Every ten years or so, there is a big auction of Elvis memorabilia and collectibles. Back in 1999, I was fortunate to be in Las Vegas for a convention during the time that the Archives of Graceland auction had all the items on display at the MGM Grand Hotel. I spent three hours studying every item and reading all the information placards that accompanied them. My wife stayed with me for about twenty minutes but quickly lost interest and left to play the slots until I had seen everything.
I did not bid on any of the items at that Elvis auction, nor will I bid on the Gotta-Have-Rock-and-Roll auction going on right now. I just don’t need any more Elvis stuff, and money is tight as well. Fortunately, there does seem to be many collectors out there who are interested in owning these latest offerings and are bidding to get them. I know, because I have accessed the auction website several times since the bidding opened on March 16, and I enjoy following the changes in the latest bids on several key items.
Naturally, this includes the star of the whole deal – Lot # 1, the powder blue jumpsuit with gold cape that Elvis wore during his famous June 10, 1972 performance at Madison Square Garden. The auction set a minimum bid of $100,000, but the estimated bid range is projected to be $150,000 to 200,000. The last jumpsuit to sell, the Peacock jumpsuit, went for $300,000, so, we might expect to see a level like that this time.
The highest bid should be on Lot # 506, the white Wm. Knabe Grand Piano that Elvis used in Graceland from 1957 to 1969. Should be highest, that is, if anyone exceeds the minimum bid of $500,000. Right now there are no bids, although the estimated range is $750,000 to $1,000,000. One reason this is so high is that the piano had a substantial history before Elvis owned it, having been played W.C. Handy, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
There are a few items of Elvis’ jewelry in this auction. Both the 14KT gold and diamond owl ring (Lot # 12) and the 14KT gold diamond pavé bracelet (Lot # 13) and have minimums of $5,000 and estimates of $7-8,000. The ring is getting close to that range now with just three bids, and the bracelet is already past it with six.
Anything with Elvis’ autograph brings big bucks at auctions, but here is something with both his signature and his thumbprints. Lot # 15 is Elvis’ seventh degree black belt karate card. The minimum bid is $10,000. It is already there, and it should blast right by the high-end estimate of $13,000.
There are hundreds of Elvis-related items (that he never owned) in the auction. They go for much more reasonable prices, and I am following a few. Here is a 3-pack set of Graceland View-Master cards (Lot # 326). My son collects View-Master sets, so I’d love to buy these and give them to him. However, if I did get them, I’d have a hard time parting with them. In reality, the price will certainly end up prohibitive; it is already at $150 with nine bids, the most I’ve noticed on any item. I can’t imagine why the opening bid was set at just $10.
Here’s a set of sixteen Elvis mini-buttons (Lot # 260). This set is running parallel with the View-Masters: a dumb opening bid of $10 and nine bids up to $150 already.
The last item I’ll mention here is one I hope several other people would like to own. I already own a copy of this album, Between Takes, so I’m interested to see what it will go for. The minimum bid on Lot # 496 is $10 and only one person has bid for it so far. Actually, it is a fairly unique album with hours of chatter at recording sessions and backstage at concerts, but the auction description does not tell you that.
Like I said, it’s been fun following the progression of this auction. However, the real fun begins at 9PM Wednesday night, March 25. That’s when the Countdown Clock begins. You know how some serious bidders on on-line auctions get screwed when somebody else jumps in with ten seconds left and ups a bid while leaving no time for another to be made. Not with the Countdown Clock. Each bid received after 9PM will extend the entire auction closing by ten minutes. All items remain open for bidding until there are no new bids on any items for a period of ten minutes. So, as you can imagine, the real bidding on this auction will occur after 9PM next Wednesday. The auction company estimates things will go on for several hours, and I plan to be on-line and follow the action. If you would like to take a look, too, click on http://www.gottahaverockandroll.com/ and have some fun. If you think you might like to bid on anything, click on it now and get registered.
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