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.