Tag Archives: Rings

Elvis’ Fabulous Rings — Part 3

It was a slow process assembling the rings for Part 1 of this series – 13 rings from ten rock and roll memorabilia auctions over a four year period.  Part 2 was a little easier – eleven rings from four auctions plus the website Elvis Moments in Time.  For “Elvis’ Fabulous Rings — Part 3,” they all came from one auction that just ended on August 14.  It was the Ultimate Elvis Auction held in Memphis by Heritage Auctioneers over Elvis Week.  Let’s take take a look at ten more rings Elvis owned and gave away to a girlfriend, music associates, and Memphis Mafia buddies.

 

Diamond Cluster Ring

This 14K yellow gold ring adorned with seven small diamonds (approximate total weight of one carat) sold for $10,000 plus the auction house premium of 25% for a total of $12.500.  Also Included is a Letter of Authenticity (LOA) from Sam Thompson, brother of Linda Thompson, and the King’s personal bodyguard for several years.  Thompson states Elvis was wearing the ring on a 1977 flight to Hawaii, Sam admired the ring, and Elvis simply removed it from his finger and gave it to him.

The appeal of this diamond cluster ring was no doubt enhanced by an accompanying photo showing Elvis in his dragon jumpsuit wearing the ring.

 

Rubellite Ring

This large baguette cut ring brought in a high price, considering that it is a synthetic ruby, not a real one.  Part of the explanation for this is the ring’s history.  As explained in a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) from Joe Esposito, Elvis wore this ring, and then gave it to his girlfriend at the time, Linda Thompson.  According to another COA, years later Thompson sold this and most of the other jewelry Elvis had given her to a Beverly Hills jewelry store.

But, probably the biggest boost to the selling price was the accompanying photo of Elvis in a white jumpsuit from his Elvis on Tour wardrobe wearing the ring.  This 9K gold and 20 carat rubellite ring sold for $6,875.

 

Gold Nugget Ring

Elvis usually pulled rings off his fingers to give them to other people, but sometimes they came right out of his bedroom jewelry box.  Elvis gave this 10K ring with four diamonds to Marty Lacker, his longtime friend, personal aide, and the co-best man at his wedding. . Lacker tells the story in the 2011 signed letter accompanying this ring:

“One night in the 70’s, I was upstairs at Graceland with Elvis and he was going through his jewelry case and he turned around came over to me and said ‘let me see your hand’. I had no idea what he meant so I put my left hand out and he slid this ring on my finger.  I thought it was a good looking ring. I looked at it and started to take it off to give back to him and he said, ‘keep it, it is now yours.’ That was a typical move for Elvis… I have worn it on my left hand every day for the last 40 years.”

The ring sold for $5,250, including the auctioneer’s premium.

 

Tiger Eye Ring

 

Here’s a ring we looked at earlier this year in “Elvis’ Fabulous Rings – Part 2.”  Elvis owned and wore this ring, but gave it to Claude Thompson, who was his choreographer for the ’68 Comeback Special.  The tiger eye stone is mounted on a 14k heavy gold electroplate setting.  Accompanied by a LOA from Thompson, it sold at auction in November 2009 for $4,481.  Now, it was able to command $5,500 plus premium, so the owner made a little over $1,000 on the sale.

 

Gold Coin and Diamond Ring

 

This is an impressive ring, with an 1853 two-and-a half-dollar gold coin surrounded by tiny diamonds and set in a 14K gold mounting.  However, the seller obviously had an inflated sense of its value.  The auction estimate was $35,000, and the minimum bid was half that.  With the premium added, that comes to almost $22,000 opening bid, and no buyers thought it was worth it.

One problem was that there was no photo of Elvis wearing it.  The item description says you can see the ring on his finger in the 1970 documentary Elvis: That’s the Way It Is.  Well, duh.  Why didn’t the seller play the DVD on his computer and do a screen grab?  With some cropping and resizing, he’d have the photo you need to establish Elvis’ ownership.

 

Turquoise Ring

 

This ring cost less originally than most of Elvis’ purchases because it has no gold or diamonds.  There is a large turquoise stone set in silver.  It went for $4,375, including the premium.  This was certainly aided by a color photo of Elvis wearing it.  It also had had two LOAs verifying it as a ring Elvis owned.  He later gave it to J.D Sumner of the Stamps Quartet as part of a gift of a large collection of turquoise jewelry.

 

Gold and Citrine Ring

 

This ring was custom made for Elvis in the early 1970s by Thunderbird Jewelers of Las Vegas.  It has eight citrine stones totaling 25 carats in a gold setting.  It sold for $5,000, the minimum bid plus the premium.

It is another of the rings Elvis gave to Linda Thompson in the 70s that she sold in the 80s.  There was no photo of Elvis wearing it, but Joe Esposito provided an affidavit and a certificate of authenticity.  Seems like it would be better to have these from Linda Thompson.

 

Black Star Sapphire and Diamond Ring

 

The auction web page proudly described this as a massive gold 14K ring with a large number of round brilliant cut diamonds and many black sapphires.  Then they put what would seem like a ridiculously low opening bid of $1,250 on it.  Nine bidders ran the winning price up to $8,750 including the premium.  Elvis gave the ring to Alan Fortas, a member of the Memphis Mafia and one of Elvis’ best friends for almost two decades.  Fortas once said:

“Elvis believed the wearing of sapphire jewelry was supposed to signify generosity, good manners, wisdom and noble thoughts.”

The ring was accompanied by a LOA from Abe Fortas.  I wonder what it might have gone for if there was also a photo of Elvis wearing it.

 

Gold and Diamonds Ring

 

Here is the second ring that failed to generate the minimum bid.  The auction estimated it would bring $30,000 because it is huge – nearly 1-1/4 inches square with 36 diamonds set in 14K gold.  It says EP on one side and TCB on the other.  And, it was accompanied by a color photo of Elvis wearing the ring.  No history of the ring was given.  For some reason, the lot included two framed unused tickets for an August 22, 1977 concert at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, six days after Elvis’ death.  Even with all that, nobody wanted to put out $18,750 (including auction premium) to buy it.

 

Red Coral, Turquoise, and Sterling Silver Ring

 

This is a ring we also looked at in “Elvis’ Fabulous Rings – Part 1”, and the result was better the first time.  In the early 70s, turquoise rings were very popular with Elvis, and he had as many as ten or twelve.  One day Elvis realized he had so many and said to Charlie Hodge, “What am I going to do with so many turquoise rings?”  He solved the problem by giving this ring to Charlie.

In March 2011, Gotta Have Rock and Roll Auctions offered this Native American ring with elaborate silver work accented by turquoise and coral stones.  It was accompanied by a LOA from Charlie Hodge and a picture of Elvis wearing the ring.  It went for $5,000 plus premium, and I commented at the time that it seemed like a hefty price for an Elvis ring with no gold or diamonds in it.

So, now Heritage Auctions has had their shot at this ring.  The LOA from Hodge was included, but not the picture of Elvis wearing it.  Somebody goofed, and the winning bidder had to pay only the minimum bid of $3,000 plus premium.  Yes, it is possible to lose money on high-priced Elvis collectibles.

 

 

©  2012    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.

 

Elvis’ Fabulous Rings — Part 2

In March 2011, ElvisBlog presented a pictorial essay showing thirteen Elvis-owned rings that had sold at auction in the previous five years.  A few more Elvis’ rings have changed hands in auctions since then, but various websites have provided photos of other rings he owned, most including significant historical or price information.  So, let’s take a look at ten more of Elvis’ fabulous rings.

Diamond and Opal Ring:

Diamond and Opal Ring

Opals were one of Elvis’ favorite stones (there were three opal rings in the first ElvisBlog article).  This one is a massive 14kt gold ring with two opals and a bunch of diamonds.  Elvis wore it both on stage and for personal use.  It was offered at the July 2011 Gotta-Have-It Rock & Roll Auction, and it sold for $10,365, including the buyer’s premium added on by the auction house.

Diamond and Peridot Ring:

Diamond and Peridot Ring

The large gem in the center of this 14k gold ring is a 6.70ct. oval-cut peridot.  It is surrounded by two circles of tiny diamonds totaling .60 carats.  Elvis owned the ring for a while, and then gave it to his cousin Harold Lloyd in the mid-seventies.  The ring was offered at Julien’s March 2011 with an expected range of $2,00 to 4,000.

TCB Ring:

TCB Ring

This has to be the most expensive ring Elvis ever had special-made for him, or at least in the top three.  It contains 56 diamonds, including an 11.5 carat solitaire.  Elvis paid $35,000 for it in 1974, which would be $163,000 in today’s dollars.  So far, I have been unable to find if it has ever been sold at auction.

Black Sapphire and Diamond Ring:

Black Sapphire and Diamond Ring

Here is another nugget-style ring once owned by Elvis.  Not too much is known about this ring except that Elvis wore it for a while and then gave it in 1976 or 1977 to his uncle Uncle Vester, the long-time guard of the Graceland gates.  The ring has a large black sapphire surrounded by six diamonds.

Chieftain Ring:

Chieftain Ring

Although this ring looks like silver, it is 14k gold.  The chieftain features a round emerald accenting the headdress.  Two full-cut diamonds are his eyes, and thirteen others complete the headdress.  As with so many of the rings Elvis owned, he gave this one away, too.  He gave it to Ed Parker, his karate teacher and friend.  The chieftain ring sold in 2011 at Julien’s Auction for $15,360.

Turquoise and Opalescent Ring:

Turquoise and Opalescent Ring

This is an unusual Elvis ring because it does not contain any diamonds or gold.  Turquoise was another of Elvis’ favorite stones (there was another one in the 2011 ElvisBlog article).  This large sterling silver ring was owned by Elvis in the 70s.  Who he gave it away to is not clear, but it has sold at least twice at auction, in 2006 and again in 2009 for $6,572 (including BP).

The Ashville Ring:

Ashville Ring

Back to gold and diamonds again – big time.  This beauty is encrusted with 19 round-cut diamonds totaling 10 carats.  It is called the Ashville Ring because it was there that Elvis gave it away to a fan during a July 24th 1975 concert.  The fan was Lloyd Perry, and this is how he remembers the event:

Elvis was coming to Asheville, N.C. for 3 nights in July 1975. A friend of mine got us tickets for the 24th, and believe it or not it was front row seats, right in the middle of the stage. I could reach out and touch him we were so close. Of course when Elvis came out the crowd went wild. We noticed he kind of looked at our group there in the front. Maybe it was the light and he could see us. Well, 2 or 3 songs into the show he turned, walked back to the center of the stage, and then turned around and threw his guitar toward me and this other guy seated next to me. We both caught it and played around with it. It was an old scratched up Gibson guitar, with Elvis Presley written in pearls down the neck. Although the other guy kept the guitar, I think Elvis wanted me to have it. After a couple more songs, all of a sudden my wife nudged me and said Elvis is motioning for you to come to the stage. Well, I looked up and went to the stage to shake hands with him, and to my absolute surprise, he was trying to put this ring on my pinky finger. I was shaking like a leaf. I then went back and sat down. I remember the crowd was going wild. Afterwards Elvis walked back across the stage, shrugged his shoulders and said ‘Aw what’s $16,000?’  An amazing night I will never forget.”

The ring may have cost Elvis $16,000, but it sold at Affiliated Auction for $107,500 in December 2009.

Gold and Diamond Caesar Cameo Ring:

Gold and Diamond Julius Caesar Ring

This type of heavy 18k gold ring is called nugget-style for obvious reasons.  In the center is a cameo that looks like Julius Caesar, and although he has five diamonds in his head, it’s not clear if he is wearing a crown.  Other diamonds grace the ring, 17 small single-cut stones around the cameo and 16 single-cut diamonds around the outer bezel.  The name Elvis is engraved on the backside of the cameo.  This ring sold at auction in August 2010 for $38,837 (including buyer’s premium).

Tiger Eye Ring:

Tiger Eye Ring

So far, we have looked at rings Elvis gave to his cousin, uncle, karate instructor, and a fan.  This one he gave to Claude Thompson, who was his choreographer for the ’68 Comeback Special.  The tiger eye stone is mounted on a 14k gold ring.  It sold for $4,481 (including BP) at auction in November 2009.

Lapis and Diamond Ring:

Lapis and Diamond Ring

Karate instructor Ed Parker apparently received several rings as gifts from Elvis. This is the second in this pictorial, so he has obviously been turning a few bucks over the years auctioning them off.  Lapis is another of Elvis’ favorite stones (there were two in the 2011 blog).  The website where I found this picture said it last sold for $12,800, but didn’t say where or when.

 

©  2012    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.