I started covering auctions of Elvis memorabilia in March 2010. Over the next 4-1/2 years, ElvisBlog had 25 posts covering auctions from Heritage, Julien’s , Sotheby’s, Gotta Have It, and Michaan’s auction houses.
Then in August 2014, EPE sponsored the first Auction at Graceland in Memphis during Elvis Week.
Since then, half of the 14 auctions containing sizeable selections of Elvis collectibles have been the Auctions at Graceland. In addition to on-line bidding, the items were on display prior to the in-person bidding in Memphis. These were logical attractions for the folks coming to Elvis Week and the Elvis Birthday celebrations.
In 2016, a third auction was added to add more pizazz to the opening of the new Guest House at Graceland.
As I have stated before, EPE made a brilliant decision to get involved with auctioning of Elvis memorabilia. They are gobbling up much of the available items, and from what I can tell, they are bringing higher prices for the sellers.
The latest Auction at Graceland closed on January 7 and had 165 items for bid. We’ll probably look at the rings, autographs, and clothing in the future, but here are some other items that caught my eye for one reason or another.
Boxing Gloves Elvis Wore in Kid Galahad:
These boxing gloves were one of the surprise successes of the auction. Although this was just one of several pairs Elvis wore during the filming of Kid Galahad, it attracted 15 bidders. They ran the price way past the minimum bid of $2,500 and topped out at $11,875 (including the 25% auction premium). However, this is another example of something I’ve been reminding folks with an Elvis collectible to sell. Spend some money on a proper display. It will pay off. If it had just been two loose boxing gloves as shown above, the top bid would not have been so high.
However, the top bidder actually got a nice framed 25’ x 25” display that included a shot from the movie and the six-song soundtrack EP, both showing Elvis wearing boxing gloves. The case is 5 inches deep with protective glass over it.
And here’s something you may find interesting. The previous owner said this about the boxing gloves, “I held them and could feel the Elvis vibes.” Good for her.
Shirt Signed by 30+ Elvis Presley Co-Stars and Friends:
This is one item that may have fared better on a general entertainment auction than on one for just Elvis collectors. Only four bids came in and the winning one for $750 fell well below the estimate.
There are fourteen autographs on the front. Perhaps you can make out these Elvis co-stars: Anne Helm (Follow That Dream), Stella Stevens (Girls! Girls! Girls!), Cynthia Pepper (Kissin’ Cousins), Deborah Walley (Spinout), Celeste Yarnall (Live a Little, Love a Little), Julie Parrish (Paradise, Hawaiian Style), Diane McBain (Spinout), Joan Blackman (Blue Hawaii, Kid Galahad), and others. Notable co-stars on the back and sleeves include Julie Adams (Tickle Me), Marilyn Mason (Trouble with Girls), and Mary Ann Mobley (Girl Happy, Harum Scarum).
It doesn’t say so on the auction website, but I believe all these signatures were obtained over time at Elvis Weeks when all the special guests sit at tables signing publicity photos, etc. About ten years ago, I saw someone moving down the line with an acoustic guitar getting autographs by many musicians from Elvis’ past. It later sold at auction for well over $750.
Colt “Police Positive Special” .32 Caliber Pistol:
What would an Elvis auction be without one of his guns? As the auction website says, Elvis had a personal arsenal. Here’s one with two interesting stories.
Elvis acquired this Colt .32 caliber pistol in the 1970s at Tiny’s Gun Store in Palm Springs, California. Tiny, the owner of the gun shop, admired one of Elvis’ rings, and Elvis asked him if he wanted to trade for it. Tiny said yes and offered several items for the trade. Elvis decided on this gun and others and made the deal.
However, after using it, Elvis gave it to his bodyguard Dick Grob. His reason for this was that it didn’t have much fire power, very little noise and almost no recoil. Definitely not enough bang to suit Elvis.
But the Colt pistol had enough appeal to bidders to run the $2,000 minimum bid up to $10,625
Mike McGregor’s Handcrafted “TCB” Necklace in Elvis Presley Style:
We could also ask, “What would an Elvis auction be without a TCB pendant?” So many of them have changed hands over the last seven years. However, this is not one that Elvis owned and wore. It is not one he gave to friends. In fact, it was made three years after his death.
Mike McGregor was a blacksmith and leather craftsman who met Elvis in the 1960s at the Western shop where Mike worked crafting saddles. Elvis hired Mike to work at the Circle G Ranch taking care of the horses. Mike and his family lived at Circle G and then moved to Graceland, where he continued making leather goods and jewelry for Elvis.
In 1976 McGregor opened his own jewelry shop in Mississippi where he made this silver pendant modelled after the Elvis style. Apparently, this is a close enough connection for the high bidder pay $687.50 for it.
Water Pistol from the May 8, 1976 Sahara Tahoe Squirt Gun Fight with Elvis:
I didn’t think I would ever see a squirt gun at an Elvis auction, let alone bringing in a $625 top bid.
On May 8 1976 at the Sahara Tahoe, Elvis performed for nearly 90 minutes, sang more than 25 songs and was engaged throughout. Then, several fans near the stage began a water fight with squirt guns after he sang “Love Me.” One of them was “Rockin’ Robin” Rosaaen, a fan of some renown at that time.
This plastic squirt gun was what she used during the skirmish. Her accompanying letter with the water pistol says, “During the show I gave Elvis this large green machine gun-sized squirt gun, and he then proceeded to shoot his back-up singers, thinking he had the only squirt gun. Later, as he stood center stage, we opened fire! Elvis thought it was too much fun, and the next night talked about it, saying ‘Ladies and gentlemen, you should have been here last night—it was like a gun fight at the OK Corral”
Platinum Record Award for Elvis Presley’s Album Aloha from Hawaii:
Lots of Gold and Platinum Record Awards have shown up at auction. However, these are often the ones awarded to Col. Parker, or RCA, or others. Or they are awards presented by other entities than the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). However, this is the actual official one awarded to Elvis. It’s a surprise that this one is not already part of the huge awards display at Graceland.
The minimum bid was a ridiculously low $500. Fifty bids later, it topped out at $9,375. That doesn’t mean fifty different people bid on it. Probably two or three collectors battled it out to win the prize. In any event, I have never seen an item of Elvis memorabilia receive fifty bids.
23 Private Photos and More:
This is a treasure trove of mostly never-seen-before photographs from the estate of Trude Forsher. From 1956 until 1961, Forsher served as secretary for Col. Parker and Elvis. Here is a photo of her and Elvis in 1956.
As you can see, Graceland Auctions now puts a watermark over the photos posted on the auction website. It took them a while to figure that out. There is no mention of why Elvis is is that unusual position.
Here’s a photo taken at a Los Angeles recording session in 1957. Cousin Gene Smith, the Jordanaires, and Bill Black join Elvis.
This collection had a total of 42 bids and finally went for $6,250. Seems like a very good deal for all these photos and other stuff
1950s Original 35mm Negatives of Elvis Presley Jam Session with Scotty Moore
For the same price of $6,250, someone bought a set of just six Elvis pictures (not shown – a near duplicate and one shot that doesn’t include Elvis). According to the auction website, the pictures were taken at a rehearsal in 1955. They do not say this was at Sun Studios, but the folks who placed 35 bids must have thought so. Why else would the winner have paid such a high price?
Union 76 Gold Cards:
Elvis credit cards show up from time to time. This one went for $3,375. Wow.
1966 Tennessee License Plate:
This license plate went for $3,500, thanks in part to the nice display. However, the auction website said the plate was originally on Elvis’ 1967 Lincoln Continental. I don’t think that is the car in the picture.
The plate was originally owned by EPE, but they put it up for auction back in 1999 Graceland Archives Auction in Las Vegas. They sold a whole bunch of stuff then. I wonder if they wish they had it back now that they are about to open the new “Elvis: The Entertainer” museum at Elvis Presley’s Memphis.
Speaking of Elvis Presley’s Memphis, the new, state-of-the-art entertainment complex, which will have its grand opening on March 2-5. Yes, there will be another Auction at Graceland as part of the festivities. I’ll bet they will have no trouble finding another 165 or so new memorabilia items to bid on.
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