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.
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