Monthly Archives: January 2016

Elvis’ Fabulous rings — Part 6

4 Elvis Rings from Auction at Graceland

In the first five parts of this series, ElvisBlog has featured over 50 rings Elvis owned.  He sure did love rings, didn’t he? The January 7, 2016 Auction at Graceland had a few more, so let’s take a look.


1914 Indian Head 2½-Dollar Gold Coin and Diamonds Ring:

1914 Indian Head Gold 2.5 Dollar Coil with Diamonds

Elvis had a fondness for rings designed to showcase rare, valuable coins, and certainly a 1914 2½-Dollar Indian-Head gold piece qualifies as that. Plus, it is set in more 14K gold weighing approximately 18.6 grams. Finally, the ring is enhanced with 26 round diamonds weighing approximately 1 carat surrounding the Indian Head side of the coin.

The auction website says Elvis gave this ring to Tom Hulett who assisted Colonel Parker in managing Elvis’ live performances in the 1970s. A Letter of Authenticity from Hulett does not specifically state that Elvis ever wore the ring before giving it to him, rather than just buying it to be a gift. Nor is there any photos presented of Elvis wearing the ring.

However, this ring is a custom design, so bidders were satisfied it was an Elvis-owned-and-worn ring and bid it up to $23,500, right in the middle of the pre-auction estimate.


10K Gold Tiered Octagonal Ring with 56 Diamonds:

Elvis' Gold Ring with 56 Diamonds

According to the auction website, “Elvis was a fan of the sparkle, and this ring certainly has the dazzle fit for a king.” Yes, indeed, it does – a 10-karat gold men’s ring that weighs approximately 9 grams and contains 56 diamonds set within a tiered octagonal design.

In July 1973, Elvis gave the ring to Sam Thompson, his friend, bodyguard, and the brother of girlfriend Linda Thompson. Thompson’s LOA was provided for verification, but it makes no mention that Elvis ever wore the ring. However, the auction website states, “It was common for Elvis to give his jewelry to his friends and family at the slightest admiration of a piece and since Sam was not only his bodyguard, but a trusted friend, it’s only natural that Elvis would gift him such a magnificent piece of jewelry.”

Apparently, that explanation motivated a total of eleven bids, topping out at $13,750


Gold, Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring – “Number 10” Ring:

Elvis' Gold, Diamond and Black Sapphire Ring – The “Number 10” Ring

I think this is the first open-faced ring we have seen in the Elvis’ Fabulous Rings series, and there is no question why Elvis called it the “number ten” ring. Apparently that number had no special significance for Elvis, he just liked the way the ring looked.

This unusual shape is 14-karat gold and has an open front and squared-back band. The “1” is a rectangular design containing 3 diamonds. The “0” is a large black cabochon star sapphire weighing approximately 2.5 carats, surrounded by 13 diamonds, each contained at the end of its own cylindrical channel.

The auction website says sapphires were attributed special significance by numerology enthusiast like Elvis, which may help explain why he had a lot of sapphire jewelry. He gave this ring to his friend and wardrobe manager Richard Davis, the lucky recipient of many articles of clothes and jewelry over the years.

This “number ten” ring sold for $15,000, right at the top end of the estimated range.


Aztec Ring with Jaguar Head:

Elvis' Aztec Ring with Jaguar Head

I think this is one of the ugliest rings presented in this series, but the bidders thought differently or didn’t care. It sold for $16,750, which was above the pre-auction estimate.

This Aztec-patterned, 14-karat yellow gold ring contains an opaque green, chrysoberyl, calcite cabochon, measuring approximately 5.6mm, above a protruding stylized jaguar head set with green tourmaline eyes. The auction website said Elvis liked the three preceding rings because of his fondness for sapphires, sparkle, and numerology, but they say nothing here about his fondness for jaguars. Instead, it says, “An ideal symbol for Elvis, the jaguar represents power and strength in ancient cultures, and in Aztec mythology is a warrior deity known for protecting the royal household.”

Sam Thompson was the recipient of this ring, too, but this time his LOA specifically states that when he admired the ring on Elvis’ finger, Elvis took it off immediately and gave it to him. But when Thompson tried to return it, Elvis just shook his head and mouthed the word ‘no’ and winked at him. It is specific references like this one that I would always look for if I had the money to bid on Elvis rings.


Gold, Diamond and Rock Crystal Quartz Ring:

Gold, Diamond and Rock Crystal Quartz Ring Gifted by Elvis Presley to Linda Thompson

This and the next one are ladies rings that Elvis gave to girlfriend Linda Thompson in 1974 and 1972. So, he picked it out, purchased it, and touched it briefly while giving it to her. This is not enough for me to consider it an “Elvis” ring, and not worth near the value of one he wore on stage or in his personal life. But the bidders still went for it and ran the price up to $8,750. The pre-auction estimate was $15-20,000, higher than three of the four real Elvis rings. I knew that wasn’t right.

Rock crystal quartz is the basis of this floral design. It is centered with a cluster of round, brilliant-cut diamonds and accented by 18-karat yellow gold


Gold, Emerald and Diamond Ring:

Emerald and Diamond Ring Gifted by Elvis Presley to Linda Thompson

Another ring Elvis gave to Linda Thompson. The elongated 4-prong design is 18-karat yellow gold with four round emeralds weighing approximately 0.64 carats and two round diamonds weighing approximately 0.40. There were only three bidders, but the bidding topped out at $6,250.

In 1988, Linda Thompson decided to part with 34 articles of jewelry given to her by Elvis at a Christie’s auction in New York. The auction was mentioned in this National Enquirer article.

34 Elvis Jewelry Items Linda Thompson Sold at Christie’s auction in 1988

In the text, Thompson stressed that she was not selling for the money but only to share these precious mementos with others that would appreciate them. “Something is not beautiful unless someone else sees it. It seemed selfish and silly to have all these pieces that Elvis gave me just sit hidden in a dark safety-deposit box. I just hope they will bring as much joy to someone else as they brought to me.”

I imagine the money was pretty nice, too.



© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved


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Previous Elvis’ Fabulous Rings Posts:

Part 1;

Part 2:

Part 3

Part 4:

Part 5:

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

Passes and Snubs at the Auction at Graceland

Lot 41 One of the Movie Posters in set

There were twelve lots that did not sell at the January 7 Auction at Graceland. Four items had a minimum bid so high that not one person bothered making a bid. The other eight all had the minimum bid covered and five to ten additional bids running the price up even higher, but the sellers decided it wasn’t enough and told the auctioneer to pass. Some of these items have an interesting story, so here is a review.

Guitar Elvis Used for the January 14, 1973 Aloha from Hawaii Special:

Lot 24 Stage-Used Guitar from January 14, 1973 Aloha from Hawaii

In all the pre-auction publicity, this guitar was ballyhooed as the cream of the crop. The auction website had ten paragraphs of praise, history, and technical details. This is the third one:

“Elvis Presley’s 1969 Custom Gibson Ebony Dove guitar is certainly one of the most culturally significant and celebrated guitars in all of music history. Elvis wielded this iconic instrument in dozens and dozens of concerts from November 1971 until September 1973 and then again in July of 1975, before famously handing it to a fan in the front row one night in Asheville, North Carolina. The Ebony Dove was the most photographed and widely seen of any of Elvis’ guitars as he played it during the January 1973 Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite concert broadcast.”

The website also gushed this praise, “There is no more important icon of rock ‘n’ roll history than Elvis’ beloved Gibson Ebony Dove.” As if to prove their point and boost up the bidding, the website chronicled the top-selling guitars in history. Some are:

John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E Acoustic Guitar — $2.4 million

Jimi Hendrix 1968 Stratocaster from Woodstock — $2 million to Paul Allen of Microsoft

Eric Clapton’s Fender Stratocaster “Blackie” — approximately $959,500

Stevie Ray Vaughn’s 1965 Fender Stratocaster “Lenny” — $623,500

George Harrison’s 1964 Gibson SG — $570,000

Lot 24 Stage-Used Guitar from January 14, 1973 Aloha from Hawaii

The minimum bid on this guitar was $150,000, and the estimate was $300-500,000. The minimum was passed easily, and a total of ten bids ran it up to $270,000. When it stalled there and the auctioneer was about to finalize, “Going once, going twice,” there was a pause as a message came into his earbuds. Then he announced, “This is a pass.” The owners weren’t happy with $270,000 and pulled it out of the auction.


1969 Agreement Letter Signed by Elvis Presley and Colonel Parker:

Lot 76 Agraaement Letter Signed by Elvis

This has to be one of the dullest examples of an Elvis autograph you will ever find. The full name of the auction listing was, “1969 Agreement Letter Signed by Elvis Presley and Colonel Parker Regarding Advances and Royalties for 4 RCA Camden Albums to be Released in 1970 and 1971” Need I say any more?

Lot 76 Agraaement Letter Signed by Elvis - Pg 2

The owner must have been really proud of this item. He set a minimum bid of $4,000, which costs the buyer $5,000 counting the auction premium. Potential bidders probably thought they could get several other good Elvis autographs for $5,000 and never bid at all. Way overpriced.


Movie Poster Collection:

Lot 41 All of the Elvis Movie Posters

When I first saw this collection, I thought it would easily blow past the minimum bid of $6,000. After all, it contained the posters for all 31 of Elvis theatrical movies plus the two documentaries Elvis: That’s the Way It Is and Elvis on Tour. It had to be a long, huge endeavor to collect all of these individually.

My enthusiasm dropped when I read the lot details. Only eighteen of these are full sized movie posters, but at least that includes the most valuable ones Love Me Tender and Loving You.

Lot 41 Love Me Tender Poster

But there were also a lot of half-sheet posters like Jailhouse Rock and King Creole.

Lot 41 Two Half-Sheet Elvis Movie Posters

In addition to Viva Las Vegas, there were three other half-sheets oriented the other way and called inserts.

Lot 41 Viva Las Vegas Insert Poster

The rest were even smaller lobby cards like these four.

Elvis Movie Lobby Cards

This collection easily generated the minimum bid, and a total of ten bids pushed the price even higher. But the seller had expected to get the estimate of $12-15,000 and wasn’t ready to let it go for less, so he pulled the lot from the auction.

If they were all full sized movie posters, the price tag would be $20,000 or more. Maybe the owner will replace some of those small lobby cards with posters and put it up for auction again with a higher tab.

1977 Tour Book and Promotional Poster:

Lot 122 1977 Promotional Poster

Different Elvis items are often combined to make a more attractive offering, but this combo is strange. The promotional poster is a large image of Elvis and seven smaller drawings of him surrounding it. I can’t remember ever seeing this drawing before. It contains the printed signature of Fred Rothenbush 77,” is numbered 985/1200. It is nicely presented in a wooden frame and measures approximately 25 by 30 inches. So, it is a pretty good collectible.

Lot 122 1977 Tour Folder

The second item in this lot has no connection to the poster. It is yellow folder used by Col. Parker and is labeled “Elvis Presley Concerts 1977 Tour #2.” It contains all of the pertinent information on the concert dates, locations, and show times. The folder is further divided by tabbed sections for each city with more specific information, including details for the building, box office contact, concessions, security, hotel, and transportation. Some pages include handwritten notes.

The minimum bid for the set was $1,500 and nobody bothered to bid. The seller may have been better off to sell each item separately. They seem like they might appeal to collectors with two different priorities.

Poker Chips Used on the Lisa Marie Plane:

Lot 99 Poker Chips Used on Plane the Lisa Marie

Sam Thompson, Elvis’ bodyguard, ended up with these poker chips after Elvis died in 1977. They are accompanied by a letter of authenticity from him that said, “I flew on the Lisa Marie, Elvis’ personal aircraft, many times, and these poker chips were on that plane for Elvis’ use.”

It surprised me when this item got a total of ten bids running the price well past the $1,500 minimum bid, and then the seller pulled it. Seems like Graceland would have purchased it to put on display in the Lisa Marie.


Collection of Elvis Presley Christmas and Eater Cards:

Lot 22 Collection of Elvis Christmas Cards

The auction website does not state that this is a complete collection, but it does include seventeen Christmas cards and three Easter cards. I figured it would have no trouble meeting the minimum bid of $1,500, but I was wrong. I’m surprised no collectors valued them that much.


September 1, 1957 Seattle, Washington Concert Ticket Stub and Other Goodies:

Lot 19 Ticket, Button and Other Stuff

Elvis’ career was going full blast when he appeared at Sick’s Seattle Stadium wearing the famous gold lame coat. One fan assembled some items to save with her ticket stub from the concert — an “I Like Elvis” button, a souvenir photo folio, and several newspaper articles and ads for the concert. I love the way one newspaper writer put it.

“A shrieking, screaming mass of ‘tingling’ teen-age worshipers squealed their devotion last night to their idol, the writhing, wiggling country-singer, Elvis Presley, at Sick’s Seattle Stadium. … From the tensely awaited moment when Presley made his first quivering bump to his last vigorous grind, wave on wave of crazed female shrieks arose from the stadium. At the climax of his performance with his smash hit ‘Hound Dog,’ which Presley described as ‘the Elvis Presley national anthem,’ he wiggled himself flat on his back. The reaction to this gymnastic was unimaginable bedlam.”

A shrieking, screaming mass of ‘tingling’ tean-age worshippers. What a great line.

Lot 19 Concert Ad for Elvis at Sisk's Seattle Stadium

I don’t remember seeing this ad before. It’s interesting that hey used a drawing of Elvis rather than a photo.

So, this eclectic lot had no trouble going past the minimum bid of $600 with a total of six bids. However, as with the other items noted here, the seller wanted something in the estimated range ($1,200 – 1,500) and when he saw that wasn’t happening, he pulled the lot. I’m not sure that was a smart move, but we’ll find out when the items shows up again.


Unless there is some interesting Elvis news in the next week, there will be another article on the Auction at Graceland coming up.


© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved


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

First Look at the Latest Auction at Graceland

Elvis' Shelby County Sheriff's Badge - Close Up

The Auctions at Graceland have quickly become a big part of the fun during Elvis Week and the birthday celebration each year. The fourth auction was held on January 7, 2015 and a total of 126 items were offered. That’s enough to generate several ElvisBlog articles, and this one will look mostly at the big sellers.


“Elvis Has Left the Building” — Original KWKH Reel-to-Reel Recording:

“Elvis Has Left the Building” — Original KWKH Reel-to-Reel Recording

We will start with this tape because it has an interesting history. Shreveport, Louisiana radio station KWKH created the Louisiana Hayride and broadcast the shows live over the air. Elvis made many appearances, but his last was in December 15, 1956. By that time, Elvis was a huge national sensation, and 10,000 teenagers (rather than traditional country music fans) packed the auditorium. From the first moment Elvis strode on stage, they screamed at the top of their lungs and never let up. Flashbulbs went off like gunfire.

When Elvis finished his set plus an encore, he exited the stage. However, all the teenage girls continued their incessant screaming, effectively stopping the show. In an effort to calm them down, announcer Horace Logan first shouted the now-famous phrase, “Elvis has left the building.” It worked – but too well. The teenagers headed for the exits in droves. Management panicked and had Logan plead to them to stay in their seats because many more acts were yet to appear. It didn’t work.

The above ¼” reel-to-reel tape captured Elvis’ performance and all the the screaming, plus the first utterance of the iconic phrase “Elvis Has Left The Building.” The auction website states that it is the original, one-of-a-kind recording and set the minimum bid at $5,000. The winning bid was $10,000 including the 25% auction house premium. I’d be surprised if we don’t get a chance to see the tape in the future. With the addition of still photos, recollections by fans, and other filler material, this could easily be made into a great DVD. I sure hope so.


1948 Signed Humes High School Library Card:

1948 Elvis Presley Signed Humes High School Library Card

This signed library card illustrates how the Auctions at Graceland have boosted the value of Elvis collectibles. In December 1948, Elvis was just a thirteen-year-old boy in 8th grade when he checked out the book The Courageous Heart: A Life of Andrew Jackson for Young Readers from the Humes High School library. So this is a very significant piece of Elvis memorabilia.

The auction minimum bid was $5,000, and the winner paid $11,765 to land this prize. However, in a 2010 ElvisBlog article, an earlier sale of this item was reported. At that Heritage Auctions sale, the library card sold for $3,502. So, the seller this time made a substantial profit. It is my opinion that the excitement generated by holding the Auctions at Graceland during Elvis Week and the birthday celebrations creates more interest and results in higher prices.


1958 Handwritten Two-Page Letter to Alan Fortas:

1958 Elvis Presley Handwritten Two-Page Letter to Alan Fortas “Hog Ears” Sent While in the Army Stationed in Germany

1958 Elvis Presley Handwritten Two-Page Letter to Alan Fortas “Hog Ears” Sent While in the Army Stationed in Germany - Page 2

This letter was one of the big stars at the auction. It is one of a small handful of Elvis’ handwritten letters known to exist. The website states, “This amazing two-page handwritten letter from 1958 is a true glimpse into the mind of Elvis during his time in Germany, as he pens his thoughts to his friend Alan Fortas. He writes to Alan as “Hog Ears,” a nickname given to Alan by Elvis. In this very personal letter, Elvis talks of his feelings towards the time he is serving.” Here is the text of the letter.

Got your letter and was glad to hear from you. Well you know I am bound to be pretty lonely or I wouldn’t be writing a letter. We are up at a training area for 50 days and believe me it’s miserable. It’s cold and there is nothing at all to do up here. I am about 200 miles from Friedberg and won’t be back until the 20th of Dec. It will sure be a great Christmas this year. “ha” I would give almost anything to be home. You know it will be March of 1960 before I return to the States. Man I hate to think about it. Of course don’t say anything about it because a miracle may happen. Boy it will be great getting out. I will probably scream so loud they’ll make me stay 2 more years. ha. I can hardly wait to start singing, traveling, making movies, and

above all seeing the old gang and old Graceland. All I do is sit and count the days. Well it’ll be over in about 15 months and as Gen. MacArthur said, “I shall return”. Tell D.J. uh, and Lewis I said hello and to hold down the fort till I get back. If you see cous, tell him I said ep skep skep skep. I have been dating this little German “Chuckaloid” by the name of Margrit. She looks a lot like B.B. It’s Grind City. Well I gotta go wade in the mud.

Your Pal, Elvis Presley


Elvis and Margrip Buergin, Mentioned in Letter to Alan Fortas

This is the little German Chuckaloid Elvis referred to in the letter. In this October 5, 1958 photo, she is identified by UPI as fifteen-year-old Margrit Buergin.

The auction set the minimum bid for this unique letter at $15,000, but even that was low. It sold for $35,000.


Police Silhouette” Shooting Target Used at Graceland:

Elvis Presley’s Shooting Target Used at Graceland

Elvis and the boys turned the Graceland smokehouse into a shooting range where they stood outside and shot through the doorway The auction offered this target with an estimate of $4-6,000, but it brought only $2,500. So we can assume the seller was disappointed.

Graceland Shooting Target Blown Up

However, we can assume that is nothing compared to the poor soul who purchased another target at the August 2014 Auction at Graceland. He paid $27,000 for it, probably thinking it was one of a kind.

Target Blow Up from Aug 2014 Auction at Gracelans

Bidders this time must have realized there could be many more of these in existence and bid much more conservatively. Plus, if you read the website fine print, there is no way to determine if these are Elvis’ shots or just one of the guys. It must really hurt to see your $27,000 investment drop to a sorry $2,500.


Concert Contract for November 22-25, 1956 Ohio Shows:

Elvis Presley and Colonel Parker Signed Concert Contract for November 22-25, 1956 Ohio Shows

The value of an Elvis autograph varies greatly, depending on the item it is signed on. You can’t do much better than a historic contract. This is a standard American Federation of Musicians contract to covering Elvis’ eight performances from November 22 through November 25, 1956, two each date. The agreed price for all eight shows was $20,000 “against 60 percent after all expenses had been deducted.

Elvis Presley and Colonel Parker Signed Concert Contract for November 22-25, 1956 Ohio Shows - Close Up

The auction minimum bid was $5,000, but bidders saw much more value and the contract sold for $13,740.


Elvis and Priscilla’s Wedding Photo Album:

1967 Elvis and Priscilla Presley Wedding Photo Album

Elvis and Priscilla were married on May 1, 1967 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. Of course photographers were present, and Col. Parker commissioned the production of a few of these commemorative albums. They held 19 studio-quality 8 by 10 inch black-and-white photographs. Included are photographs of the ceremony, family shots including the entire Beaulieu family and Vernon and Dee Presley with Dee’s children, a larger group shot with the Colonel and members of Elvis’ entourage with the families, cake-cutting pictures, and press pictures.

Elvis and Ptiscilla Wedding Kiss

The auction website estimated the album would for $5,000 to $10,000. It actually sold for $5,500 plus the auction house premium for a total of $6,750.


Gold Toned Mic

Elvis Presley Gold-Toned Microphone and Cord Used on Stage in 1969 at the International Hotel

When Elvis returned to live performances on July 31, 1969 at the International hotel in Las Vegas, this was the mike he used. It is a Shure Brothers Unidyne III Dynamic Model 545G, and it contains the debossed marking “ELVIS PRESLEY.”

1969 International Hoel Mic - Elvis Holding

A few weeks into Elvis‘ engagement, he met a fan backstage who had been seated up-front and she commented that she could see that his name was on the mic. Elvis asked one of his staff to go get the microphone and when he returned Elvis gave this microphone to her.

The website estimate proved correct as the mic went for the top of the range at $15,000.


Colonel Tom Parker Harem Holiday Robe Worn on the Set of Harum Scarum:

1965 Colonel Tom Parker Harem Holiday Robe Worn on the Set of Film Harum Scarum

I absolutely cannot fathom why anybody would pay $11,250 for this walking advertisement Col. Parker dreamed up. For that kind of money you could buy an Elvis ring or several articles of Elvis’ clothes. I just don’t get it.

Colonel Parker in Harem Holiday Robe Worn with Elvis on Set

According to the auction website, Colonel Parker would create a new, custom-made, white coat covered in promotions for the current Elvis film that he would wear around the set, and especially in front of the press. This one says “Harem Holiday” which was the original name of the movie before it got changed to Harum Scarum. In addition, the coat has Elvis’ name in several colors, along with the MGM logo and the names of the other actors, producers and those involved in the making of the film.


Concert Song List with Elvis’ Handwritten Corrections:

Elvis' Hand Written Concert Song List

Elvis would often adjust his concert set lists to suit his preference. This one, for 8:15 and 12:00 shows, is probably from the shows one night in 1969 at the International Hotel in 1969. In blue ink, Elvis scratched through song number 1, which was “Blue Suede Shoes” and written instead, “All Shook Up.” He left the second and third numbers as “I Got a Woman” and “That’s All Right Mama.” Four was changed from “Love Me Tender” to “Love Me.” He has changed three of the five songs in the medley that followed, adding “Teddy Bear,” “One Night,” and “It’s Now or Never.” Next he made further additions of “Sweet Caroline,” “Polk Salad Annie,” “Don’t Cry Daddy,” and “CC Rider.” It is only the last four of the fourteen original songs that he leaves completely untouched

The set list was very popular among the bidders. The minimum bid was $1,500, and the estimate was $3-5,000. After 25 bids were submitted, it topped out at $9,375.


Official Shelby County Sheriff’s Badge Number 1:

Elvis Presley's Official Shelby County Sheriff’s Badge

Elvis’ collection of law enforcement badges is well known, and there is an impressive exhibit of them at Graceland. However, none of them have a more interesting story than this one. Back in 1970 Elvis received an honorary Sheriff badge from the Shelby County Sheriff at that time, Bill Morris. In 1976 Elvis asked incoming Sheriff Gene Barksdale for “the badge with the number 1 on it. On September 1, 1976, Barksdale presented Elvis with an official Shelby County Sheriff badge number 1. But the sheriff must have been concerned that Elvis might actually try to wear the badge, so he had it encased in Plexiglas block with a plaque inside a custom wooden presentation box.

Elvis' Shelby County Sheriff's Badge in Case

Bidding came in a little below the auction estimate with a winning bid of $3,750.


Complete Concert Film from the April 5, 1972 Memorial Auditorium Show in Buffalo, NY:

1972 Complete Elvis Presley Concert Film from the Memorial Auditorium Show in Buffalo, NY

This is a never-before-seen professionally recorded Elvis concert. Four days prior to filming Elvis on Tour, director Robert Abel captured Elvis on black-and-white video footage, most likely a trial run to finalize camera and lighting directions before principal filming began on the film.

The auction website is very effusive in describing what these tapes show:

The performance captured an artist in complete command of his form, with Elvis at the peak of his singing and onstage abilities. He’s as engaged and determined as any pro athlete when the whistle blows to start a game, charging into every note with purpose, riding every melody to perfection. There is, of course, still the jovial and playful taunting and jawing with the band and the crowd, but this concert displays the power and grace of Elvis the performer that can often be somewhat lost behind the legend.

The majority of the film records Elvis’ superb performance with a combination of close-up, medium and long shots, as the director started mapping out his moves for Elvis on Tour. One imagines the copious notes about shot length, lighting, angles and other details that would consume a director preparing to capture Elvis on stage.

Each tape reel is 30 minutes long and included in the lot was a 500 gigabyte hard drive containing a high-resolution transfer along with all of the consignor’s intellectual property rights to the recording.

If it sounds to you that these tapes could easily be turned into a highly desirable DVD, the new owner must have thought so too, because he shelled out $137,500 to buy it. And he had some fierce competition as 36 bids were placed on these tapes


There were 126 lots in this fourth Auction at Graceland. In the coming weeks, we will look at many more in categories like Over-Priced Losers, Elvis Style, Gold Records, and Rings.

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved


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


Elvis and David Bowie

David Bowie and Elvis

David Bowie passed away yesterday at age 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Back in 2009, I read that Bowie and Elvis shared the same birthday – January 8.  So, I Googled both names together to see if there were any other connections.  What came up was a website called The Ziggy Stardust Companion.  They listed a number of things connecting Elvis and David Bowie, and I decided to do an ElvisBlog article commenting on their points.  That article is reprinted below.


Elvisblog strives to bring you articles you won’t find on any other Elvis websites or blogs.  Certainly, that is accomplished with this topic discussing a connection between Elvis and David Bowie.  That can’t be possible, you say.  Well, there is one website that thinks there is a case to be made.  According to The Ziggy Stardust Companion, “David Bowie and Elvis Presley have many similarities, and Presley also served as inspiration for some aspects of the Ziggy Stardust phenomenon.”

For those of you who don’t know, Ziggy Stardust was a stage persona David Bowie assumed during concerts in the 70s.  I linked to the Ziggy website from Google Images, where I found this picture:



This is both sides of a 45RPM record (inside the paper sleeve) that RCA released in Thailand in the mid-70s.  “Space Oddity” was Bowie’s first hit, reaching #15 in the US, and who knows why RCA didn’t just use the original “B” side for its Thailand release.  Instead, they picked “Fool,” which was already an obscure Elvis “B” side on “Steamroller Blues,” his #17 hit in 1973. 

Elvis recorded with RCA from 1956 to 1977, and David Bowie was with RCA from 1973 to 1980.  Besides recording for the same company, here are some of the other similarities between Bowie and Elvis as stated on “The Ziggy Stardust Companion.”

They share the same birthday.  Elvis was born on January 8, 1935, and David Bowie was born on January 8, 1947.  This is an easily verified connection between the two performers.

Elvis and Bowie experimented and got into trouble with their hair styles in high school.  Well, we know Elvis wore his hair differently than his classmates, and if Bowie’s later preference in hair styles is any indication, he was a rebel in high school, too.



Bowie says that he first discovered the power of music when he saw his cousin get up and dance to Elvis’ “Hound Dog.”  Excuse me, but this hardly seems like a major connection between Elvis and David Bowie.

Bowie had his clothes designer Freddi Burretti copy Elvis’ jumpsuits for Bowie’s own use at Ziggy Stardust concerts.  Well, “copy” would be a stretch.  Perhaps “inspire” might be a better word.  Bill Belew and Gene Doucett never designed anything for Elvis like these Bowie/Ziggy jumpsuits.


Bowie’s manager – Tony DeFries – was a big fan of Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker and would quote from Parker’s book to anyone who would listen.  This is another pretty weak connection between Elvis and Bowie.  If it is true, I wonder if DeFries took a 50% cut of Bowie’s earnings, like the Colonel did with Elvis.

Tony DeFries used the announcement “David Bowie has left the building,” as was done for Elvis Presley concerts.  I have been unable to verify this, so I am skeptical.

The lightning bolt motif Bowie wore for the Aladdin Sane album cover was partly inspired by a ring that Elvis wore – which had a lightning bolt emblem along with the letters TCB.  Of course, Elvis was more famous for his TCB pendants than his ring, but that’s beside the point.  Do you really think Elvis’ lightning bolt inspired this?



David Bowie was a big fan of Elvis.  At short notice, he crossed the Atlantic on a plane to attend an Elvis concert in New York in 1972, even though he had a strong fear of flying.  “The Ziggy Stardust Companion” printed this quote that Bowie made in 1996 concerning the Elvis concert he attended.

“[Elvis] was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something. I came over for a long weekend. I remember coming straight from the airport and walking into Madison Square Garden very late. I was wearing all my clobber from the Ziggy period and had great seats near the front. The whole place just turned to look at me and I felt like a right idiot. I had brilliant red hair, some huge padded space suit and those red boots with big black soles. I wished I’d gone for something quiet, because I must have registered with him. He was well into his set.”

As he looked out from the stage and saw this freaky-looking character take his seat up front, I’m sure Elvis thought to himself, “Man, I’ve got a lot in common with this guy.”


©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    


Elvis-David Bowie Morphed

Elvis and David Bowie Morphed

One news report on Bowie’s death mentioned that he kept changing his appearance and personna and had several distinct successful careers.  In that reguard, he and Elvis had a direct parallel.  There was Elvis the young brash rocker in the 50s, Elvis the movie star in the 60s, and Elvis the record-breaking concert performer in the 70s.  I wonder why The Ziggy Stardust Companion missed that connection.


David Bowie in Costume

David Bowie was a unique entertainer.  He will be missed.  Goodbye David.  Say hi to Elvis for us.


© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved


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


Let’s Do It Again in 2016

ElvisBlog Dec 2015 Site Stats

When you approach the end of your eleventh year of blogging, it’s natural to wonder How much longer do I want to do this? Then you see a stat like the above that shows new visitors keep coming to ElvisBlog, and it gives you renewed enthusiasm.

I’m curious why 749 people checked in on New Year’s Eve, making it the blog’s biggest day of the month. Seems like that would be a low volume day with all the other distractions (especially two college football playoff games).

For what it’s worth, the record day for ElvisBlog in 2015 was October 22 with 2,175 hits (page views). I have no idea why so many people showed up. I Googled to find out what Elvis-related news might have triggered extra interest, but nothing special had gone on.


World Map of ElvisBlog Visitors

So, ElvisBlog had a very good year again in 2015. The number of visitors was up a healthy 11% over the previous year. But less than half of all visitors come from the United States. If you can read the fine print under the map, it says, “148 countries in all.” If you ever wanted proof that Elvis still has fans all over the world, here it is. The blue shading on the map indicates the yearly ElvisBlog visitor totals from countries, the more blue, the more visitors. Here’s the way the top five countries stacked up:

USA 46%
UK 17%
Germany 8%
France 5%
Canada 3%

There are a few countries that apparently have almost no Elvis fans. Just one visitor came from each of these nations last year: Indonesia, Turkey, Chile, Pakistan, and Israel.


So, How Much is an Elvis Autograph Worth - Pt 1

In 2015, the most read post on the blog was: “So, How Much is an Elvis Autograph Worth, Pt. 1,” originally written back in November 2010. I must thank Google and the other search engines for this.

It appears there are many people out there possessing an Elvis autograph who want to sell it or are at least curious about its value. So they type Elvis Autograph Worth or something similar into the search box, and the top result is the ElvisBlog article. I love that. The more people you attract to the blog, the more who will like it and become regular readers.


Strange Oddyssey of Elvis' Shot Up TV

However, I can’t explain the reason for the fourth most popular ElvisBlog post: “The Strange Odyssey of Elvis’ Shot Up TV,” written way back in 2007. Maybe a lot of fans find this silly piece of the Elvis legend intriguing, and want to learn more about it.


Subscribe to ElvisBlog

There was one new feature added to ElvisBlog in 2015. In the top right corner of the home page is a box where people can subscribe. That simply means that as soon as a new post is added, you get it sent to you via email. You can read it there, or open it up and see the whole home page. The pace of people signing up for this is increasing, so you might want to consider opting for this convenience, too.


Big E and the Santa Man - Cover - Smaller

I would also like to take this opportunity to cover my other project in 2015. BIG E and the SANTA MAN was a huge success. The outpouring of praise from those who bought the book and loved it is most gratifying. My thanks go out to each of you.

Encouraged by this positive response, I have completed writing a sequel. Both books will be back for sale prior to the 2016 Christmas season. However, my next sales efforts will include every avenue of modern-day book marketing: Amazon, eBook, PayPal. Facebook and other social media presence, you name it. I’ve got nine months to get knowledgeable on this stuff and get it set up prior to the kickoff of the next sales push.

I sent a free copy the book to a person with strong connections to Elvis Presley Enterprises. He emailed me back and said:

“I loved it. Very, very entertaining. I see it as an every year annual Christmas holiday movie.”

When I called to thank him, he said something that floored me.

“When you are ready to present your idea to Graceland, I will send a copy of the book to Priscilla, along with a personal letter of recommendation. I’ll emphasize they should consider how an animated Christmas special made from this story would be a huge revenue producer for EPE. Plus it would attract new young Elvis fans every year it is shown. Graceland is looking for ideas to keep the fan base going even as the older ones pass away. I believe BIG E and the SANTA MAN could do that.”

WOW! It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m ecstatic.

Of course, even if it all unfolds like I hope, it will still be years before the finished product shows up on TV. So, you’ll have a chance to buy the book and add your voice to the ranks of those who want to watch the story on TV.




© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved


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


Happy Birthday, Elvis

Black and White Elvis Birthday Cake


Elvis Birthday Party Hat


Viva Elvis Happy Birthday


©  2016    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

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