Elvis Presley Memorabilia: The World's Most Valuable Items

justCollecting

justCollecting

2017-08-09 12:15:04

They don't call him 'The King' for nothing.

To this day Elvis Presley has some of the world's most devoted fans - and those fans apparently have some of the deepest wallets.

From jumpsuits and jewelry to his earliest recording - here are the most valuable pieces of Elvis Presley memorabilia ever sold at auction.

We've also compiled a separate list of Elvis' most valuable cars, because those sweet rides certainly deserve an article of their own.

Original birth record - $87,500

(Image: Graceland Auctions)

(Image: Graceland Auctions)

Here's the original copy of Elvis' birth record, hand-written by the attending physician just moments after he was born.

The record is regarded as the closest thing to Elvis' birth certificate, as that official document is believed to have been lost decades ago.

The record shows that Elvis was born at 4:35 A.M in his parent's home in Tupelo, Mississippi, half an hour after his twin brother was sadly stillborn.

The birth was attended by Dr. Robert Hunt, who delivered more than 1,800 babies during his career and recorded all the details in a series of notebooks. 

The record of Elvis' birth was discovered years later by Hunt's daughter, whilst reviewing her father's archive of paperwork, and the notebook was sold to renowned collector and museum owner Jimmy Velvet.

It was then acquired by actor and musician John Corbett, famous for his roles in Northern Exposure and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, before selling at Graceland Auctions in May 2016 for $87,500.

Red sweatshirt - $93,750

(Image: Julien

(Image: Julien's Auctions)

This red velour sweatshirt was originally part of Elvis' wardrobe for his 1965 movie Girl Happy, and retains the original MGM studio label with his name on it.

Elvis was photographed wearing the sweatshirt on the cover of 'You'll Be Gone', which was released as a single from the Girl Happy soundtrack.

'You'll Be Gone' is one of just a handful of songs co-written by Elvis himself, alongside friends Red West and Charlie Hodge.

According to legend, when Presley first played the song for his wife Priscilla, she told him she preferred his earlier rock and roll recordings, and he was devastated.

Priscilla confirmed that 'You'll Be Gone' marked the last time Elvis ever tried to write a song himself.

He later gave the red sweatshirt to Memphis Mafia member Richard Davis, and in December 2010 it sold at Julien's Auctions for $93,750.

Diamond ring - $107,500

(Image: Affiliated Auctions)

(Image: Affiliated Auctions)

In July 1975, during a concert in Ashville, North Carolina, Elvis threw his guitar into the audience.

It was caught by two fans, and after a moment one of them – Lloyd Perry – graciously allowed the other fan to keep it.

Presley noticed this, and a few songs later, invited Mr Perry onto the stage where he gifted him a 10 carat diamond ring from his finger saying “Aw, what’s $16,000?”

In December 2009 Perry sold the ring through Affiliated Auctions for a price of $107,500.

Record collection - $108,000

In 1968, guitarist Scotty Moore received a call from Elvis, who wanted his old friend to help transfer his collection of 78 RMP records to tape.

Amongst the collection were songs that inspired Elvis during his early career, many of which he recorded with Moore and Bill Black at Sun Studios, including 'Blueberry Hill', 'I Got A Woman', 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy', 'Your Cheatin’ Heart', 'Let’s Play House' and 'Hound Dog'.

The collection also included classic songs by the likes of Joe Turner, Fats Domino, Carl Perkins, Buddy Blake, The Dominoes and The Crickets.

The pair met up in Nashville, and Elvis handed over a briefcase containing 26 carefully wrapped records, which Moore took back to his studio and recorded onto a reel-to-reel tape.

He sent the tape to Graceland, but the original records remained stashed away in the briefcase, and Elvis never asked for them back. They remained in Moore's possession for more than 40 years, before being offered at auction in 2010.

"These records were some of Elvis’ first and all time favourite records," said Moore. "They influenced Elvis as a musician and vocalist for sure. They were to be part of the recorded music Bill and I created with Elvis back in the 1950's. They have Elvis’ DNA all over them!"

Together, the collection sold at The Fame Bureau for $108,000.

First piano - $112,500

(Image: Julien

(Image: Julien's Auctions)

In 1955, having become a regional star with a string of hits under his belt, Elvis decided to buy himself a piano.

He headed over to the O.K. Houck Piano Company Inc. in Memphis, and purchased this Stroud upright piano, laying down a $50 deposit with the rest on layaway for 11 months (because he wasn't rich just yet).

Elvis kept the piano for many years, initially at his parents' house, then his first home in Audubon Street, and finally at Graceland.

When he bought a new piano for his music room in the 1960s, he moved his old upright into the room of Memphis Mafia member Joe Esposito.

Years later he gave the piano as a gift to his personal cook Christine Strickland, and she in turn loaned it to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame Museum after his death in 1977.

The piano, complete with its original stool where Elvis had sat half a century before, sold at Julien's Auctions in May 2017 for $112,500.

Guitar ring - $112,500

(Image: Graceland Auctions)

(Image: Graceland Auctions)

This 14k gold and diamond guitar ring was specially-made for Elvis at the Thunderbird jewelers in Las Vegas, and he later gifted it to his close friend Charlie Hodge.

The pair had met during their military service in Germany, and Hodge often sang harmonies on-stage with Elvis, along with helping him choose songs to record.

"Elvis had worn the ring until he tired of it as he often did with anything...one day he jokingly said that he was going to give it to me maybe it would help me play the guitar better! We both laughed so long and so hard until it hurt."

The ring remained in Hodge's personal collection for decades, and sold at Graceland Auctions in August 2017 for $12,500.

Penguin suit - $121,875

(Image: Julien

(Image: Julien's Auctions)

This black and white suit, featuring Native American style beading and embroidery at the jacket cuff, was designed for Elvis by the IC Costume Company.

Elvis wore the outfit, commonly referred to as the 'Penguin Suit', on stage in Las Vegas in August 1975 during his disastrous run at the Hilton.

Having visibly struggled with five live performances in three days, the final 11 days of the engagement were cancelled and he returned to Memphis.

Presley later gifted the suit to his friend, private investigator John O'Grady, and in 2015 it sold at Julien's Auctions for $121,875.

TCB necklace - $121,875

(Image: Julien

(Image: Julien's Auctions)

During the later years of his life, Elvis’ favourite motto was ‘Taking Care of Business’, inspired by the Bachman Turner Overdrive song of the same name.

The phrase, abbreviated to ‘TCB’, became the name of his backing band and appeared on the tail of his private jet.

Elvis also gave away diamond and gold chain necklaces featuring the letters and a lightning bolt as gifts.

The necklace given to his personal physician ‘Dr Nick’ sold at Julien’s in June 2009 for $121,875.

Concert footage - $137,500

(Image: Graceland Auctions)

(Image: Graceland Auctions)

This video footage of Elvis performing on stage was shot by director Robert Abel, who directed the 1972 feature documentary Elvis on Tour.

On April 5, 1972, four days before he set off with Elvis across the U.S, Abel recorded his performance at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, NY.

It's believed this was a trial run by Abel to finalize camera positions and lighting directions, before filming officially began.

Shot on black-and-white video, the footage captures Elvis at the peak of his powers, performing classics including Suspicious Minds, Blue Suede Shoes, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Love Me Tender, and Can’t Help Falling In Love.

Throughout his entire career, just a handful of Presley's live shows were ever professionally filmed, making this concert footage highly rare in itself.

Abel's original recordings, along with the copyrights to the footage, were sold at Graceland Auctions in January 2016 for $137,500.

Ram's head necklace - $138,750

(Images: Graceland Auctions)

(Images: Graceland Auctions)

This 14k gold ram's head necklace, inset with 21 brilliant cut diamonds and two large emeralds, was one of the largest pieces of jewelry Elvis wore throughout the 1970s.

Having been photographed wearing the necklace many times, Elvis gave it as a gift to his fiancée, Ginger Alder in 1977, with the simple instruction: "Always wear it with something black."

The necklace sold at Graceland Auctions in August 2017 for $138,750.

Martin acoustic guitar - $152,312

(Image: Christie

(Image: Christie's)

Elvis bought this 1942 Martin D 18 acoustic guitar in 1954, after ditching his original child-sized guitar, as he began to record for Sun records and perform with Scotty Moore and Bill Black.

He used the guitar in the legendary early Sun sessions, and on stage as the trio toured the Southern states, during a period in which Elvis grew from a local talent to the verge of national stardom.

After being traded in for a new model in 1956, the guitar was purchased by a friend of Moore in Memphis and came to auction three decades later at Christie’s in 1993 – where it sold for $152,312.

Nail mirror jumpsuit - $175,000

(Image: Regency Superior)

(Image: Regency Superior)

In March 1974 Elvis gave his biggest ever live performance, to 88,000 fans at the Houston Astrodome.

During the concert he wore this ‘Nail Mirror’ jumpsuit, named for the 1500 brass and mirror disks sewn onto it by Bill Belew, which years later ended up in the collection of the celebrated Elvis impersonator Jim 'E' Curtin III.

This jumpsuit was personally given to Curtin by Elvis, backstage in his dressing room after his performance at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel on March 31, 1975, and is the only jumpsuit that Elvis ever gave to any fan.

It sold at a dedicated Regency Superior auction of Presley memorabilia in January 2006, for $175,000.

Gretsch ‘1969 comeback’ guitar - $187,500

(Image: Julien

(Image: Julien's Auctions)

This 1965 Gretsch Country Gentleman Guitar was used by Elvis during his return to the stage in 1969, after years of starring in Hollywood movies.

His comeback performances took place at the Las Vegas International hotel (later renamed The Hilton), and were acclaimed by fans and critics alike.

The audience was packed with celebrities, including Cary Grant, Fats Domino and Sammy Davis Jr., and Rolling Stone magazine later described his performance as "supernatural".

During the 1970s Presley gave the guitar to Norman Taurog, the veteran director of nine of his feature films, and in February 2008 it sold at Julien’s for $187,500.

Concho jumpsuit - $200,000

(Image: Julien

(Image: Julien's Auctions)

This white Bill Belew jumpsuit was worn by Elvis during Las Vegas performances filmed for the 1970 documentary ‘Elvis: That’s The Way It Is’.

Known as either the ‘Way It Is’ jumpsuit or the ‘Concho’ jumpsuit (due to the silver concho rings adorning the suit), it was also worn onstage by Elvis in a Lake Tahoe performance where he wore a gorilla mask.

The second letter is from Shelia Ryan Caan, the former girlfriend of Elvis to whom he gifted the jumpsuit.

The jumpsuit was sold at Julien’s in May 2014 for $200,000

Diamond Horseshoe Ring - $204,800

(Image: Julien

(Image: Julien's Auctions)

This stunning diamond horseshoe ring was designed by jeweller Lowell Hayes, specifically for Elvis to wear on stage during his televised Aloha from Hawaii performance in 1973.

Elvis wore the ring for the next two years, before presenting it as a gift to his personal Las Vegas physician Dr. Elias Ghanem.

Ghanem was renowned for treating celebrities whilst they performed in Las Vegas, and became Presley's 'go to' guy after initially treating him for a sore throat.

The ring was just one of many elaborate gifts Elvis gave to Ghanem throughout their friendship, which also included watches and even cars.

Having remained with Ghanem's family for more than 40 years, the ring sold at Julien's Auctions in May 2017 for $204,800.

Blue Armadillo jumpsuit - $250,000

(Images: Graceland Auctions)

(Images: Graceland Auctions)

This Bill Belew-designed outfit, consisting of a sleeveless jumpsuit and a matching jacket,  is known as the 'Blue Armadillo' suit, due to its pattern resembling the scales of an Armadilo.

Elvis wore the suit in the Spring of 1975, and was photographed wearing it on stage several times during performances in Las Vegas, Nevada; Macon, Georgia; Lakeland, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Monroe, Louisiana; and Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Back in 1999 the suit was sold during the famous Graceland Archives Auction, and spent almost two decades before hitting the auction block once again at Graceland – where it sold in August 2017 for $250,000.

Peacock jumpsuit - $300,000

(Image: Gotta Have Rock and Roll)

(Image: Gotta Have Rock and Roll)

Elvis paid Bill Belew $10,000 to create this lavish jumpsuit, and it was said to be amongst his favourite stage costumes.

Bearing a wrap-around gold and blue peacock design (which Presley considered lucky), Elvis first wore the suit on stage in Los Angeles at The Forum in May 1974.

It later appeared on the cover of his 1975 album ‘Promised Land’, and in 2008 sold through auctioneers Gotta Have Rock and Roll for $300,000 – setting a then-record auction price for Elvis music memorabilia.

The suit later sold again at Sotheby's in June 2014 for $245,000.

Original 'My Happiness' acetate - $300,000

(Image: Graceland Auctions)

(Image: Graceland Auctions)

In August 1953 Elvis walked into Sun Studios in Memphis and paid $4 to record two songs, My Happiness and That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.

When asked by the studio receptionist who he sounded like, he famously replied "I don't sound like nobody".

He then had the tracks pressed on to an acetate, either as a gift for his mother or as a way of hearing what he sounded like on record, and left the disc at his friend Ed Leekie's house.

It remained in the family's collection for decades, before hitting the auction block at Graceland in January 2015, where it was bought by musician Jack White for $300,000 – making it the world's most expensive record ever sold.

Aqua Blue Vine Jumpsuit - $325,000

(Image: Graceland Auctions)

(Image: Graceland Auctions)

This elaborately decorated stage outfit, designed by Bill Belew in 1973, is known as the 'Aqua Blue Vine' jumpsuit.

The suit featured a multitude of jewels and studs, hand-sewn by Gene Doucette, along with a high-pointed Napoleon collar and a matching cape which attached to the shoulders with Velcro patches. 

Elvis wore the suit numerous times throughout August and September 1973, during performances in Las Vegas, and then again during his U.S tour in March 1974.

He later gave the suit as a gift to the family of girlfriend Ginger Alden, and it remains one of the few stage-worn suits in private hands.

Having previously sold on eBay for an impressive $200,000 back in 2006, the suit hit the open market again in 2016, this time at Graceland Auctions, where it sold for a record-breaking $325,000 – the highest price ever paid for an Elvis jumpsuit.

Black Gibson Dove guitar - $334,000

(Image: Julien

(Image: Julien's Auctions)

Elvis originally received this guitar as a gift from his father Vernon, who had it custom-made to celebrate his son achieving a black belt in karate.

The 1969 Gibson Dove acoustic guitar was finished in black lacquer, with Elvis' name inlaid on the fingerboard in mother-of-pearl, and included a Kenpo Karate decal on the body of the guitar.

Elvis was presented with the new guitar in 1971, and used it on stage extensively over the next four years – most famously in January 1973, during the Aloha From Hawaii concert, which was seen by an estimated 1 billion TV viewers around the world.

Then in July 1975, during the final show of a three-night run in Asheville, North Carolina, Elvis gave his guitar to a fan in the front row.

He motioned for 21-year-old Mike Harris to approach the stage, and presented his with the guitar, telling him "You keep the guitar. I gave it to you for a reason. Someday it will help you out."

Harris kept the treasured instrument in his collection for more than 40 years, before consigning it to auction at Julien's in May 2016, where it sold for $334,000.

Gold Graceland piano - $600,000

(Image: Julien

(Image: Julien's Auctions)

In 1955 Elvis bought this grand piano as a gift for his mother, but quickly discovered it wouldn't fit through the doors of his parents' apartment and installed it in his own house instead.

A year later it took pride of place in the music room of his new home at Graceland, but he placed it into storage in 1958 after the tragic death of his mother.

In 1968 Presley's wife Priscilla removed it from storage, had it coated in 24k gold leaf, and returned it as a gift to her husband on their first wedding anniversary.

It became a fixture at Graceland for many years, and was later exhibited at the Country Music Museum in Nashville.

In November 2015 the piano sold at Julien's for $600,000 – an auction record for a piece of Elvis memorabilia.

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justCollecting

Rock Island Auction

2017-08-18 12:47:26

Or his revolvers. I head those sold well, too. :)




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