Just like the stock market, the values for Elvis collectibles stormed upward in 2013. But they didn’t need the Fed to pump billions into the market to make it happen. Elvis collectors willingly bid big bucks to secure certain primo items at Heritage Auctions Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction last month.
Guitar Elvis Played at 1976 Concert in Denver, CO: $31,250.00
Who knows how many guitars Elvis had during his lifetime, but every one of them has value as Elvis collectibles. However, it’s hard to believe someone would pay $31,250 (including 25% buyer’s premium to auction company) for a guitar Elvis played briefly during just one concert. It is a limited edition 1976 Model #0014 Mahogany acoustic guitar made by NBN, a manufacturer of fine stringed instruments. Two of the owners of NBN presented the guitar to Elvis on his 41st birthday while he was vacationing in Vail, CO. Three months later, Elvis used it a bit at his April 23, 1976 performance at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver. For some reason there is no photo available showing Elvis holding the guitar on stage, but it did come with multiple Letters/Certificates of Authenticity.
Case for Guitar Elvis Played at the Denver Concert: Did not sell
Here’s an example of greed or stupidity, or both. Instead of including the case along with the NBN guitar, the owner tried to sell it separately. The minimum bid was $1,000, but bidders passed.
King Creole Screenplay and Wardrobe Continuity Script: $30,000
Copies of screenplays for Elvis’ movies are seldom seen up for bid at auctions, so they should command pretty high prices. Even rarer is one that also has wardrobe continuity notes and photographs inserted, like the one shown above. It is the 130 page screenplay for King Creole with numerous colored script changes marked throughout.
This is one of the inserted wardrobe continuity pages showing what Danny (Elvis) wears in scenes 2 through 17. Handwritten entries list his shirt, t-shirt, pants, shoes and socks.
This page shows Danny in scenes 148 and 149. The additional wardrobe items listed here include coat, tie, belt and jewelry. There are over 20 never-before-seen, small, black and white photographs of Elvis in costume glued or taped to the individual pages. The pre-auction estimate was $6,000 and up. Obviously, well-healed Elvis collectors found it to be worth way more than that.
Handmade Silver Turquoise Bracelet, 1971: $6,875
The prices for Elvis’ jewelry got soft after the 2008 financial meltdown, but they have gone up considerably in the past two years. If this bracelet had been worn by Elvis and been accompanied by a photo of him wearing it, the top bid would have been much higher. However, the auction website said it was a gift Elvis gave to his friend and backing vocalist J.D. Sumner. That meant it had been touched for a few minutes by Elvis – enough for it to be worth almost $7,000 to somebody.
Army Jacket, Circa 1950s: $6,875
This is yet another item of clothing that Elvis gave to his double-cousin Patsy Presley. She provided a letter of authenticity, and that plus the accompanying photo of Elvis wearing the jacket resulted in the selling price coming in double the $3,000 estimate.
Striped Shirt, Circa 1960s: $22,500
When I saw the pre-auction estimate of $1,000 (and up), I said “No way. This will go much higher.” Apparently ten bidders thought the same thing, as they ran the price up to $22,500. It is cotton blend with blue, gray, and black stripes, long sleeves, six button front closure and French cuffs
The auction offering also included a well-known publicity shot of Elvis wearing the shirt.
Finally, the desirability of the shirt is boosted by the “E. P.” monogram on the pocket. This is a great Elvis collectible with everything going for it, and it is indicative of the new market values for these quality articles.
Monogrammed Shirt: $56,250
Here’s another item with a ridiculous estimate of $1,000. Instead, we ended up with the highest price I have ever seen paid for an article of Elvis clothing, except for jumpsuits (and some of them have gone for less than $56,000). Sixteen bidders fought it out for this white cotton, zip-up collar shirt, with a large “EP” stitched in black on left breast. The letter of authenticity says Elvis appeared on the cover of Life magazine wearing the shirt. I Googled it and couldn’t find the cover, but I guess it is true. The LOA also stated that Elvis is shown in the movie Tribute to Elvis wearing the shirt while playing football.
However, this accompanying picture of Elvis wearing the shirt with girlfriend Anita Wood to his right probably was the clincher for the bidders. There is an interesting story about how the owner of the shirt happened to get it. Maudie Hayes was the wife of the co-owner of a car dealership in Memphis. She said Elvis borrowed a station wagon to transport his football team to a playing field. When he returned the car, he left the shirt in it. When Mrs. Hayes told Elvis about it, he told her to keep the shirt.
Unused Concert Ticket: $5,625
How about this — a $1.50 Ticket for Elvis’ 9:30 pm performance at the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium in La Crosse, Wisconsin, May 14, 1956 that sold for over $5,600.
Jailhouse Rock Promotional Poster, 1957: $5,937.50
The top bid on this 24” X 38” in-store display really surprised me. Although the auction website says it is a rare early promotional poster, it also admits that the poster is in poor condition with numerous wrinkles and yellowing throughout, Scotch tape residue on the front, and the entire backside covered in masking tape. I thought one of the basic tenants of collecting Elvis memorabilia was to buy only items in excellent condition.
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