, it might appear Elvis signed this black and white photograph twice. However, the white “Best Wishes/ Elvis Presley” at the bottom right is a facsimile printing.

elvis-presley-signed-black-and-white-photograph-close-up

The real signing was “To Jo/ I Love You Very Much/ Elvis Presley” at the top right in red ink. She was Jo Heims, the female screenwriter on his 1967 MGM film, Double Trouble. The top bid on this was $1,625.

 

 

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

 

ElvisBlog Logo

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

So, How Much is an Elvis Autograph Worth? — Part 6

September 10, 1971 Elvis Presley Signed Performance Contract for John Wilkinson - Close Up

This series on Elvis autographs has been great for driving search engine traffic to ElvisBlog. There sure are a lot of folks out there who ended up with grandma’s prized Elvis autograph, and are curious what it is worth. I not qualified to give an estimate to them. Instead I direct them to my friend Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian at www.jerryosborne.com. His service is very reasonably priced, but if someone wants to get a rough idea of their autograph’s value, they can scan the 54 autographs featured in this series so far. And now, thanks to the recent Auction at Graceland, here are 12 more.

.

1955 Elvis Signed Promo Photo:

1955 Elvis Presley Signed Promo Photo

If you read the first ElvisBlog article on the new Elvis Stamp a few weeks ago, you will recognize this as one of the ten photographs taken by William Speer in 1955. This shot wasn’t the one chosen to be on the stamp, but it obviously was used for promotional purposes.

1955 Elvis Presley Signed Promo Photo - Back

Elvis autographed the back of the photo in pencil for Carl Denton, an aspiring singer on the bill with Elvis at a September 14, 1955 show.

It went for $2,000 ($1,600 plus 25% auction fee), which I think is pretty high for something in this poor condition. Plus, it can’t be displayed in a proper frame. Either you show the picture or the signature. If I collected Elvis autographs, the only signed photos I would buy would be signed on the front.

 

Signed and Inscribed Note to Sara “Little Bit” Cossman:

Elvis Signed and Inscribed Note to Sara Little Bit Cossman

This signed page from an autograph book is in much better shape. Elvis wrote the message and autograph in 1962 or 1963 while visiting an RCA office. Sara “Little Bit” Cossman sat at the reception desk when he arrived. He picked up her autograph book without being asked and signed it. Of course, “Little Bit” was an affectionate name Elvis used over the years for various girlfriends.

This item sold for $2,500 (including the 25% FEE).

 

Snapshot – Signed While Elvis was Stationed in Germany:

1959 Elvis Presley Signed Snapshot

This photo was taken in 1959 outside of Elvis’ house during his time in the Army. The auction website says the woman appeared in many other photographs with Elvis at this time.

Fourteen bids were made on this signed photo and it went for $2,750. This is a good example of the extra value the autograph on the front brings. But I wonder how many bidders read the fine print that this photo is tiny (2-3/4” by 2”)

 

Signed and Inscribed International Hotel Room Service Menu:

Elvis Signed and Inscribed International Hotel Room Service Menu

The picture above shows the back of the International Hotel room service menu from 1969 or 1970. The front cover is missing, so I wonder if Elvis had signed both, and then they were separated later to multiply the value.

The message says, “To Susie and Bill, Thank you for the beautiful bible, Elvis Presley,” but no explanation of the occasion is mentioned on the auction website. Final price: $3,000.

 

Signed Thunderbird Hotel Cocktail Napkin:

Elvis Signed Thunderbird Hotel Cocktail Napkin

Elvis autographed cocktail napkins show up in the auctions fairly often. The story is always the same: Somebody has a chance encounter with Elvis and wants to get his autograph, so they grab the first thing they can find. Elvis signed this napkin in the lounge of the Thunderbird Hotel in July 1963 while he was in Las Vegas filming Viva Las Vegas.

The top bid was $3,125, which seems high to me. Why would a signed napkin bring more than a signed photo? It may have to do with the charged atmosphere at the Auction at Graceland. If I had an Elvis autograph to sell, this is where I would offer it.

 

Signed Photograph From Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men of America Award Luncheon:

Elvis Signed Photograph From Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men of America Award Luncheon

This is a great picture taken at a very important event in Elvis’ life, and it is well worth the $3,625 it went for.

Elvis Signed Photograph From Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men of America Award Luncheon - Close-Up

The close-up shows Elvis’ message starts “To Andy.” Note what the word “To” looks like.

Elvis Signed Photograph From Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men of America Award Luncheon - Back

This is the back of the photo. According to the auction website, Elvis flipped it over and started to sign it. But Andy had the forethought to stop Elvis cold and have him sign the front. Good thinking, Andy. I wonder why more people didn’t figure that out.

.

Early 1956 Signed “Mr. Rhythm” Souvenir Program:

1956 Elvis Presley Signed Mr. Rhythm Souvenir Picture Album - Front

In February 1956, Elvis hadn’t yet been branded “The King of Rock and Roll.” In fact, this tour program calls him “Country Music’s Mr. Rhythm.” If the photo of Elvis looks familiar, that’s because it was the one used for the new Elvis stamp 59 years later.

Early 1956 Elvis Presley Signed Mr. Rhythm Souvenir Program - Signature

Elvis signed the back of the program which features the same William Speer photograph that started this article. The program brings some intrinsic value to the final high bid of $4,250.

 

Souvenir Concert Scarf and Handwritten Thank You Note:

Souvenir Concert Scarf and Handwritten Thank You Note by Elvis

We all know how Elvis used to toss scarves to lucky fans at his concerts. Did you know that Col. Parker, always on the lookout for ways to make a buck, had them available at the lobby souvenir stands? They had a facsimile signature printed on them, like the one above.

Souvenir Concert Scarf and Handwritten Elvis Thank You Note

So, the real value of this lot is the hand-written note Elvis wrote when he gave the scarf to Leilani Parker, wife of Elvis’ bodyguard and karate instructor Ed Parker. Note that Elvis signed it “E.P. and Linda,” which of course is Linda Thompson. The scarf and note combo had 22 bids and sold for $4,750.

 

1971 Signed Martial Arts Card with Fingerprints:

1971 Elvis Presley Signed Martial Arts Card with Fingerprints

I am surprised only three bids were made on this Forth Dan Black Belt card, but it still topped out at $5,000. Certainly, Elvis’ fingerprints in red ink on the back make this a unique collectible.

1971 Elvis Presley Signed Martial Arts Card with Fingerprints - Back

The auction website relates an interesting Karate story by Elvis’ friend and security guard Lee Ricketts.

“On the evening of February 18, 1973, at Elvis’ midnight show, four men from Los Angeles rushed onto the stage to attack Elvis. They jumped onto the stage one at a time to attract the bodyguards and the last one was to take on Elvis ‘to show him up as a phony at Karate’ and as he approached Elvis, he (Elvis) with one Karate kick sent the man off the stage and into the audience. After the four men were subdued and turned over to the uniformed security guards the show was canceled and a very excited Elvis was escorted back to the suite.”

During the time that Lee Ricketts helped with security for Elvis’ shows, he received his 1st degree black belt in Kenpo Karate from Master Kang Rhee, who did not have a certificate with him at that time to present to Ricketts.  So Elvis gave him his Fourth Don Black Belt Karate Certificate.

 

Houston Astrodome Livestock Show and Rodeo Collection Including Elvis Presley Signed Check:

Elvis Check to Astroworld Hotel

It seems reasonable that even a blank check from Elvis’ account would have considerable collectible value, so it’s no surprise nineteen bids went after this signed check. Bidding topped at $5,500. Elvis stayed at the Astroworld Hotel while performing at the 38th Annual “America’s Wildest Rodeo” in February 1970.

1970 Houston Astrodome Livestock Show and Rodeo Collection Including Elvis Presley Signed Check

It was offered in this terrific framed display, which also included an Astroworld Hotel full-color brochure and an original two-page press release, and a photo from the event. Also included is Colonel Tom Parker’s personalized name badge from the show, which probably added zero value to the lot.

.

Signed 1970 Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men of America Award Booklet:

Elvis Signed Jaycee's Program

These autographed items are listed in order of ascending price. For the most part, the reason for the higher prices will be the item that Elvis signed. That is certainly the case here.

Being chosen as one of the Jaycees Ten Most Outstanding Young Men for 1970 was one of Elvis’ proudest moments. The awards ceremony took place on January 16, 1971, in Memphis. Future President George H. W. Bush was the featured speaker.

Jaycees Program with Elvis' Autotograph

This is the program for the event. Elvis’ picture and bio got two pages. The other nine recipients got one page each. The lot also included two ticket stubs. Although there were only three bids, the new owner spent $7,500 to get this collectible.  It is interesting to note that another signed copy of this program sold at auction for $4,687 in December 2013.  And another one sold in September 2012 for $2,375.  This confirms my impression that the Auction at Graceland is the place to get maximum return if you sell your Elvis collectibles.

.

Signed 1955 Tax Return and Signed August 1956 All Star Shows Tour Settlement Statement:

Elvis Presley Signed 1955 Tax Return

This collection of early signed documents includes Elvis Presley’s 1040 tax return from 1955 for which Elvis’ total income was $25,214.15. The first page is signed in blue ink by Elvis Presley and dated “Aug 10/56.” Elvis has listed his address as 1034 Audubon Drive, his occupation as “Musical Entertainer” and his total exemptions as 4.

Elvis Presley Signed 1955 Tax Return - Close-up

Elvis’ quick rise to stardom is evidenced by the payment statement from the August 1956 tour, which is also included in this lot. The typed statement from the All Star Shows lists a sum total of $20,750 paid to Elvis for performances from August 3-12, 1956.

Signed August 1956 All Star Shows Tour Settlement Statement

I’m not sure why these documents were offered as a “twofer,” but together they brought in a top bid of $8,125. My question is how Elvis’ signed tax return ever got out of the IRS files.

.

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

 

ElvisBlog Lip Logo

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

 

The Second Auction at Graceland — Part 3

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

Viva Las Vegas Movie Poster:

lvis Viva Las Vegas Movie Poster, 1964

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

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

.

Tickle Me Movie Poster:

Elvis Tickle Me  Movie Poster, 1965

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

 

Special Shelby County Deputy Sheriff Badge:

Elvis' Special Shelby County Deputy Sheriff Badge

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

Elvis' Law  Enforcement  Badge Collection

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

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

 

Elvis Presley’s Personal Checkbook Register:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Checkbook Register

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

 

Elvis Tour Jacket, 1975:

Elvis Tour Jacket, 1975

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

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

 

Used Guitar Pick:

Elvis Used Guitar Pick

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

 

“That’s All Right” 45 Record:

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

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

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

 

Flashing Blue Police Light:

Elvis-Owned Blue Police Light

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

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

 

Red and White 7-Button Shirt:

Elvis' Red and White Shirt From Homer Gilleland

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

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

 

Four of Elvis’ Personal Telephone/Address Books:

nside pages Elvis Presley’s Personal Address Books

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

Elvis Address Book

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

 

Army First Aid Kit:

Elvis Presley’s Army First Aid Kit

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

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

 

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

Solicitation for next year's Auction at Graceland

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

Heritage Auctions Ad Solicitation

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

Gotta Have It Ad Solicitation

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

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

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

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

 

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

 

ElvisBlog Thumbnail Icon

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

 

So, How Much is an Elvis Autograph Worth? – Pt. 4

If the volume of comments is a measure of success for blog posts, then the ElvisBlog series on Elvis autographs has been a winner. There seems to be a lot of folks out there holding on to an Elvis autograph and wondering what it’s worth. If that includes you, there’s good news. Eight of the nine Elvis autographs offered by Heritage Auctions at its just completed Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction, exceeded the pre-auction estimate. Several of them brought two or three times the expected prices. Let’s take a look – in sequence cheapest up to most expensive.

Autograph on White Paper (Circa 1960) — $1.062.50:

Elvis' Autograph on White Paper from Fan Book

Usually, the least expensive Elvis autographs are written on a scrap of paper, or the back of a check deposit slip – whatever a fan had available when the opportunity came up. The value can be enhanced by framing it or adding extras. Here is an example. The small white sheet of paper above is a 5” x 4.5” page from an autograph album (shown directly below it). Elvis signed it boldly in blue ballpoint pen.

Blow Up of Elvis' Autograph in Fan Book

The seller added two unsigned black-and-white photographs, and the package brought in $1,062.50 (including 25% buyer’s premium to the auction house). But the photos and book are really of no value, so this turned out to be a rather expensive Elvis autograph on a plain piece of paper.

 

Signed Magazine Page (Circa 1957) — $1562.50:

Elvis' Autograph on Magazine Page, Circa 1957

This autograph seems to have been written on a page from a magazine or program. Elvis signed it “Thanks Honey, Elvis Presley” in blue ink. The Honey receiving the thanks was Joyce Gentry, the president of the Elvis Presley Rock-N-Roll Kats Fan Club in Missouri, as noted in the upper left corner.

Blow up of Elvis' Autograph on Magazine Page

The 10″ x 8″ image has been glued to a piece of black construction paper. The pre-auction estimate was $1,500, which seemed a little high to me, but the winning bid topped that.

 

Signed “Surrender”/ “Lonely Man” Compact 33 Single (1961) — $1500:

Compact 33 with Elvis' Autograph

Elvis’ five Compact 33 singles from 1961 are some of his most highly sought after records. “Surrender”/”Lonely Man” was the first, and the most copies of it were released. Still, a ‘mint’ copy of it sold for $700 at auction three years ago.

Blow Up of Elvis' Autograph on Compact 33 Single

The one pictured here is in ‘VG-EX6’ condition, and the sleeve is ‘VG7’ (not quite mint, but really, really good). Add Elvis’ autograph to the sleeve, and the package is worth $1,500 (25% above the pre-auction estimate). To me this is an excellent Elvis collectible and well worth the money.

.

Signed Graceland Christmas Card (1959) — $1625.50:

Christmas Card with Elvis' Autograph

I have studied this thing numerous times, and I can’t figure it out. The auction website says it is 8.5” x 5.5” but is that the dimensions of everything shown, or each half because there are clearly two images. And why is the top half of the lower one up-side-down?

 Blow Up of Elvis' Autograph on Christmas Card

Regardless, Elvis signed it and sent it to Janet Gentry, that Rock-N-Roll Kats Fan Club president.

Envelope for Christmas Card with Elvis' Autograph

Together, the weird autographed Christmas card and the envelope addressed in Elvis’ handwriting brought in $1,625.50, an excellent value in my opinion.

.

Signed Elvis LP – RCA 1382 (1956) — $1625.50:

 Elvis Autographs on Album

 Elvis was the title of his second RCA album released in 1956. Of course it can have considerable value to collectors, but the auction website makes no mention of this copy’s condition, which makes a huge difference. Plus the sleeve is missing.

Blow Up of Elvis' Autograph on LP

However, it is signed “yours Elvis Presley” in white ink, and has been matted and framed to 14.5″ x 14.5’ so this is a very cool collectible. The sell price came in just above the estimate, the most accurate on any of the nine items.

.

Signed Humes High School Commencement Program (1956) — $1687.50:

Elvis Autographed Humes High School Commencement Program, 1956

This commencement program is not from Elvis’ graduation in 1954. He left Humes High as nobody special, but two years later he had become a huge rock and roll sensation. Elvis went back to his alma mater as the Class of ’56 was graduating and caused quite a stir. As a result, we have this signed commencement 5.5″ x 8.5″ program matted and framed to 9″ x 20″.

Blow Up of Elvis' Autograph on Commencement Program

The black-and-white picture of Elvis has no connection with the program, but it adds a nice touch to the presentation. Somebody liked it a lot, as the high bid came in 50% over the estimate at $1,687.50. I wonder if that bidder didn’t read the fine print and thought it was Elvis’ graduation program.

.

 Signed Black and White Photograph and a Related Telegram (Circa 1965) — $3,500:

Elvis Autograph on Black and White Photograph

This item had a pre-auction estimate of $1,600, and I thought that was a little high. To my surprise, it sold for $3,500. Sure, you’ve got a nice publicity photo with Elvis’ inscription, “To Dore, Many thanks for everything from Elvis Presley.” Dore” was Dore Freeman, a longtime publicity agent at MGM Studios. All in all, not enough to justify $3,500.

Blow UP of Elvis Autograph onBlack and White Photograph

The item accompanying the photo is a Western Union telegram to Dore Freeman wishing him a happy birthday. It might have added some value if Elvis had sent it, but it was sent by Colonel Parker.

 

Signed America’s Ten Outstanding Young Men Banquet Program (1971) — $4.687.50:

Elvis Autographed America's Ten Outstanding Young Men Program

Like the Compact 33 record and the Elvis album, this program has some collectible value by itself. In 1971, Elvis was selected by the United States Jaycees as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in America. George H W Bush, Ambassador to the UN at that time, was the keynote speaker at the banquet which was held in Memphis.

Blow up of Elvis' Autograph on America's Ten Outstanding Young Men Program

This made it easy for several Elvis buddies to attend, and apparently Marty Lacker’s parents as well. The blowup of page 22, which contained Elvis’ bio and photo, shows he wrote, “To Mister and Mrs. Lacker, Love Elvis Presley.” The top bidder thought it was worth three times the estimate of $1,500. This time I think the bid is right and somebody goofed on the low-ball estimate.

 

Signed Playboy Bunny Cuff and Complete Bunny Ensemble (Circa 1973) — $6,250:

Elvis' Autograph on Playboy Bunnie Cuff

This is a photo of a white cotton Playboy bunny cuff, including the bunny logo cufflink that holds it together around the wrist. Elvis autographed it with a blue felt-tipped pen. This is a very cool Elvis collectible, especially because also included are the complete bunny outfit – ears, collar, bowtie, shoes, sky-blue suit, the other cuff and cufflink, and a black nametag reading ‘Deni’.

Playboy Bunny Outfit that Accompanies Elvis Autographed  Bunny Cuff

I wish they had included a back shot of the outfit showing the white cottontail. The estimate was $3,000, and the winning bid was more than double that. I guess I can see how it might be worth that much to some collectors, but if I had $6,250 to spend, I’d by some clothing worn by Elvis, not a Playboy bunny named Dani.

If you want to see every Elvis autograph that sold at auction in the past few years, click on the links below.

 Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

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

 

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

So, How Much is an Elvis Autograph Worth? – Pt. 3

The two ElvisBlog posts that generate the most comments are Part 1 and Part 2 of the continuing series So, How much is an Elvis Autograph Worth?  If anyone in possession of a signed photo, record album, or anything else Googles “Elvis Autographs,” ElvisBlog comes up third on the list.  However, a quick check shows that two higher ones do not report prices recently paid for Elvis signature items.  If you want a reference to approximate the value of your Elvis autograph, this is the place to come.

Fortunately, Heritage Auctions presented their Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction in Dallas last December 14, and it contained nine Elvis autographs.  All prices below include the 25% buyers’ premium added on by the auction house.

 

Signed Color Print from 1965:   $625

Signed Color Print Plus Close-up

This oversized (20” x 16”) print of the original work by June Kelly depicts Elvis wearing a red jacket.  He signed it in blue ballpoint ink on the left center: “To Vicki / Love you allways / Elvis Presley.”  $625 seems like a low price for this piece.  It must be the water damage and other staining that turned people off.  When you blow up the image on the auction website, you can see blotches all over his jacket and one on his face.  There is also a streak coming down from his left eye where the water must have run.  What kind of fool lets a huge color autographed Elvis picture get rained on?  At least the inscription was not affected.

 

Signed International Hotel Keno Card, circa 1970:   $875

Signed Back of Keno Card and Front

According to Rich Consola who provided the third-party authentication for all the Elvis autographs in this auction, Elvis would go out into the casino from time to time during the Vegas days, with all his guys around him, and he was known to have signed autographs there.  Some lucky gambler named Joyce must have been at a Keno game when Elvis joined in, and she had the foresight to get the King’s signature on the back of a Keno card.  Too bad about the old Scotch Tape mark around the autograph.  That had to bring the price down some.

 

Signed Back of Check, Circa 1957:   $1,125

Signed Check 1957 Back

Signed Check 1957 front

This autograph did considerably better than the pre-auction estimate, and I’m not sure why.  It’s a good thing it came with a Certificate of Authenticity, because it looks a lot different than most Elvis autographs in this series.  He signed this personal check on the back in pencil “yours / Elvis Presley.” There is slight staining on the blow-up of the check, but the autograph is not affected.   The seller’s mother obtained this autograph in person when she saw Elvis at the Dallas Love Field Airport in 1956 or 1957.  The only thing she could find in her purse for him to sign was this torn-out check from the family checkbook.

 

Signed Loving You, Vol. II EP, 1957:   $1,187

Signed Loving You EP Front and Back

The next three items all originated from Buddy Ochoa, the first Elvis impersonator (according to the item description on the auction website).  For the full story on this, please check out the November 12, 2012 ElvisBlog article about Ochoa.  There is no mention of the condition of the album sleeve, but it does look pretty worn down at the corners.  Note that Elvis signed this extended play album once on the back, because we will compare it with the next two items.

Signed King Creole EP, circa 1958:   $1,625

 Elvis Presley Signed King Creole EP

Elvis signed the front of this EP album: “To Buddy, Elvis Presley”.   The album cover looks as worn at the corners as the previous one, and both have the same intrinsic value as unsigned albums.  So, why did it bring a price almost $500 higher?  Could it be that the signature is on the front?  It certainly will look better than the other when presented in a matted display.

 

Autographed Loving You EP and Photo Display:   $1,875

Autographed Loving You EP and Photo Display

This 20” by 30” display contains a lot of stuff, but most of it is of little value.  The photo is Buddy Ochoa and Elvis in 1958.  The shirt is similar to the one Elvis wore on the cover of the Blue Hawaii album.  That cover is partially visible behind other items and is unsigned.  The Loving You EP album cover is Vol. 1, and it is also unsigned.  So, that leaves the back cover of that EP, signed twice by Elvis.  It is unclear if the higher sell price of this item is due to the double Elvis signatures or to extra stuff and the nice display presentation.

 

Signed and Inscribed Spinout Promotional Photo, 1966:   $2,000

Elvis Presley Signed And Inscribed Spinout Promotional Photo 1966

This is a top-quality 12” by 12” color promotional photo showing Elvis wearing one of his outfits from the movie Spinout.  It is inscribed to Norman Taurog, the director of that movie and eight other films starring Elvis.  The winning bid was quite a bit higher than the pre-auction estimate.

Both Signatures on Spinout Promo Picture

It says, “To Mr. Norman Taurog.  My deep thanks for everything you have done for me.  With my deep respect.  Elvis Presley.”  It also says, “Thanks for everything.  Elvis Presley”  Look at those two signatures side by side.  They sure look different to me, but they both have been authenticated.  I need to do a little research to find out how that can be.

 

Signed Black and White Photograph, 1965:   $2,000

An Elvis Presley Signed Black and White Photograph, 1965

An original 10″ x 8″ print with a matte finish, depicting a classic headshot of Elvis from the early 60s, signed in green fountain pen ink in the lower right corner: “To Vicki / My Best allways / Elvis Presley.”

An Elvis Presley Signed Black and White Photograph, 1965 Recipient

This item was consigned directly to Heritage Auctions by the now adult Vicki Malkin, the former child actress who portrayed “Sari” the in 1965 M-G-M film, Harum Scarum, and who danced with Elvis as he sang ‘Hey Little Girl.’ Vicki remembers as a nine year-old having a big crush on Elvis and that he signed this photograph for her at the wrap party when the film was finished.

 

Signed Personal Check to Dick Grob, 1975:   $3,750

Elvis Presley Signed Personal Check to Dick Grob 1975

This check was the big winner at this Heritage auction, bringing in almost twice as much as the pre-auction estimate.  As you probably know, Dick Grob was the head of security for Elvis.  He must have done something special to get a $1,500 bonus after the July 1975 road tour (see note on left of check).  This is the first time I’ve seen an actual check drawn on his personal account, so they are probably very rare.  That probably added much to the value of this Elvis signature.

 

©  2012    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 Thumbnail Icon

 

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

So, How Much is an Elvis Autograph Worth? – Pt. 2

When we took our first look at Elvis autographs two years ago, the auction prices ranged from $384 to $4,062.  There was also an autograph that went for $11,520, but it was on a shirt Elvis had worn, and four photographs of him in it were provided as verification.  Elvis’ clothing is in high demand, and almost none of it is autographed, so it’s not surprising that this item went for big bucks.

Today, we look at eleven Elvis autographs that changed hands at the Heritage Auctions’ Elvis Memorabilia Signature Auction held last month in Memphis during Elvis Week.  This time there were no low-end items such as signed napkins or loose torn-off bits of paper.  Also, most sellers were smart and offered their items in good-looking framed displays which always bring higher value.

It should be noted that each of these eleven autographs comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.   All values would have been less without it.

 

Two Back-to-Back Autographs:     $1,250

Sometime in the mid-50’s, a fan noticed Elvis in a small café eating cornbread and a bowl of chili.  The fan approached Elvis and asked for an autograph, but had no paper for it except his check book.  A check was sacrificed for the cause, and Elvis obliged by signing it on both sides – in pencil.

So how do you best display a two-sided autograph?  Add a nice color photograph and matting with cutouts on both sides to show the autographs.  It paid off for the owner, as the high bid was $1,250, including the auction premium.

 

Girls! Girls! Girls! LP:     $1,250

This is the first of two signed albums that sold at the auction, but the other carried a price more than double this one.  That difference is due to the inherent value of the albums as collectibles.  The Girls, Girl, Girls soundtrack album from 1962 is not considered anything special among Elvis record collectors, but with his autograph on it, the bidding topped at $1,312.  The jacket is signed in blue ballpoint ink in the lower right corner, “To Gary / Many Thanks for / all your help / E.P.”  Gary being Gary Pepper, an Elvis fan club president.

 

Publicity Photo:     $1,375

This is an 8” x 10” black-and-white photo given away at Elvis’ historic 1970 engagement at the Las Vegas International Hotel.  The signature in white is printed on the picture.  The valuable autograph is done in green marker on the guitar and says, “To Bobby, Love, Elvis Presley.”


.

.

Autograph and Photo:     $1,650

This is just a 4” x 3.5” piece of lined tablet paper that Elvis signed in 1956.  However, it brought a good price because it has been nicely presented in a matted frame, and is accompanied by a framed 1955-56 era black-and-white photo of the King.

 

 

Tour Photo Album:     $1,625

This is a 16-page high quality 8.5″ x 11″ photo album with a great color photo of the King on the front.  It was included in the 1970 RCA release Elvis: Worldwide 50 Gold Award Hits Volume 1.  Elvis has signed at left in blue ballpoint: “To Darlene, Elvis Presley.”

 

Outstanding Young Men Program Book:     $2,375

Elvis and nine other men under the age of 35 were selected by the United States Jaycees as the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America for 1970.  In January, 1971, a ceremony was held in Memphis to honor them.  Elvis was present and made an acceptance speech.

72-page programs were produced for the event, and they have considerable intrinsic value as Elvis collectibles.  This copy’s worth is enhanced because it was autographed by Elvis in blue ink on page 23 in the margin next to his bio.

 

Black and White Snapshot:     $2,375

This is an original 3.5” x 5” photograph showing Elvis during his Fort Hood, Texas days standing among other soldiers in what appears to be an Army base facility. The date stamp on the right border (from when the photograph was developed) reads “May 1958,”  Elvis signed “Elvis Presley” on the back in blue ballpoint ink.  If the owner had taken the trouble to put it in a matted display with cut-outs to show both sides, it probably would have gone for more than $2,375.

 

Loving You Stereo LP:      $2750

This signed album cover has more value than the first one we looked at above because it is something of a rarity and is in excellent shape.  The original Loving You album was released in 1957 in Mono.  For some reason, RCA decided to re-release it in 1962 in Stereo, and distribution was limited.  Combine that with Elvis’ autograph and you have a big winner.

 

Guitar Case:     $5,000

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

Somehow, the girls were able to get Elvis to sign the case, “To Peggy and Diana from Elvis Presley” with a bold marker on the inside bottom felt.  Forty-five years later, that $15 purchase was worth $5,000 at another auction.  Nice going, Peggy.

 

Contract for Easy Come, Easy Go:     $5,625

Some folks must have wanted this item pretty bad and started a bidding war on the contract for Elvis’ 23rd feature film.  I don’t get it.  For that kind of money you can get a ring or clothing that Elvis actually wore.  He signed this three-page contract on September 27, 1966, and it stipulates his salary would be $400,000.  Col. Parker’s signature is also on it, too, but that doesn’t add much to its worth.

 

Application for Membership in the Screen Actors Guild:     $6,250

This 8.5” x 5.5” document was signed in black ink by Elvis on August 21, 1956.  This was just one day before filming started on his first movie Love Me Tender.  I love the line:  “I understand the obtaining of employment is my own responsibility and it is not the function of the Screen Actors Guild to aid in securing employment for its members.”  Elvis had no trouble ‘finding employment’ in the movie business for the next sixteen years – he acted in 31 features.

 

©  2012    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net
.

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprise