I continue to be more and more impressed with the Auctions at Graceland each time we have a new one. And they are coming at an increased frequency. The first was during Elvis Week 2014. In 2015, there were Auctions at Graceland during the birthday celebration and Elvis Week. Same thing this year, but now we get an additional one as part of the grand opening of the Guest house at Graceland.
Just 2-1/2 months after the Elvis Week 2016 auction, they have come up with 145 new items for collectors to bid on. I’ve noticed that the item descriptions on the auction website are getting longer and more interesting. Typically I write my own summary and comments on the items presented here on ElvisBlog, but this time we’ll look at what the website has to say (with minor editing).
1953 Humes High School Yearbook Signed by Elvis Presley and Class President George Klein:
Carolyn Lee Jones was certainly a popular girl in Humes High School and her yearbook from 1953 confirms the fact that this lovely lady had many friends and admirers. The most famous of those was Elvis Presley himself, who signed near his own class picture, “Best of luck to a very cute girl. Elvis.” Elvis’ friend and Class President, George Klein, also signed “To a very nice girl. Best of everything always. George.”
Based on the staggering number of signatures in her yearbook, it appears Carolyn knew almost everyone in her school! A cherished high school memento, this yearbook was stored for many years in a safety deposit box, and because of that it is one of the most well-preserved copies ever offered.
The yearbook is 112 pages long. Elvis is depicted in his senior class portrait wearing a suit jacket and tie with a curl of hair falling onto his forehead. He has listed his major as “Shop, History, English” and his activities as “R.O.T.C., Biology Club, English Club, History Club, Speech Club.” Elvis is also mentioned on page 30 in the class’ Last Will and Testament, in Section 83: “Donald Williams, Raymond McCraig and Elvis Presley leave hoping there will be someone to take their places as ‘teachers’ pets.’” Elvis is also pictured on page 56, in the 5th period 12th grade English class photo, in the back row.
The pristine example of the 1953 Herald yearbook is offered with a letter from Carolyn Lee (Jones) Davis in which she fondly recalls her school days with Elvis:
“There are so many memories in this wonderful book. I think back on the days of Elvis sitting on the front steps of the school and playing his guitar. To see what he has become is truly amazing. He was always a loner and most people paid him no attention. I felt sorry for him at times. We became friends and I helped him with his school work. English was his worst subject. Funny how life takes its turns. I, for one, was very proud to know him. Memories are a wonderful thing.”
This is the yearbook photo of Carolyn Lee Jones. It was reproduced in a June 2012 ElvisBlog article, part of a series that covered comments by Elvis’ former classmates. In preparation for their 50th reunion in 2003, a website was created where everyone could post their memories of Humes High School. Naturally much of this concerned Elvis. Here is what Carolyn Jones said about Elvis then.
Somehow, between 2003 and 2016, her recollections of Elvis went from “I didn’t know Elvis very well” to “We became friends and I helped him with his school work.” No big deal. Just interesting.
The pre-auction estimate on this yearbook was $4-6,000, and the winning bid was $6,875 (including the auction’s 25% buyer’s fee). In April 2013, ElvisBlog reported on the sale at Heritage Auctions of another Herald yearbook with Elvis’ signature and inscription. It sold for $4,375 (including buyer’s premium). This in another example of how the Auctions at Graceland bring higher realization for sellers of Elvis memorabilia.
Rare Complete Set of Five Elvis Presley’s Sun 78 RPM Records:
This incredible complete collection of Elvis’ Sun Records 78s includes his first five singles: 1954 Sun 209 “That’s All Right/Blue Moon of Kentucky”; 1954 Sun 210 “Good Rockin’ Tonight/I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine”; 1955 Sun 215 “Milkcow Blues Boogie/You’re A Heartbreaker”; 1955 Sun 217 “Baby Let’s Play House/I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone”; and 1955 Sun 223 “Mystery Train/I Forgot to Remember to Forget.”
While a complete set of Elvis’ Sun 45s are highly collectible, a full set of the Sun 78s are even more rare and desirable. Rumors have been told throughout the years that the scarcity of the 78s was due to the fact that Sam Phillip’s brother Tom, who ran the back warehouse where stacks of the 78s were stored, allowed an overseas collector into the space and that collector was so overtaken at the sheer quantity that he fell into the stacks, causing a vast amount of irreplaceable damage. Another anecdote explaining the shortage of 78s was that Tom Phillips would give away enormous quantities to county fairs who would use them as targets in the carnival games, hanging them from strings so customers could toss balls at them in an attempt to break them to smithereens.
We may never know the true story, but the fact remains that the Elvis Sun 78s are highly sought after for their rarity and superior sound quality compared to the 45s. A very clean complete set, with signs of only moderate use, including a few scratches and scuffs. Labels are extremely clean and totally intact. Excellent condition, if not a somewhat better overall.
This set was a popular item generating eleven bids. It sold for $4,500, right in line with the pre-auction estimate.
Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right”:
The offered metal stampers were used to produce some of the very earliest pressings of Elvis Presley’s first 45 RPM record release with the songs “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” The recording of these two songs is widely considered by many to be the birth of rock and roll. When Elvis exploded on the Memphis airwaves, changing popular music forever, Sam Phillips charged into the future and had his records on the shelves only days later, on July 19, 1954. The initial copies were pressed by Plastic Products in Memphis, and Elvis himself is said to have visited the plant to watch the record being made. There is no way to know for sure if these stampers were part of the initial production run in mid-July, but pencil notations on the storage sleeve indicate that they were in use no later than August 1954. Either way, some of the first records Elvis fans ever played were pressed from these very stampers. They pressed together upon the waiting “hot wax” and, one copy after another, helped change the world forever.
Key attributes of the stampers include the matrix numbers visible in what would be the “dead wax” portion of the final pressed records, the “Audiodisc” logo around the center circles, and, of course, the three small indentations around the center holes. The 1/4” indentations, used to hold the stampers in place by connecting with three opposing pins during pressing, are what created what are known to collectors of early Elvis records as “delta” marks. They form a triangle (or the Greek letter “delta”) of marks on the Sun labels. These marks are the tell-tale sign that a record is a “delta pressing,” pressed at the Memphis record plant. Copies pressed at other plants in Philadelphia or Los Angeles do not have these marks. The marks appear on all of Elvis’ Sun 45s except for his final release, “Mystery Train.” By the time of that release in 1955, the stamper production method had been adjusted.
When I saw the pre-auction estimate for this was $30,000 to $40,000, I said “No way.” Indeed, no one even cared to make the minimum bid of $15,000. We will see this stamper again at auction at a considerably lower price.
Three Sun Record Co. Checks Written to Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black:
This grouping of checks is an unprecedented offering representing the actual payments for an Elvis Presley recording session at The Memphis Recording Service with Sam Phillips. The three Sun Record Co., Inc. checks are each signed by Phillips and, respectively, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black. They are for the recording session on November 15, 1954 for the song “I’m Left, You’re Right, My Baby’s Gone.” The memos on the Moore and Black checks (nos. 834 and 835, respectively) read “Presley Session: 11/15/54,” while Elvis’ check (no. 833) simply reads “Session: 11/15/54.” The distinction between the memos may be related to the fact that Elvis was paid as the session leader, while Scotty and Bill, as players, were paid half as much. The checks are dated the day after the session, November 16, 1954 and are also endorsed on the reverse below each musician’s name by “O.V. Foster,” the secretary of the Memphis local musicians’ union.
Seven takes were recorded at the session, and are commonly referred to as the “slow” version of the song. Eventually, the boys would record the more upbeat version that was released with “Baby Let’s Play House” as Sun 217 and titled “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.” However, there is some confusion about whether the record version was recorded during the March 5, 1955 session, as is commonly held, or if it was indeed recorded during the November 15, 1954, session. The debate has smoldered among fans for some time, and hopefully the offering of these checks will only fan the flames!
Elvis Presley signed checks of any vintage are highly sought-after by collectors, and checks from the earliest period of his career only more so. And an Elvis-signed Sun Record Co. check that is also signed by Sam Phillips would be the pinnacle. So considering the presented group of Sun Record checks are signed by not only Elvis and Sam, but also Scotty Moore and Bill Black, and that they are for a recording session, it is fair to say that this may be the most significant Elvis Presley check offering ever. A truly historic auction opportunity.
The set of three checks sold for $16,250, slightly below the pre-auction estimate.
Complete Set of Elvis Presley’s RCA Victor 45 RPM EPs – All 29 Releases from 1956–67:
In November 1955, RCA bought Elvis’ contract from Sun Records. In March 1956, RCA released Elvis’ first full-length album, simply titled Elvis Presley, which sold more than 350,000 copies in just over a month. RCA simultaneously released two 45 EPs of the same title that together included all 12 tracks available on the LP. Extended Plays, commonly referred to as EPs, were created in the 1950s and contained more than the traditional two tracks on most 45s. By releasing both the LP and EPs at the same time, RCA was assuring saturation of its new star in a market that used record players with varying capabilities. RCA’s strategy proved victorious, with the EPs selling even more copies than the LP. The success of Elvis Presley made it the first in music history to sell more than a million copies, and Elvis became the first RCA single artist to reach a million dollars in sales. The album reached number 1 on the Billboard charts and launched Elvis’ long career with RCA.
(Editor’s note: The other 27 Eps in this collection had four songs each. I learned something here – I never knew the two Elvis Presley EPs sold more than the album of the same name.)
I thought this very desirable set was undervalued in the pre-auction estimate of $1,000-$1,500. A total of 22 bids ran the price up to $2,500. Still a bargain.
Elvis Presley Stage-Worn Jumpsuit – The “Aqua Blue Vine” Jumpsuit:
Nothing is more synonymous with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll than his famous jumpsuits. While every fan remembers Elvis’ wonderfully spectacular variety of jumpsuits (nearly 100 different examples were made), few are ever made available on the open market. Only a very small number of jumpsuits exist outside the treasured Graceland Archives. The opportunity to acquire such an iconic piece of music and entertainment history is incredibly rare. The offered legendary jumpsuit, with its turquoise clustered studs, was designed by Bill Belew and Gene Doucette in 1973 for Elvis. In the typical fashion of many of his jumpsuits, it has a zippered front closure, flared sleeves, flared legs with turquoise silk inverted kick pleats, a high-pointed Napoleon collar with Velcro patches on the back to attach the matching cape, and is studded with magnificent faux turquoise stones and gold-colored studs all over. The heavy fabric material matches other examples from the period, and an important hidden element that is present is the extra underarm padding.
After designing the famous spectacular jumpsuits for which Elvis became known, Bill Belew was in high demand. Subsequently, Gene Doucette took a more active role in studding the jumpsuits with the elaborate stone and bejeweled designs. After early experiments, Bill had found that the best color choice for the fabric was white as it enabled Elvis to be lit by different colored spotlights without the suit itself absorbing the color. The high “Napoleonic” collar was meant to draw attention to Elvis’ face, and the multitude of jewels and studs all over the jumpsuits would give the costume sparkle in the spotlights. The turquoise-and-gold flower style design of the offered jumpsuit is a perfect example of this design strategy, as it created a dazzling array of colorful glimmer under the lights of the Las Vegas stage and served to focus all attention on the shining star himself.
There are a great number of images of Elvis in this jumpsuit, which he wore on stage in August and September of 1973 in Las Vegas and then again a few more times in 1974, most notably during the March tour. To complement this jumpsuit, Elvis often wore the matching cape and belt, which are both part of the treasured Graceland Archives Collection. The belt presented here, and included with the jumpsuit, is a replica created later for presentation purposes.
Elvis gave the jumpsuit, among many other garments and artifacts, to the family of girlfriend Ginger Alden. The Alden family subsequently sold the jumpsuit to Jimmy Velvet, and it was offered in the Jimmy Velvet auction in Las Vegas in 1994. The jumpsuit most recently traded hands on eBay nearly 10 years ago for over $200,000.
With the vast majority of jumpsuits residing at Graceland, only a precious few become available to collectors and this opportunity comes so very infrequently. The “Aqua Blue Vine” jumpsuit is a treasure to behold and with thousands of images of Elvis performing in this very costume, it would be the pinnacle of any important Elvis collection’
The jumpsuit is in excellent condition overall, with great signs of heavy stage use, wear at the armpits, discoloration marks where the matching belt would have been worn, and staining in the collar and armpits commensurate with heavy wear and stage use.
(Editor’s note: The last Elvis jumpsuit sale was in August 2008. The Peacock jumpsuit pictured above went for $300,000.)
The Aqua Blue Jumpsuit was billed as the highlight of this auction, and it did not disappoint. The top bidder shelled out $325,000.
1952 The Reno Brothers “First Draft” Original Twentieth Century Fox Script for Elvis Presley’s First Film, Love Me Tender:
Elvis Presley exploded onto the national scene in 1956 with a slew of #1 hits for RCA, several landmark television appearances and his Hollywood film debut as Clint Reno in Love Me Tender. The film was retitled from The Reno Brothers late in production to capitalize on the raging success of Elvis’ single “Love Me Tender,” which sold an unprecedented one million copies prior to its release. Reworked slightly for the young singer, Love Me Tender was a fairly straightforward Western tale with some nice plot twists and some songs thrown in for good measure. The film was premiered by Twentieth Century Fox on November 15, 1956 in New York City and on November 20 in Memphis. Elvis attended the Memphis showing with his mother Gladys. When Gladys cried at the death of her son’s character at the end of the movie, Elvis vowed never again to take a role in which his character perished. Gladys wasn’t the only one to take umbrage with Elvis’ onscreen demise—when test audiences reacted poorly to seeing him expire, the studio quickly had Elvis add another verse to the title track that could be sung by his ghostly image above the final scene.
This astounding first draft script’s original title, “The Reno Brothers,” is stamped on the front of its orange-colored cover. The new title is handwritten in ink directly above the stamped original title and date of November 15, 1952. The script is marked “First Draft Continuity” and numbered “2671” in the upper right corner of the cover. It is stamped along the bottom “Property of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Return to Stenographic Department
The offered script, along with the treatment that was delivered with the script to the then-head of Twentieth Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck, is also accompanied by a memo from Zanuck back to the filmmakers and writers. Based on this memo, the offered script contains Zanuck’s very own handwritten edits in red, including dialogue changes and removals. His memo goes on to discuss changes to the end of the film. This historic collection of Hollywood ephemera is noteworthy for Zanuck’s handwritten contributions to the film that would launch Elvis’ robust movie career. Since the script languished for years in pre-production, the script’s printed date pre-dates Elvis’ fame.
Although originally quite minor, the part Elvis was given was revised to include extra lines and added scenes to accommodate his rabid fan base. Love Me Tender was the only film in which Elvis appeared and was not given top billing, but was also widely regarded as his best performance. Elvis, who desperately wanted to be taken seriously as an actor, would go on to make over 30 movies.
This screenplay was well below the pre-auction estimate but still topped out at $1,375. This would put it in the middle of the price range for the other screenplays reported in an ElvisBlog post two months ago.
1952 Jailhouse Rock Original MGM “Vault Copy” Script with Working Title “Ghost of a Chance”
The 1957 MGM film Jailhouse Rock was based on the dark short story by Nedrick Young titled “Ghost of a Chance.” Production of the film took only two months between May and June of 1957. The movie premiered in October that year in Memphis and was released nationwide in November. The script for the film began with the working title Ghost of a Chance after the short story on which it was based. The film’s name was subsequently changed to The Hard Way and Jailhouse Kid before the final title of Jailhouse Rock was decided. Jailhouse Rock was a highlight in Elvis’ career and contains the most recognized and memorable musical scene in any of his films.
The offered original “Vault Copy” script has a blue cover with the typed title “Jailhouse Rock,” and is numbered 5676. The script also contains a number of yellow-colored pages dated 7-8-52 with the title “Ghost of a Change Chgs.” Yellow insert pages in a script indicate revisions and save having to reprint the entire script. This example of the Jailhouse Rock script, a movie that was selected in 2004 for the U.S. National Film Registry, has found its way out of the vault and is available to be added to someone’s lucky collection
For some reason, the Jailhouse Rock screenplay had a lower estimate than Love Me Tender, but it sold for the same price of $1,375.
1957 Unpublished Images of Elvis Presley aboard the USS Matsonia:
Elvis’ love for Hawaii ran deep and during his lifetime he visited often. Whether it was to perform concerts and benefits, film a movie or to just vacation, the islands would always draw him back. Elvis first sailed to Hawaii from Los Angeles aboard the first class Matson Line ship, the USS Matsonia, on November 5, 1957. Elvis was scheduled for three concerts, including a performance for troops and their families at the Schofield Barracks in Honolulu. The voyage across the Pacific took several days, during which Elvis’ new film Jailhouse Rock opened in theaters. When the Matsonia docked in Honolulu on November 9, 1957, an on-board press conference was held before Elvis disembarked and set foot on Hawaiian soil for the first time.
A plethora of images exist from this journey and press conference, however, the offered pair of 1957 unpublished images of Elvis Presley in transparency slide format have never-before-been seen in public. The 35 mm color transparencies, contained in Kodachrome transparency slide holders measuring 2 by 2 inches (5.08 x 5.08 cm), include copyrights to the photos. The transparencies are offered with two 8 by 12 inch (20.32 x 30.48 cm) full-color prints that depict Elvis at the ship’s wheel and on the main deck. Elvis appears to be at the forefront of sailing fashion in his red print shirt, sunglasses and captain’s hat, ready for a voyage that would introduce him to a place and people that would change his life. These stunning images of Elvis are accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.
The transparencies (color slides) show signs of mild wear and are mounted inside slide folders. The images shown benefited from minor digital cleanup after scanning, and they show the potential of how clear an image could be created from the originals. Excellent condition.
I was pretty sure the pre-auction estimate of $1,500 – $2,000 was too low, and the bidding certainly confirmed this. This pair of never-before-seen color photos of Elvis in 1957 had 28 bids topping out at $4,000.
Elvis Presley Owned and Worn “E.A.P.” Gold ID Bracelet:
Identification bracelets came into use during WWII as the precursor to the dog tag, and listed all the information about a soldier should he not be able to convey the information himself. Even after the war, servicemen continued to wear their bracelets as a badge of honor. The ID bracelets hit mainstream popularity in the 1970s and Elvis, always at the height of fashion, had one. Elvis’ had a nameplate that was simply engraved “E.A.P.” The 14 karat gold bracelet weighs a total of 47.6 grams, with a 5-strand gold-mesh rope bracelet and fold-over clasp marked “Z&F.”
The bracelet comes with a letter from Joe Esposito that states in part,
“This 14K gold ID Bracelet with the gold mesh bracelet once belonged to Elvis Presley. Elvis had E.A.P. engraved on it. He purchased it in Las Vegas at the Thunderbird Hotel Jewelry store. He purchased it during the 1970’s. It was during one of his engagements. I don’t remember how long he had it before he gave it to one of his girlfriends as a gift. In the early 1980’s she called me at my home and told me she was having some financial problems. She wanted to know if I knew someone who would buy it from her. I was the one who bought it.”
I was surprised this bracelet didn’t meet the pre-auction estimate, but $8,000 is nothing to sneeze at.
Elvis Presley Owned and Worn Puka Shell Necklace – Worn during the Time He was Filming Blue Hawaii:
Elvis Presley Puka Necklace
Elvis fell in love with Hawaii at first sight and would often return. On March 18, 1961 Elvis headed to Hawaii for the USS Arizona benefit concert he would perform on the 25th, and also to begin filming for the Hawaiian-themed film Blue Hawaii, which was released by Paramount Pictures later that year. Elvis began recording the soundtrack for the film on March 21 and the location filming for the movie was complete in just three weeks. Blue Hawaii would be the first of three Elvis movies filmed on location in Hawaii. Elvis would return many times during his career and for his own personal holidays as he adored the island culture. No doubt during his stays Elvis learned that the Hawaiian word for hole is puka and that Hawaiians often create necklaces from the shells of sea snails, which have a naturally occurring hole at the center that makes these rounded-edge shells natural beads.
The offered necklace with four turquoise stone beads and seven small silver-colored beads was gifted from Elvis to Dr. George Nichopoulos, who was told that Elvis wore the necklace during the period he was filming Blue Hawaii. The necklace is mounted against a turquoise-colored background in a framed display with a plaque that states, “THIS SHELL AND TURQUOISE NECKLACE, WORN BY ELVIS PRESLEY, IN BLUE HAWAII, WAS GIVEN TO DR. GEORGE NICHOPOULOS, “DR. NICK”, BY ELVIS PRESLEY.” The wording on the plaque is somewhat inexact, as Dr. Nick clarifies in the accompanying letter when he states that the necklace was “worn in the time period of filming Blue Hawaii.” The necklace was not worn in the film.
In a related interview, Dr. Nick also detailed how Elvis and his entourage were all wearing these puka shell necklaces while in Hawaii during filming, and that he wanted Dr. Nick to have one as well. The framed display measures 15 by 11 1/2 inches, and the necklace is 6.5 inches in diameter.
Puka may be a good way to describe the feeling by bidders when they saw the estimate of $8-12,000 for this shell necklace. In fact, no one thought it was worth the minimum bid of $4,000. I agree.
Complete Set of Elvis Presley’s Fingerprints on 1970 Beverly Hills Police Department Application for Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon:
On October 1970, Elvis headed to the Beverly Hills Police Department to be fingerprinted for his application for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. This pristine fingerprint card contains the original fingerprint for every single one of Elvis’ 10 digits—both hands, twice—and his bold blue ink signature. This amazing artifact was held in the files at the Beverly Hills Police Department for seven years before being transferred to microfiche, and the original fingerprint card was given to the officer who took the prints, Richard Clason. The card was treasured and framed by Clason and is being offered direct from his family.
The card, numbered 73808 lists Elvis’ occupation as singer, place of birth as Tupelo, Miss. and date of birth as 1-8-35. Elvis signed the card “Elvis A. Presley,” and the signature remains bold in blue ink.
The fingerprint card is offered with a letter from Richard Clason’s son Kenneth in which he recounts in detail the circumstances of his father’s meeting with Elvis to take his fingerprints that day. This precise accounting mentions in part,
“So it was on October 22, 1970, that my father was called into Police Chief B.L. Cork’s office to meet an individual who was applying for such a permit and would need a set of prints taken right away. Imagine my dad’s surprise to see none other than the King of Rock ‘n Roll standing there in front of the Chief’s desk! Officer Clason was quite accustomed to interacting with celebrities, including some who were rather full of themselves, people who seemed to believe their own PR as my dad would say. But he recalled Elvis as being very soft spoken and polite, just a regular guy. As he walked Elvis to the fingerprint room, my father asked him why he felt he needed to carry a concealed weapon. Elvis told him there had been threats on his life and that sometimes when he was on stage with the house lights blinding his eyes, he would feel particularly vulnerable.”
Between his love of firearms and karate, Elvis was certainly capable of self-protection should the need arise. This fingerprint card, measuring 8 by 8 inches, is the pinnacle example of the most complete set of the King’s unique identifier—all 10 of his fingerprints!
This is a super cool Elvis collectible and the bidding represented this. It sold for $30,000. I’ve seen a wad of Elvis’ hair separated into smaller samplings and sold individually. Do you think the new owner of this set might start selling them one finger at a time?
Elvis Presley Owned and Worn Pajamas – Found Among his Personal Effects Left on the Lisa Marie:
This white pair of Munsingwear pajamas was owned and worn by Elvis Presley. The pajamas were recovered from the Lisa Marie, among a number of other personal items, after he passed away in August 1977. The silky-feeling nylon pajamas, with four-button front closure, have black trim around the collar, front closure, pocket and cuffs of the shirt and pants. The shirt’s collar tag reads “Munsingwear 100% Nylon Run Proof Tricot -A-.” The pajamas are offered with a letter from Richard Grob, one of Elvis’ bodyguards from 1967 through 1977, in which he details the circumstances surrounding acquiring the pajamas from the plane:
Shortly after August 16, 1977, when Elvis Presley, passed away, Vernon Presley, Elvis father, asked me to go to the airport and check the Lisa Marie, Elvis’ airplane. The Lisa Marie was parked at the Fixed Base Operator’s parking area. Vernon asked me to remove any items on the aircraft that maybe were left by Elvis when the plane was last used. I told him that I would, however, I felt that the valets probably cleaned the aircraft when they were last on it. I added that the flight crew also probably cleaned it except for any items that Elvis used regularly or that he may have told them to leave on the aircraft. When I got to the aircraft, I went through everything in the main cabin as well as the cargo areas below, in the aircraft belly. The result of my search produced many items which I removed. The items I removed included weapons, clothing, papers and other items. Some of these items I was very familiar with since I was present when Elvis acquired them and I knew he did not wish to take them to Graceland so his father would not know about them. Some items he used when he was on board the aircraft. Items that went with the aircraft were left on the plane such as the stereo earphones. Upon completing my search I informed Vernon of all the items I located. Vernon told me to keep them when I asked him where he wanted the items. These items have been in my possession or in storage since Elvis’ death, as they were given to me by Vernon Presley, Elvis’ father. One such item was a set of white with black trim pajamas, tops and bottoms. Elvis would wear these pajamas on the aircraft while traveling after a concert. Elvis would be hot and sweaty from the show and would strip out of his jump suit he wore during the show and put the pajamas on to rest. When we were about to land he would change from the pajamas into other clothes to leave the aircraft. Elvis last wore these pajamas on the evening o [sic] June 26, 1977 when he left Indianapolis Indiana after doing his last show and was flying back to Memphis.
While there is a certain logic to Dick Grob’s claim that Elvis wore the pajamas on his final flight since they were still aboard the Lisa Marie after Elvis’ passing weeks later, there is no specific corroborating evidence to support the claim conclusively. Regardless, the offered pajamas are a superior example of the casual costume Elvis often donned for down time.
Other Elvis pajamas have sold at auction before, but none reached the price of $5,250 achieved by this set.
Button Down Shirt Gifted to Stamps Member Larry Strickland During 1976 Jungle Room Recording Sessions:
Larry Strickland was a preacher’s kid from North Carolina who taught himself how to sing after falling in love with gospel music. In 1974, he was hired by The Stamps to sing bass. During his tour with The Stamps in Las Vegas, he met Elvis, who chastised him for looking like a farmer in the denim overalls he was wearing. It was a dream come true for a boy from NC to be playing for The Stamps and Elvis, but it only got better when in 1976 during a recording session in the Jungle Room at Graceland, Larry was informed that Elvis wanted to redo his entire wardrobe and was letting all the guys choose the clothes they wanted directly from his closet. When Larry’s turn came, he went into Elvis’ bedroom closet with him and responded to everything Elvis showed him saying that he liked it and could probably get it fitted to wear, knowing full well that he would never actually wear anything that had rested on the back of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Elvis always had a flair for fashion and in ’70s high style, he ordered several custom-made shirts from I.C. Costume Company in Hollywood, California, with the high Napoleonic collar that he favored in his stage jumpsuits and the flounced puff sleeves with elastic at the bicep. Larry saved this treasured black, brown, yellow and white patterned shirt in storage for years until his wife, Naomi Judd, was selling her stage clothes for charity and Larry decided to include the shirts in the benefit auction. The men’s fashion trends of the 1970s included glam rock and disco styles, with Elvis always being at the forefront as this groovy shirt exemplifies.
A very popular item among the bidders, this shirt topped out $5,500.
Brown-and-White Diamond Pattern Button-Down Shirt Gifted to Stamps Member Larry Strickland During 1976 Jungle Room Recording Sessions:
What a thrill it must have been that night in the Jungle Room when Larry Strickland was told by Charlie that Elvis was redoing his entire wardrobe and wanted the guys to come upstairs and pick what they wanted. One by one, each went upstairs and Larry specifically recalls the “pretty surreal” experience of standing in Elvis’ bedroom closet with him having Elvis hold his own clothes up to Larry as if to see if they were a good fit. Larry went home with a jumpsuit made for daily wear rather than stage use, and the offered shirt (as well as the shirt offered in the previous lot). Elvis was known to favor this style of shirt in the ’70s and would have several of the same style in varying patterned fabrics custom made. It features the high Napoleonic collar he also favored in his stage jumpsuits and the elastic bicep band that cinched to create a flounced effect to the sleeve.
Larry left Graceland that night knowing he would never actually wear the shirts, but rather saved them in storage for years. When Larry’s wife, Naomi Judd, decided to sell some of her stage clothes for charity, the shirts were included in that benefit auction and now, after years of careful custodianship, the opportunity to own the shirt off Elvis’ back can be yours. Although this stylish brown-and-white diamond patterned shirt with button-down front and cuffs and high collar has no label, it would have been custom-made by I.C. Costume Company, Hollywood, California
This shirt had fewer bids than the previous one, and it sold for $500 less.
Lisa Marie Presley’s Sparkling 10+ Carat Diamond Bulgari Engagement Ring from Nicolas Cage:
The fabled ring that made headlines around the globe could be yours! Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley and actress/author/producer Priscilla Presley, has lived her life in fame and remained in the limelight—and in the hearts of fans—for decades. She has also followed in her famous father’s footsteps with her own musical career.
This was a romance from which fairytales are made: charming, good looking actor is thunderstruck by beautiful singer and falls quickly head-over-heels in love… a true story of love at first sight. Actor Nicolas Cage was bewitched by Lisa Marie Presley and proposed marriage one summer, with the engagement lasting a mere 10 days before vows were exchanged. It was a whirlwind romance that started when the two met at a party, but this fairytale was short-lived and their marriage lasted just over 100 days, with the two realizing that their similarly strong personalities could not be tamed, and the pair were better off simply as friends.
During their swift engagement, Nick took Lisa for a cruise on his yacht, named after his son Weston, in order to swoon his soon-to-be bride. The couple encountered some onboard storms, and in the rough waves of emotion, Lisa Marie’s engagement ring found its way overboard. Nick quickly called in a cavalry of divers to retrieve the precious stone, but their efforts were in vain and the ring remains among one of the great treasures lost at sea.
Many have ruminated over the years on the details of the events surrounding the ring’s trajectory overboard, and much press has surrounded this incident. However, with the only witnesses keeping the details secret, the particulars of this mishap will remain a mystery, and like any good tale, will continue provoking speculation for years to come.
But the story does not end there. With the wedding just days away, Nick promptly replaced the engagement ring with an even brighter and more sparkling diamond to symbolize the brilliance of his love and devotion. It was this very ring that adorned the finger of his stunning bride on their wedding day in Hawaii on August 10, 2002, and is currently being offered herewith.
It is said that a “diamond is forever,” and a valuable diamond ring is a treasure for any woman. This magnificent example is legendary in its own right, with a story that will always be emblazoned in entertainment and Hollywood history. A true piece of history with a provenance, outshined perhaps only by the Hope diamond, the tale of this engagement ring from Nicolas Cage gifted to Lisa Marie Presley will certainly last as long as the prized diamond itself—forever.
This 10.44 carat, natural, fancy light yellow, cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant diamond grades SI1, measures 14.16 x 11.47 x 6.98 mm and is cradled in a 14-karat yellow gold Bulgari setting with two triangular-shaped shoulder stones with a total weight of approximately 2.90 carats and each measuring approximately 8.9 mm. The stunning ring measures size 6 1/4, weights a total of 8.6 grams and is stamped “Bulgari” inside the band. This magnificent engagement ring is accompanied by a copy of a GIA certificate numbered 2171509216 and a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation.
This Auction at Graceland included four pieces of Lisa’s jewelry, but this ring was the big one. It went for $100,000. If anyone knows what a ring of this size and quality without the Lisa Marie connection would sell for, please put that info in comments.
There is just a little months until the Elvis Birthday Celebration in Memphis. Don’t be surprised if the Auction at Graceland comes up with another 140+ items to bid on.
© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets # 20
I can’t believe it’s been three years since I last posted Elvis Mini-Nuggets. These are always kind of fun. Someday when I retire from ElvisBlog, I might get a Facebook page and do nothing but Elvis Mini-Nuggets. Maybe a new picture every day with comments. I’ve got like a million of them in my files. Anyway, here’s an extra-long mini-nugget post to make up for not having one last weekend.
Expressions of Sympathy and Encouragement for My Wife:
After posting a short message about my wife’s lung surgery, twenty-two kind comments came in from ElvisBlog readers. In addition to the one above from Maggie in Sweden, there were also messages from France, England and Canada. My wife and I appreciate all the concern and encouragement from you readers. She is doing okay in a long, slow recovery.
International Readers of ElvisBlog:
Speaking of ElvisBlog readers from different countries, here is the Top Ten. It still freaks me out to realize that only 57% of you readers are from the U.S. If you compare the relative populations of some of these other countries versus the U.S., ElvisBlog is doing really good there.
If you study this picture, you will probably recognize George Jones in the photo top right. This is the room in his Franklin, Tennessee home where he got his haircuts. Look closely at the framed photo to the right of the window. It is Elvis getting his Army haircut. Here’s a bigger view of it.
Alert ElvisBlog reader Chris Iroler spotted the Elvis Army haircut picture while watching a uTube video on Jones’ house: (Click here to see). Chris told me about it in a blog Comment, and he advised to go to 5:56 on the video if I didn’t want to read the whole thing. When George Jones died five years ago, I did a post about the connection between him and Elvis. Click here to read it.
More Info on Elvis Birthday Cake Photos:
Two weeks ago, I posted six photos of Elvis eating cake. Alert ElvisBlog readers commented with more information on several of them. Like the one above where Diana from Long Island wrote:
“I enjoyed the birthday scrapbook! Re: the one with Dolores Hart- I too always thought it was a birthday cake but recently learned from an authority that it was a movie wrap party after King Creole to say goodbye to Elvis before the army, and the cake had a guitar and soldier peeling potatoes and said We Love Elvis on it.”
Sharys Wheeler wrote:
“The picture at the Sahara was of Elvis and Milton Prell, owner of the Sahara and a friend of the Colonel.”
Sandy Van Horn wrote:
“About the picture of Elvis giving Priscilla a bite of birthday cake. If the year was 1960, and it was a birthday cake, think it had to be Elvis’ Jan. 8th birthday as he left active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on March 5, 1960. Believe Priscilla’s birthday is May 24th.”
So, How Did the Elvis Auction Go?
You might remember that we looked at a dozen Elvis items that failed to sell in a 1999 auction and seemingly got stuck in storage until the January 6, 2018 Auction at Graceland. I compared the expected prices then and now, and made comments on several of the items. Here’s a look at how things went.
16mm Film and Acetates of Movie Songs from Love Me Tender:
1999 estimate was $5,000-7,000; current was $1,500-2,500. It sold for $5,000. I wonder why it didn’t go the first time.
Original Screen Door from Graceland:
The 2018 estimate was $1,500 – $2,500, and I said, “Sorry, if I had that kind of money to spend on Elvis collectibles, I’d get something besides a screen door.” But my friend Troy Yeary from the eclectic blog pastimescapes.com had this comment:
“Interesting piece, Phil. Thanks! I don’t know, if I had money to blow, I would seriously consider buying something like a screen door from Graceland. Just think how many times Elvis walked through or slammed that door? He probably interacted with it more than just about any other item in the auction.
Well, lots of folks must have agreed with Troy. Elvis’ screen door had 18 bids and sold for $2,500. Good call, Troy.”
Elvis’ Massive Wooden Desk from His Home Office in Palm Springs:
1999 estimate was $40-50,000, no bidders. 2018 estimate was $10-20,000, and I said I thought they would get it. Well, not really, just $7,500.
Elvis’ Portable Sauna:
1999 estimate was $8-10,000. 2018 estimate was $3-5000. I said I thought it was weird. Bidders agreed, nobody would spring for the minimum bid of $1,500.
Elvis’ Globe-Shaped Wooden Bar from His Beverly Hills Home:
1999 estimate was $4-5,000. 2018 estimate was $1,500 to $2,500. I predicted it would sell for a good bit more than that. Good call, Phil. It had 38 bids and went for $22,500. Wow.
Elvis’ Leather Rocking Chair from the Jungle Room:
999 estimate was $20-30,000. 2018 estimate was $10-15,000. I said I didn’t think it would sell. Bad call, Phil. It went for $17,500.
Original Acetate of Elvis Singing Beatles Songs “Hey Jude” and “Something”:
1999 estimate was $650-750. 2018 estimate was $1-2,000. I predicted it would sell for that much or more. Another good call as it had 34 bids and went for $4,000.
Signed Title to Elvis’ Circle G Ranch:
1999 estimate was $13-15,000. 2018 estimate was $10-20,000. I didn’t make a prediction, but hoped it would go high. It didn’t excite folks drawing just 2 bids and a final price of $6,250.
So, I blew it on the screen door, the desk, and the Jungle Room rocking chair. I had it right on the desk, the sauna, the globe-shaped bar, and the acetate of Beatles songs. I’ll take that.
Sincere Thanks for Your Support:
This was the third year I’ve done pre-Christmas promotion of my book BIG E and the SANTA MAN. It was the best year yet, and I really thank you.
My one disappointment was that I didn’t get Part 2 ready to promote until late November. Next fall I will push it hard, just like the original. As a preview, here is a review by Memphis Music on Amazon:
“I enjoyed this book as it can be read by itself, or as the continuation of the first book. As a lifetime dog lover, I also enjoyed the addition of a good ole hound dog! Kids and adults will enjoy this tale of two beloved icons; Elvis and Santa and their group of special friends. Phil Arnold’s descriptive writing make you feel a part of this adventure where good versus evil comes alive again to save Christmas. At this great price go ahead and get the first book too!
The review gave the book five stars. Every review on both books has been five stars. I’ll be reminding of you about that again later in the year.
© 2018 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
Posted in AUCTIONS / MEMORABILIA, BIG E and the SANTA MAN, ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS, Main Page
Tagged Big E and the Santa Man, Elvis and George Jones, Elvis Army Haircut, Elvis auctions, Elvis collectibles, Elvis Eating Cake