Monthly Archives: May 2011

Elvis’ Fabulous Rings — Part 1

The next time you look at concert photos of Elvis in his jumpsuits, check out his fingers.  You will note that he usually has three or four rings on each hand.  Elvis must have really loved rings, but he was also very generous with them and gave many away.  Because of that, quite a few have ultimately ended up at rock and roll memorabilia auctions.  During the past three years alone, thirteen Elvis rings have been offered at ten different auctions. 


Diamond Owl Ring:

This ring sold at the first auction I followed, the Gotta Have Rock and Roll Auction in April 2009.  Its owner let it go at a time that turned out to be the peak of high demand for Elvis jewelry, as it brought in over $44,000.  From that point on, the effects of the economic downturn seems to have made bidders much more cautious, and the winning prices for Elvis rings have steadily declined.   This is an outstanding custom-made ring with all those diamonds and a mess of 14KT gold.  The Elvis Owl Ring’s value was enhanced by an accompanying 8”x10” color photo of Elvis (with little Lisa on his knee) wearing the ring.


Green Cat’s Eye Ring:

There were two Elvis rings at the Julien’s Summer Sale auction in June 2009.    This fabulous green cat’s eye ring went for over $28,000.


Blue Lapis Ring:


Elvis was noted for his generosity to employees, friends and even complete strangers.  He gave both rings on auction at Julien’s Summer Sale to Dr. Nick, his personal physician and friend.  This gold, diamond and lapis stone ring topped out at over $33,000.


Crystal Opal Ring:

There was another Elvis ring at the next Gotta Have Rock and Roll Auction in March 2010.  This time it was a massive 14KT gold vintage ring featuring a beautiful crystal opal surrounded by approximately 1.25ct of diamonds.  Elvis bought it from Thunderbird Jewelers in Las Vegas in the early 70s, and he wore it both on and off stage for years.  Accompanied by a fuzzy color photo of Elvis wearing it at the Las Vegas Hilton in July 1974, it brought in over $20,000 at the auction.

Onyx and Diamond Ring: 

It is unclear if this is a personal ring or a movie ring, because the only supporting photo is a shot of Elvis wearing it in The Trouble With Girls.  It went for over $15,000 at the Julien’s Music Icons Auction in June 2010.  Elvis gave this gold, diamond and onyx ring to his Memphis Mafia buddy Alan Fortas, but it is now in the hands of a private collector.

Opal and Diamond Ring:

The Ultimate Elvis Auction was presented in Memphis by Heritage Auctioneers during Elvis Week 2010.  It contained a treasure trove of Elvis memorabilia, including this stunning opal ring which they proclaimed was one of his favorites.  The 24 x 20 mm opal is surrounded by 34 full cut diamonds.  It came with a letter of provenance from famed jeweler Lowell Hayes who originally sold it to Elvis.  Also included was a five-page appraisal from the Chicago Gem Lab.  With all this pedigree, the auction estimate was $50,000, but no one cared to even bid the minimum of $25,000.  We will probably see this ring at auction again, but with a lower minimum bid.


Diamond Roundel Ring:

Guerney’s was the third auction company to offer Elvis rings in 2010.  In September, this 14KT gold ring with seven diamonds had an estimated winning bid of $30 – $40,000.  It came with photographs of Elvis wearing the ring, a history of ownership, and a certificate of authenticity.  However, that was not enough to coax the minimum bid out of anyone.  The trend toward lower prices for Elvis rings was now very evident.

Horseshoe Ring:

Julien’s had another chance with an Elvis ring in October 2010.  The 14KT cast horse head has two diamonds for the eyes, and the silver horseshoe around its neck contains 18 diamonds.  It was designed after Elvis’ beloved horse Rising Sun.  This time, Julien’s set the starting bid at just $8,000 with an estimate of $12,000.  Unfortunately, I failed to follow up quickly enough before auction results were removed from their website, so I don’t know what it went for.

Black Star Sapphire Ring:

In February, 2011, Heritage had their Beverly Hills Signature Music and Entertainment Auction.  It featured this large black star sapphire and eight diamonds in a 14KT gold nugget setting.  According to the auction catalog, black star sapphire was one of Elvis’ favorite stones, and he had many pieces made with it.  He gave this ring to tour promoter Tom Hulett who provided a letter of authenticity and several photos of Elvis wearing the ring.  It sold for over $13,000.


Navaho Turquoise Ring:

Gotta Have Rock and Roll had a trio of Elvis Rings in its March 2011 auction, including this authentic Native American ring.  It has elaborate silver work accented with turquoise and red coral stones.  In the early 70s, turquoise rings were very popular, and Elvis had several.  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.  With a letter of provenance from Charlie and a photo of Elvis wearing the ring, it brought 0ver $5,000.  This is actually is a hefty price for an Elvis ring with no gold or diamonds in it.


Opal and Gold Ring:


This is the second Elvis ring from the March 2011 auction.  It is also the third Opal ring we have looked at in this photo essay, and the auction guide says opals were one of Elvis’ favorite stones.  It is difficult to see, but there are also a number of small diamonds set in the 14KT gold, and it sold for almost $5,000.  Did you notice something wrapped around the shank of this ring.  It is a Band-Aid.  Elvis had many of his rings sized larger, so he could use Band-Aids to vary which figure he could wear them on.  When the market for Elvis collectibles picks up steam again, the new owner of this ring could probably take the Band-Aid off and get $50 for it an auction.


Gold and Blue Lapis Ring:


This ring provides another story illustrating Elvis’ amazing generosity.  He wore it while performing at the Las Vegas Hilton.  One night before a show, Elvis was in the office of Mary Pride on the Hilton staff.  She commented on the ring and he gave it to her on the spot.  For the auction, she provided a letter of authenticity and a photo of Elvis wearing it, and it brought in nearly $8,000 

White Gold, Diamond and Ruby “Elvis” Ring:

This fantastic ring was part of a special small auction that Heritage conducted for a private individual in April 2011.   It has a wonderful story.  After one of Elvis’ shows at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1975, he was approached by J.D. Sumner, leader of Elvis’ backing group The Stamps.  Sumner asked if a family friend and her two daughters could come up to Elvis’ penthouse suite.  Elvis agreed, and that would be special enough by itself, but things got better.  One girl’s first name was Novalene, and Elvis laughed at the fact they both had unusual names.  Novalene found Elvis very easy to talk to, and soon they became instant friends.  Before the evening ended, Elvis went into his bedroom and came back with this ring.  He put the ring on a necklace and put it around her neck.  Is that a special gift, or what?

The estimate for this diamond “Elvis ring was $12,000.  Unfortunately, there were no archive results of the special auction, so I don’t know what it went for. My guess is that it was much more than the ones sold during the previous year.  It is safe to say that if any ring could reverse the downward trend in prices on Elvis rings, this one would be it.


©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

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


More Interesting Items at the Last Elvis Auction

Two weeks ago, we took at look at Elvis’ personal and movie clothing that sold at the recent Gotta Have It auction.  There were also a number of rings up for bid, as there have been at almost every Elvis auction the past few years.  Soon they all will be combined for an Elvisblog pictorial feature on Elvis rings.  However, the last Elvis auction contained more than just clothing and rings, so here is a look at several other interesting items.


The Coolest Collectible and the Biggest Bust: 

These leopard spotted mohair shoes had a minimum bid of $12,000 and an estimated winning bid of $45,000 – 50,000.  The reason for the rosy projection was the fact that Elvis wore them on stage in 1954.  According to the auction description, these shoes may well be the earliest known piece of stage clothing worn by Elvis Presley, and they are in very good condition.

In spite of this, the leopard shoes failed to get a single bid.  There are two possible reasons for this: the hefty minimum bid and the question of authenticity.  Apparently there is no known photo of Elvis wearing the shoes.  They do come with a letter of authenticity from a man named Edgar Lundberg, which can be roughly paraphrased like this.

“My mother was Mary Joyce, a good friend of Dixie Locke, Elvis’ girlfriend in late 1954.  After Elvis wore these leopard shoes on stage, he gave them to my mother.  She kept them for over fifty years, and told me the story about Elvis.  I don’t have any picture of Elvis wearing the shoes, but it’s the truth.”

Boy, what a shame Mary didn’t get a photo of Elvis wearing his leopard shoes.  If she had, her son might have gotten his fifty thousand.  If you ask me, these leopard shoes are about as cool an Elvis collectibles as you can get, so we will see them again at a more modest price – and they will sell.  I’d love to have them.


Vince Everett 45 Record Sleeves:


These sure look like they should be Elvis records, but the name on them is Vince Everett.  You will probably remember that as the name of Elvis’ character in the movie Jailhouse Rock.  With the help of Peggy Van Alden (Judy Tyler), Vince became a recording star.  He and Peggy founded and Laurel Records, and these picture sleeves represent some of the records Vince released during the movie.  They topped out at $150 and $100 respectively.  It would be interesting to see if the Laurel Records sleeve of “Treat Me Nice” ever comes up at auction.  It was Vince Everett’s first release on Laurel, and the records actually had significant screen time in the movie.


A Toy That Lets You Punch Elvis:


This is the large red balloon showing an Elvis head and a headless-body with boxing trucks and gloves.  You blow up the balloon, push the end through a slit in the base, and tie a knot to hold in the air.  Then it supposedly stands upright and makes a good toy for a young child.  Good, that is, if you want your kid to punch Elvis.

Because it was in very good condition, it did bring $84.



Even Broken Elvis Sunglasses Go for Big Bucks:


Elvis wore these Neo-Nautic 14 KT gold sunglasses during his concert at the Las Vegas Hilton on July 22, 1974.  Between songs, he gave a karate demonstration, and somehow he broke the glasses.  Now they have been framed in a shadow box display with a descriptive plaque (and accompanied by photos of Elvis wearing them on stage), and they brought in $6,853.   A good example of how presentation and authentication can add to the value of an Elvis collectible.



What Kind of Elvis Picture Is This?:

How do you like this crazy image?  A giant Elvis forehead on top of a smaller Elvis body.  Actually it is the juxtaposition of two Elvis pictures on what is known as a “Flickr” button.  It was part of a set of two (the other was positioned to show just one image), and they sold for $60, a little over the minimum.


Engraved Microphone from That’s The Way It Is:

Only one person bid on this microphone, but he was willing to pay $4,800 to get it.  It is a Shure SM-58 mic with Elvis’ name engraved on the barrel.  Elvis often had his name engraved on the microphones he liked so that no-one else would use them. This one was used during the rehearsals of his MGM film, That’s The Way It Is, and it came with letter of provenance from Elvis’ friend and musical director Charlie Hodge.



“Pink Cadillac” Painting is Turning into a White Elephant:

This is a truly unique painting by a world famous artist, but it failed to get even one person to make the minimum bid of $5,000.  The artist is Ralph Wolfe Cowan, who, according to several websites, is considered the number one portrait painter in the world.  He has been recognized for painting more reigning monarchs and world leaders than any other painter in history.  His work includes portraits of four US Presidents: Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Reagan.  His painting “Loving Elvis” is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in the National Portrait Gallery’s “Bravo” exhibition.

If you have visited Graceland, you have seen his full-length masterpiece “Heavenly Elvis” embellishing the main wall in the Trophy Room.  It was the only portrait Elvis ever allowed to hang in his home.  Cowan has painted other Elvis portraits that have brought as much as $45,000 at past auctions, so what is wrong with “Pink Cadillac?”

Perhaps the problem is that it is just too weird.  The painting is in the shape of an automobile window, but it is “framed” by a real car door painted pink.  Unfortunately, Cowan used a Ford Falcon door, not one from a Cadillac.  In March 2009, “Pink Cadillac” went up for Auction with a minimum bid of $25,000 and an estimated bid range of $35-45,000.  It failed to receive any bids.  In November 2010, it was again at auction with the minimum bid lowered to $15,000.  Again, no bids.  Finally, in March 2011, it appeared again, this time with a minimum bid of just $5,000.  I’m really surprised it had no takers, but it will probably show up again and maybe somebody will bite.


©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

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

Elvis Clothing at the Most Recent Auction

If you like to follow auctions of rock and roll memorabilia, some of the best are presented by Gotta Have It.  Bidding ended March 25 on their Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction, and it contained about a hundred Elvis items.  I planned to do an article on the more interesting ones right after it finished, but several more time-sensitive topics (like April Fool’s Day, the death of Lamar Fike, and stuff in the news) kept pushing the auction blog back.  Now, here is a look at items from Elvis’ wardrobe that collectors picked off.


Karate Gi:


This is one Elvis collectible that would be fun to own.  You could easily slip into it and admire yourself in the mirror.  You can’t get much closer to Elvis than that.  Although he owned six of these Karate Gi’s, this one brought well above the $7-8,000 estimate.  It inspired the third most active bidding for Elvis clothing items and topped out at $11,042 (including auctioneer’s fee).  The other man in the photo of Elvis wearing it is Kang Rhee, who was Elvis karate instructor for seven years.


Red Jacket, Black Pants and Black Shirt from Viva Las Vegas:

Without seeing the title above, would you know what movie Elvis wore this coat in?   You should remember it from Viva Las Vegas, because Elvis wore four versions of this one-button Bolero coat in the movie —   black, yellow, blue and the red one offered in this auction.  Elvis favored the red Bolero coat for numerous publicity stills.

The auction lot also included the black pants and black shirt, and had the most active bidding of any Elvis clothing item.  The pre-auction estimated price of $4-6,000 seemed ridiculously low, and the winning bid of $22,039 confirmed that.  The outfit generated more bidding than any Elvis item in the auction.

The coat is size 42, which is no surprise, but the pants had a 32” waist.  Elvis was still one trim dude back in 1963.  The long sleeve black silk shirt bears the “Jerry Rothschild, Beverly Hills” label with “Elvis Presley” handwritten on the label.


According to the auction site, “Seldom does a complete movie worn outfit come to market.  Elvis loved the movie-style outfits and he took all of them home with him after finishing a film.  A photo of Elvis wearing the yellow version of the bolero jacket in front of his piano in the music room at Graceland accompanies this lot.”


Denim Jacket from Stay Away Joe:


This jacket went for $5,100, which was only about half of the estimated price.  Perhaps some bidders were skeptical about it, because just one year earlier a Stay Away Joe outfit of jacket, pants and yellow shirt went for $41,434 at another Gotta Have It auction.

Why would the winning bidder of that lot split up the set?  However, the labels inside this jacket say “MGM Studios” and Elvis name, so maybe there were several of them.  Perhaps, that would also reduce desirability to this year’s bidders.


Leather Jacket with Coyote Trim:

This jacket had a lot of bidding activity, but it still topped out at just $4,569.  The auction website explained that Elvis had purchased at least three custom-made versions of this coat from Lansky Brothers in different leather colors, including black and white.  However, they were unable to produce a photo of Elvis wearing the brown version, so the white model was shown.  Too bad, because that probably kept the final price down.


Khaki Jacket from Live A Little, Love A Little:

Elvis wore this light-weight grey jacket in several scenes in the movie, and the auction offered many photos of him wearing it.  On top of that, the labels inside bear the name MGM Culver City Studio, the production number of the film, and Elvis’ name and size.  A letter of provenance from Elvis’ buddy Charlie Hodge was provided, too, so with all that backing up the jacket, it went for $5,148.



Blue Shirt with Yellow Scarf:      

This hand-tailored navy silk shirt was very popular with bidders, and the final price of $13,682 more than tripled the pre-auction estimate.  It came with several photos of Elvis wearing it, which could be incorporated into a nice display case.



Black Velvet Kaftan: 


This beautiful long velvet kaftan features heavy gold embroidery down the front, arms and back.  It had a lot of bids and brought in $6,229, but this price indicates that collectors are unwilling to shell out as much for Elvis collectibles in today’s harder economic times.   Last year, Gotta Have It also offered an Elvis kaftan, and it brought in $9,214.


Both kaftans would have probably brought in higher bids if any photos of Elvis wearing them had been provided.


White Doctor’s Coat from Change of Habit:


This cotton long-sleeved doctor’s coat is one of many wardrobe items that Elvis kept after the filming of his movies were completed.  It sold for $4,153 and is not as impressive looking as some of the others, but the new owner can tell an interesting story when he shows it off.  According to the auction guide, “Elvis played the role of Dr. John Carpenter, a doctor from Shelby, Tennessee who runs a free clinic.  After the film wrapped, Elvis chose his character’s name as one of his favorite aliases when making reservations for hotel and airlines.   When he traveled to Washington D.C. later in 1970 for the famous meeting with President Richard Nixon he used the name “John Carpenter” for the American Airlines reservation.”


Copper and Brown Satin Dressing Robe:


Another in a never-ending line of clothing selections Elvis purchased at Lansky Brothers clothing store in Memphis.  Note the initials above the left breast.  According to the auction guide, “Joe Esposito recalls Elvis coming downstairs in his Beverly Hills home “looking like Hugh Hefner.”   Joe and hairdresser Homer Gilleland both provided letters of provenance, and the robe/smoking jacket went for $5,271.


Blue Pajamas:


Although no photograph of Elvis wearing these pajamas was provided, they have the initials “EP” embroidered onto the left chest pocket and laundry tags with Elvis’ name stamped onto them sewn into the pants. These pajamas come with a letter from Elvis’ very good friend, valet and wardrobe manager, Richard Davis.  The top bid on these pajamas was $2,835.


Red Velour Shirt from Girl Happy:


This shirt did well in the bidding and went for $8,216.  According to the auction website, Elvis gave the shirt to Homer Gilleland, and it came with a letter from Homer as well as a photo of Elvis wearing it in the movie Girl Happy.  I wondered why the picture was in black-and-white even though the movie was in color.  So I got out the DVD to screen capture the shot as it appeared in the film.  Look what I found:

Uh, Ooh.  The shirt in the movie is actually blue.  You sure have to be careful when you bid on Elvis stuff at these auctions.


© 2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

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


Osama bin Elvis



This is the cover off the March 2009 issue of the political magazine American Spectator.  The drawing of Osama bin Laden is pretty close to the real thing, but the depiction of Elvis is just terrible. The theme of the cover story was summed up in the first two paragraphs below:  Seven years after Osama bin Laden’s last verifiable appearance among the living, there is more evidence for Elvis’s presence among us than for his.

Looks like American Spectator got that one wrong.



You are probably aware of some of the jokes about bin Laden on the late-night TV shows and in cartoons.  But, you may not be aware of all the strange stuff the Photoshop jockeys have come up with to mock him.  Naturally, some of the bin Laden pictures incorporate Elvis images, and ElvisBlog has searched them out to present here.


Osama in an Elvis jumpsuit was an oft repeated theme.  It’s not a very original idea, because dozens of famous people’s heads have been morphed onto Elvis jumpsuit pictures.

There aren’t too many jumpsuit photos of Elvis that show him kneeling, so the image selection was good.  But, look at the size of that head.  How much more effort would it have taken to get it into proportion to Elvis’ body?


This is different.  How do you think bin Laden looks with big Elvis hair from the 50s?


Staying with the 50s theme, here’s bin Laden doing the Jailhouse Rock.  You wouldn’t believe how many different people have been Photoshopped onto various Elvis photos from the movie.



This isn’t Photoshop, but pure artwork.  The connection the Osama toe tag picture has to Elvis might not be apparent unless you were aware of the altered Elvis stamp somebody dreamed up years ago.  I always wondered how I would work that into an ElvisBlog article, but I never figured it would be because we nailed Osama bin Laden.


More artwork.  Bin Laden and his little girlfriend Madonna.  Shouldn’t she be wearing a burka?


One last jumpsuit.  Looks like the American Eagle jumpsuit with the long cape.  They found a pretty rare picture to make this one.


I like this because it has both Elvis and Osama in it.  I hope I can find out which movie the original bar fight came from.  Maybe King Creole?  Anyway, kick his butt, Elvis.



The Obama cover may have been an actual Weekly World News issue.  But, I put it here because it is so reminiscent of the Elvis titles they have run over the years.  Just for kicks, here is a bonus cover that sort of fits the theme.

Hey, if our military can catch Osama in Pakistan, we certainly can catch Satan in Iraq.


I have no idea why the Photoshop jockey put a fat Elvis tribute artist in this picture.  Wouldn’t it have been more effective with a real Elvis image?


Three years ago, I did an article showing some of the many altered versions of the famous Nixon/Elvis picture.  This is new.  Replacing Nixon with Darth Vader is inspired; replacing Elvis with bin Laden, not so much.


Recent events have shown that American Spectator certainly had the Osama part of their article's premise wrong.  But, they also made the statement, “There is more evidence for Elvis's presence among us.”  Perhaps they could save face by publishing this picture of a secret CIA operative in Abbottabad, Pakistan, who spied on the bin Laden compound for them.


(Editor’s note:  Several of these pictures came from the website Osama Bin Laden Is…dead.   If you’d like some laughs at bin Laden’s expense, check it out.)


©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved 

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

An Elvis Spin on Some Recent News Items

Leave it to ElvisBlog to see ways to connect three recent topics in the news with Elvis.


Superman Turns His Back on the USA:



Don’t be concerned.  We have inside information that his won’t happen.


“It’s all BS.  I would never give up my US citizenship.”


“Me neither.”


President Obama Ends Birth Certificate Controversy: 


What’s so hard about coming up with a birth certificate?  There are several floating around for Elvis. 



The Royal Princes Show Off Their Uniforms at the Wedding of William and Kate:


                       Prince William                                       Prince Harry                      


Prince Philip                                                Prince Charles


Of course, Elvis is known as a king, not a prince, but he beats them all with this royal outfit.


©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

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