The two ElvisBlog posts that generate the most comments are Part 1 and Part 2 of the continuing series So, How much is an Elvis Autograph Worth? If anyone in possession of a signed photo, record album, or anything else Googles “Elvis Autographs,” ElvisBlog comes up third on the list. However, a quick check shows that two higher ones do not report prices recently paid for Elvis signature items. If you want a reference to approximate the value of your Elvis autograph, this is the place to come.
Fortunately, Heritage Auctions presented their Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction in Dallas last December 14, and it contained nine Elvis autographs. All prices below include the 25% buyers’ premium added on by the auction house.
Signed Color Print from 1965: $625
This oversized (20” x 16”) print of the original work by June Kelly depicts Elvis wearing a red jacket. He signed it in blue ballpoint ink on the left center: “To Vicki / Love you allways / Elvis Presley.” $625 seems like a low price for this piece. It must be the water damage and other staining that turned people off. When you blow up the image on the auction website, you can see blotches all over his jacket and one on his face. There is also a streak coming down from his left eye where the water must have run. What kind of fool lets a huge color autographed Elvis picture get rained on? At least the inscription was not affected.
Signed International Hotel Keno Card, circa 1970: $875
According to Rich Consola who provided the third-party authentication for all the Elvis autographs in this auction, Elvis would go out into the casino from time to time during the Vegas days, with all his guys around him, and he was known to have signed autographs there. Some lucky gambler named Joyce must have been at a Keno game when Elvis joined in, and she had the foresight to get the King’s signature on the back of a Keno card. Too bad about the old Scotch Tape mark around the autograph. That had to bring the price down some.
Signed Back of Check, Circa 1957: $1,125
This autograph did considerably better than the pre-auction estimate, and I’m not sure why. It’s a good thing it came with a Certificate of Authenticity, because it looks a lot different than most Elvis autographs in this series. He signed this personal check on the back in pencil “yours / Elvis Presley.” There is slight staining on the blow-up of the check, but the autograph is not affected. The seller’s mother obtained this autograph in person when she saw Elvis at the Dallas Love Field Airport in 1956 or 1957. The only thing she could find in her purse for him to sign was this torn-out check from the family checkbook.
Signed Loving You, Vol. II EP, 1957: $1,187
The next three items all originated from Buddy Ochoa, the first Elvis impersonator (according to the item description on the auction website). For the full story on this, please check out the November 12, 2012 ElvisBlog article about Ochoa. There is no mention of the condition of the album sleeve, but it does look pretty worn down at the corners. Note that Elvis signed this extended play album once on the back, because we will compare it with the next two items.
Signed King Creole EP, circa 1958: $1,625
Elvis signed the front of this EP album: “To Buddy, Elvis Presley”. The album cover looks as worn at the corners as the previous one, and both have the same intrinsic value as unsigned albums. So, why did it bring a price almost $500 higher? Could it be that the signature is on the front? It certainly will look better than the other when presented in a matted display.
Autographed Loving You EP and Photo Display: $1,875
This 20” by 30” display contains a lot of stuff, but most of it is of little value. The photo is Buddy Ochoa and Elvis in 1958. The shirt is similar to the one Elvis wore on the cover of the Blue Hawaii album. That cover is partially visible behind other items and is unsigned. The Loving You EP album cover is Vol. 1, and it is also unsigned. So, that leaves the back cover of that EP, signed twice by Elvis. It is unclear if the higher sell price of this item is due to the double Elvis signatures or to extra stuff and the nice display presentation.
Signed and Inscribed Spinout Promotional Photo, 1966: $2,000
This is a top-quality 12” by 12” color promotional photo showing Elvis wearing one of his outfits from the movie Spinout. It is inscribed to Norman Taurog, the director of that movie and eight other films starring Elvis. The winning bid was quite a bit higher than the pre-auction estimate.
It says, “To Mr. Norman Taurog. My deep thanks for everything you have done for me. With my deep respect. Elvis Presley.” It also says, “Thanks for everything. Elvis Presley” Look at those two signatures side by side. They sure look different to me, but they both have been authenticated. I need to do a little research to find out how that can be.
Signed Black and White Photograph, 1965: $2,000
An original 10″ x 8″ print with a matte finish, depicting a classic headshot of Elvis from the early 60s, signed in green fountain pen ink in the lower right corner: “To Vicki / My Best allways / Elvis Presley.”
This item was consigned directly to Heritage Auctions by the now adult Vicki Malkin, the former child actress who portrayed “Sari” the in 1965 M-G-M film, Harum Scarum, and who danced with Elvis as he sang ‘Hey Little Girl.’ Vicki remembers as a nine year-old having a big crush on Elvis and that he signed this photograph for her at the wrap party when the film was finished.
Signed Personal Check to Dick Grob, 1975: $3,750
This check was the big winner at this Heritage auction, bringing in almost twice as much as the pre-auction estimate. As you probably know, Dick Grob was the head of security for Elvis. He must have done something special to get a $1,500 bonus after the July 1975 road tour (see note on left of check). This is the first time I’ve seen an actual check drawn on his personal account, so they are probably very rare. That probably added much to the value of this Elvis signature.
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