Monthly Archives: September 2013

Curious Results at Recent Elvis Auction

Gotta Have It concluded their “Rock and Roll Pop Culture Auction” on September 27.  It contained 41 Elvis items, and the offerings were much like those covered here in previous posts.  Of course, there was clothing Elvis had given to his buddies, plus jewelry, autographs, and rare photographs.  However, the expectations listed on the auction website for the winning bids on some items were questionable, and several results were curious.  For example, look at what has to be the most inflated minimum bid I have ever seen.

1957 Concert Poster:

1957 Multnomah Stadium Concert Poster

This 11″ x 14″ cardboard poster for concert in Portland, Oregon on September 2nd, 1957, shows Elvis in his western outfit from the movie Loving You.  And it truly is very rare.  According to the auction house, there is only one other known surviving copy of this poster.  They say there are few remaining posters from any of Elvis’ 50s concerts, and most of them don’t have Elvis’ picture on it.  Elvis wore his famous gold lame jacket for this show and at stops in Vancouver, BC, and Tacoma, and Seattle.  Elvis mania was in full swing, and a near-riot occurred.  This poster comes from a radio DJ’s wife who actually attended the concert and saved it for over 50 years!

Okay, it was a historic concert, the poster was one of the few with Elvis’ photo on it, and it is extremely rare.  But, where did they get the idea to set the minimum bid at $35,000?  When I saw that, I knew it would go unsold.  For that kind of money you could get several articles of Elvis’ clothing, accompanied by photos of him wearing them and/or letters of authenticity from the folks Elvis gave the clothes to.  If you had $35,000 to spend on Elvis collectibles, wouldn’t you much rather have some cool shirts, pants and coats?  I’m curious to see how much lower the minimum bid will be on this poster when it shows up at auction again.

 

Brown Suede Jacket and Pants: 

 Brown Suede Jacket and Pants With Scarf

There is nothing surprising about the results on this set of Elvis clothing. The minimum bid was $8,000, and the winning bid was $14,174 included the buyer’s premium charged by the auction house.  Like three other lots in this auction, it was a gift from Elvis to Alan Fortas, who provides Letters of Authenticity on all.  Elvis bought this brown suede jacket and flared slacks combo in 1968.  No history is offered for the scarf that accompanies them.  This is an example of a good investment in Elvis collectibles – three article of his personal clothing for just over $14,000.

 

Beaded Fringe Suede Vest:

 Beaded Fringe Suede Vest

This was a very good deal if your budget can’t handle the bigger ticket items.  Elvis’ beaded, fringed suede vest had a projected sell price of $4-6,000, but it went for just the minimum bid of $2,000 plus buyer’s fee.

 Beaded Fringe Suede Vest -- Wearing

Not only does it come with a photo of Elvis wearing it, it also comes with a LOA from Elvis’ cousin and Graceland gate guard, Harold Loyd, whom Elvis gave it to one day while cleaning out his closet.  I can’t believe only one person bid on this vest, but that person must certainly be thrilled with their bargain-priced Elvis collectible.

 

Mint Green Munsingwear Pajamas:

 Mint Green Munsingwear Pajamas

Now let’s look at a really bad deal.  These pajamas were one of several items in the auction originally given to Charlie Hodge by Elvis.  The minimum bid was $2,000, and just one person bid on them.  For some inexplicable reason, this person bid $8,000, four times more than necessary to get on the board.  Why?  Pretty stupid.

 

North Beach Leather Pants with Whip Stitching:

North Beach Leather Pants With Whip Stitching

These custom made cream leather pants with red whip stitching came with a LOA from Charlie Hodge, but no photo of Elvis wearing them.  Perhaps that is why the minimum bid was only $1,000, low enough to bring in the most spirited bidding of all offerings.  The winning bid came in at $2,600.

 

Diamond & Gold Nugget Ring:

8 ct. Diamond & Gold Nugget Ring

This14k gold ring was by far the most valuable item of the auction, but also a big loser for the seller.  It is set with 16 round brilliant cut diamonds and three emerald cut diamonds totaling 8.05ct.  The minimum bid was $20,000, which seems kind of low, and the projected sell price was $110-120,000.  It brought in $57,000, but unfortunately it had been purchased at Affiliated Auctions in December 2009 for $107,500.  Somebody took a huge loss.

A very interesting story behind this ring is told on the auction website: “At this 1975 concert in North Carolina, Elvis threw his black Gibson guitar into the audience and two men in the front row grabbed for the guitar and wrestled for it briefly. One man ended up with the guitar, and Elvis called the other man over to the front of the stage where he met him, took this ring off his finger and gave it to him. Elvis walked back across the stage saying into the microphone, “Ah, what’s $16,000.” The man’s name was Lloyd Perry, and the ring comes with a letter of provenance from him as well as newspaper articles and photographs.”

 

Long Sleeve Shirt, Pants and Belt:

 Long-Sleeved Shirt, Pants and Gold Belt

Here is another lot containing three Elvis clothing items.  It went for $12,865, double the minimum bid and above the projected winning price.  Elvis gave Charlie Hodge this flowery print shirt, black flared bottom slacks, and gold metal stretch belt with a lion buckle in 1970, when he was cleaning out his Palm Springs house.

Upside down sunglasses

Although no mention is made on the auction website listing, the shirt sure looks like the one Elvis wore during the rehearsal filming for the movie Elvis – That’s the Way It Is.

 

Custom Made Pink Gabardine Shirt:

Custom Made Pink Gabardine Shirt

Considering that this shirt was custom-made for Elvis, it has to be one of the most conservative shirts he ever wore.  It has a LOA from Alan Fortas, but for some unknown reason, it is accompanied by a photo of Elvis wearing a “very similar shirt.”  Other than being pink, it looks substantially different, so what value does the picture add?

Custom Made Pink Gabardine Shirt -- wearing

In addition to the LOA, one other thing should have made this shirt desirable to bidders.  It is the Lansky Bros. “Styled for Elvis Presley” label inside the collar.  Still, the shirt topped out at only $2,929, a bargain in my mind.

Label on Custom Made Pink Gabardine Shirt

“Aloha From Hawaii” Transparency Slides:

 Aloha From Hawaii Transparency Slides

This set of 11 original slides from 1973 show Elvis arriving in Hawaii for his “Aloha From Hawaii” TV special.  It brought in $1,952, just about what was expected.

 

Two Sets of Four Original 8 x 10 black and white photographs of Elvisley, each signed by photographer Alfred Wertheimer:

Al Wertheimer Set 1

 Al Wertheimer Set 2

In addition to Alfred Wertheimer’s signature of the back of each photo, he also hand-wrote his photo titles, a description of the shot, and the location and date.

Alfred Wertheimer Signature and Notes on Back

What’s curious is why the first set had 10 bids and went for $1,433, while the second had only 3 bids and topped out at $803.  I can’t figure it out.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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

 

Surprise — Graceland Ticket Prices Are a Pretty Good Deal

Recently, I found the ticket stubs and brochure from the time my wife and I toured Graceland in 1993.

1993 Graceland Ticket

1993 Graceland Brochure

1993 Graceland Brochure

 

My first thought was to check out how much EPE had jacked up ticket prices in the past twenty years.  To my surprise, the Graceland experience is an equal value today, when the 1993 prices are adjusted for inflation.  But, there are so many more exhibits to see in 2013, that you do shell out some real money to see everything.  Here’s what was available to see twenty years ago.

1993 Tours Choices

Graceland Mansion Tour:  $8.00

This included the grounds and Trophy Building.  And everybody on the shuttle bus went as a group and had a guided tour.

Automobile Museum Tour:  $4.50

Elvis Airplanes Tour:  $4.25

Sincerely Elvis Museum:  $2.75

Walk a Mile in My Shoes (Movie):  Free

This totals $19.50, but you could buy a Platinum Tour ticket for $16, which equals roughly $26 adjusted to today’s money.

 

Graceland Auto Museum

LIsa Marie Plane

 

There is still a Graceland Platinum Tour in 2013, although it has changed a good bit.  The cost is $37, an adjusted-for-inflation increase of $11.  You still get to see the Graceland mansion and grounds, the Automobile Museum, and the two planes, and the Sincerely Elvis exhibit.  The movie has been dropped.  There are no longer cute young tour guides taking you through everything.  Now, it is all audio self-guided.

 

2013 Graceland Brochure

2013 Brochure

However, now the Platinum Tour includes a lot more – four new exhibits.

Elvis: Live from Vegas  

Elvis Live from Las Vegas Exhibit Sign

Elvis Las Vegas Exhibit

 

Elvis’ Tupelo:

Entrance to Tupelo Exhibit

 Elvis' Tupleo Exhibit

 

Elvis’ Hawaii: Concerts, Movies, and More!

Elvis’ Hawaii Concerts, Movies, and More!Elvis' Hawaii Exhibit

 

’68 Comeback Special Exhibit

'68 Comeback Special Exhibit 1

'68 Special Exhibit

Personally, I’d like to see all four of these exhibits, and I think they are worth the increase in ticket price.

 

Graceland Ticket Office in the Visitors’ Center

Graceland Ticket Office in the Visitors’ Center

 

Graceland also offers a top-end option, the Elvis Entourage VIP Tour at $70.  You get everything in the Platinum Tour plus four extras.

Elvis…Through His Daughter’s Eyes

Lisa Exhibit -  Elvis' Upstairs Office

This is Elvis’ upstairs office with a couple of Lisa’s toys in it.  Other photos show articles of her clothing.  I’m not so sure this exhibit would do that much for me.

Special All Day Ticket  I suppose this might be good if you wanted to take a break for lunch across the street at the Visitor’s Center, or go back to the motel for a nap, and then return to finish seeing everything.

Keepsake Backstage Pass:  I can’t find a picture of this, but it probably wouldn’t of much value to me.

Front of the Line Mansion Access:  This must be the big incentive for some folks to shell out the extra $33 to upgrade to the VIP Tour at $70.  Not me, though.  There’s enough stuff to do at the Visitors’ Center that the waiting time is not a total boring waste.

 

So, the unofficial ElvisBlog recommendation is to take the Platinum Tour at $37.  Seniors and youth ages 12 through 18, and students with college ID are $33.50.  Children 7 through 12 are $18.  Little kids are free, but anyone who takes them on a walking tour lasting three hours or more is asking for trouble.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

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

 

Elvis Speaks to Me from Beyond the Grave

Look at this tattered May 16, 1978 National Enquirer cover.  Even though it’s a really sorry-looking thing, I still keep it in my collection of tabloids with Elvis on the cover.

May 16, 1978 National Enquirer

It’s in there because the story page is in great shape, and it tells such a wacky story.

 5-16-78 National Enquirer Story

 

Ginger Alden was Elvis’ girlfriend during the last two years of his life.  She was only twenty years-old when she found him dead in the bathroom.  Supposedly, Elvis proposed marriage to Ginger on January 26, 1977, and gave her an 11.5 carat diamond ring.

 Elvis - Ginger Engagement Ring

Ginger Wearing Engagement Ring

 

This strange National Enquirer story is loaded with interesting quotes from Ginger, her mother, and her sister.

Ginger:  “Elvis started speaking to me three days after he died.”

Elvis didn’t waste any time, did he?

 Ginger:  “Elvis was sitting on a chair beside my bed.”

So, she didn’t just hear him, she saw Elvis.

Ginger’s Mom:  “I saw him once in our living room.  His figure floated through the air…”

Mom had a really cool vision.  Who wouldn’t prefer to see Elvis floating through the air over Elvis sitting on a chair?  Fortunately, Ginger also saw Elvis float in other visions.

Ginger’s Sister:  According to Mom, sister Rosemary “has seen Elvis’ outline two times in the living room.  Each time he was wearing one of his jump suits.”

Wow, everybody gets visits from Elvis.  I wonder if he also said hi to Ginger’s dog while he was there.

Ginger and Odyssey, a gift from Elvis

Ginger and Odyssey, a gift from Elvis

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Ginger:  “He comes to me in strange psychic dreams about every third night.”

Now this is getting weird.

As you might expect, these visits didn’t come off in an understated manor.  They had all of the proper fanfare.

Ginger:  “I remember vividly how it happened.  I was lying in bed, drifting off to sleep.  Suddenly, I felt his presence in the room. He was in his white jumpsuit and a flowing white cape.”

Wow, even a flowing cape, too.  Very impressive.

Ginger:  “He appeared above the bed and began singing our song, my all-time favorite, ‘Since I met you Baby.’”

How’s that for a pretty good dream, you female Elvis fans?  Ever dreamed about a floating, singing Elvis?

And what if Elvis touched you while he was there?

Ginger:  “When the song was over, he leaned forward and put his hand on my tear-stained cheek.”

Great image.  Well done, Ginger.

Ginger, Still Looking Good in 2010

Ginger, Still Looking Good in 2010

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And, of course, Elvis talks in the dreams

Elvis:  “Don’t worry, Gingerbread.  Everything is going to be all right.  You can make it.  You’ve got what it takes.”

Good for Elvis.  We knew he’d be a nice guy and give assurance and encouragement to Ginger.

 Elvis and Ginger (1)

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The article talks about a visit when Elvis gave career advice to Ginger.

Ginger:  “It was Elvis who told me to accept the role in “The Living Legend.” When I was first offered the part by a movie producer, I turned to Elvis for help.”

Let’s see, you’re a beautiful model and Elvis’ former girlfriend.  Is there any doubt you are going to take the part?  But, you got in a nice plug in for the movie, so that’s cool.

Ginger:  “I locked myself in my bedroom and said out loud, ‘Elvis, what should I do?’”

I love his answer to her.  She said his voice came through to her soft and tender… but firmly.

Elvis:  “Take it honey. “ You have the talent.  You have the looks.  This is your opportunity… Grab it.”

It seems highly probable that Ginger Alden ‘grabbed it’ when National Enquirer offered to do this article.  Pretty good free PR.  How do you like the photo of her that dominates the story page?  As Elvis said, she’s got the looks.

 Elvis and Ginger (2)

If you notice a resemblance between Ginger and Priscilla, just listen to what George Klein (who introduced Ginger to Elvis) had to say in his book, Elvis: My Best Friend.

“[Ginger was] one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen in my life… and to my eyes, she looked like a taller version of Priscilla.  I knew Elvis would just melt when he saw her.”

I don’t know for sure how many times Ginger Alden appeared on tabloid covers, but I own two others.  You will note that Elvis does not appear with her on either cover.  Maybe someday I’ll do a blog article about them.  But it won’t be as much fun as hearing about how Elvis talked to Ginger from beyond the grave.

November 15 Midnight Globe

11-15-77 Midnight Globe Story.

.June 27, 1978 Midnight Globe

6-27-78 Midnight Globe Story

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©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

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