The Auction At Graceland Hits High Note With Strong Results From Bidders Worldwide

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The Auction At Graceland Hits High Note With Strong Results From Bidders Worldwide

During the Elvis Presley 80th Birthday celebration at Graceland, collectors from around the world raised their paddles to bid in hopes of going home with a piece of Elvis history at the Auction at Graceland, which took place at the Graceland Archives Studio.

Among the artifacts in the auction were rare and unique artifacts from the collection of Letetia “Tish” Henley-Kirk, personal nurse to Elvis; the Estate of Barbara Klein Bauer, former wife of Elvis’ close friend George Klein; and from various private collections, including the family of Ed Leek, who offered Elvis’ first-ever recording, a 78 mm acetate of the song “My Happiness,” which topped the charts by bringing $300,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $75,000 - $100,000.  

All of the items in the auction were from third-party collectors and none of the items included in the auction came from the treasured Graceland Archives.

The acetate is considered the holy grail of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Recorded by Elvis Presley at Memphis Recording Service (home of Sun Records) in June of 1953, Elvis paid $4 USD for what was said to be a gift for his mother, featuring the songs “My Happiness” (Side A), which is the only Elvis recording that exists of this song and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” (Side B).  The Presley family didn’t have a record player, so Elvis took the acetate to the home of friend Ed Leek, where he listened to the results of his first studio recording session. Elvis left the acetate behind at the Leek home and never gave it to his mother. This historical 78 acetate was the beginning of a revolution in the music industry and the start of an iconic legend.  In private hands since it was created, Elvis’ first recording documents the start of a musical sensation and was offered this evening for the first time since Elvis walked into that studio over 60 years ago.

Lorisa Hilburn, the niece of the late Ed Leek, stated, “It was surreal—it was so much fun. We’re just so excited—this is such a blessing. We plan to put the money towards the college education of several family members. After 60 years in a vault, I really hope the winning bidder gets a chance to enjoy the acetate and share it with the public."

Riding the momentum created by the successful inaugural auction in August of 2014, various pieces of jewelry, movie memorabilia and personal items were among the 67 lots in the auction curated and authenticated by Graceland Authenticated.

Other top items included Elvis Presley’s First Sun Record, signed by Elvis, which sold for $32,500 against an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. Elvis’ friend Ed Leek was with Elvis to witness the initial production of Elvis’ first Sun Studio record, a 78 RPM record of “That’s all Right” and grabbed one of the records, which Elvis signed to Ed, writing “To a good pal, Elvis Presley” on the label.

A treble clef gold and diamond ring gifted to Sammy Davis, Jr. sold for $32,500, against an estimate of $20,000 to $25,000.

An RCA Award to Colonel Parker for “In The Ghetto,” sold for $16,250, against an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.

An Elvis Presley gold concert-used scarf and ticket stub was secured for a bid of $10,625, against an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000.

A special Shelby county deputy sheriff badge, purchased by Elvis for his entourage in the 1960s, went for $8,750, against an estimate of $2,500 to $3,500.

A 16MM reel of Elvis Presley in concert in Chicago in 1957, black & white footage 5 minutes, 15 seconds in length, went for $11,875 against an estimate of $1,500 to $2,000.

For a complete list of all items and final sale prices visit the Auction's website.

All of the prices realized include a 25% buyer's premium. The next Elvis Auction at Graceland will take place in August 2015 during Elvis Week and is accepting consignments now at [email protected]

Top 5 Lots were:

1) Lot 32, Elvis Presley’s First Recording Acetate, 1953, $300,000

2) Lot 37, Elvis Presley’s First Sun Record, signed, $32,500

3) Lot 57, Treble Clef Gold and Diamond Ring Gifted to Sammy Davis, Jr., $32,500

4) Lot 27, 1914 Indian Head Gold 2½-Dollar Coin and Diamond Ring Gifted to Tom Hulett, $18,750

5) Lot 35, RCA Award to Colonel Parker for “In The Ghetto,” 1969, $16,250

Watch the auction below:

Posted by Elvis Presley's Graceland at 2:01 PM
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