Fans of the late, great Elvis Presley will have a unique chance to acquire a piece of The King, 35 years after his death – including an Elvis Presley 1954 Eagles Nest original hand-painted concert poster, Memphis TN (estimate: $30,000+), from the beginning of his career – when Heritage Auctions’ presents its second Ultimate Elvis Signature Auction on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.
“Elvis remains one of the most popular and durable figures in American Pop Culture,” said Margaret Barrett, Director of Entertainment & Music Memorabilia at Heritage Auctions. “This auction, our second event totally dedicated to Elvis, is a celebration of his amazing life and legacy. From autographs and signed documents, rare concert posters and photos, personally owned jewelry and clothing, recordings and a variety of memorabilia, fans of Elvis will all have an opportunity to bid on their favorite pieces.”
Elvis collectors and aficionados alike will have a chance to preview the 300+ Elvis artifacts on display at the famous Peabody Hotel on Sunday (3:00 PM – 9:00 PM), Monday (9:00 AM – 8:00 PM) and Tuesday (9 a.m. to 12 noon), Aug. 12-14, before the auction.
Early Elvis promotional material, in the form of concert posters and programs, has already been creating significant buzz amongst collectors with the top of this grouping coming in the form of the aforementioned Elvis Presley 1954 Eagles Nest original hand-painted concert poster, Memphis TN (estimate: $30,000+), rendered on a black poster board and hand-lettered in red and white gouache paint. It was made for Elvis’ Dec. 10, 1954 gig at the Eagles Nest, the nightclub located on Highway 78, outside of Memphis (though it was likely painted by a local artist). Elvis had been performing at this club since August of that year, with much success.
An Elvis Presley concert poster from Feb. 6, 1955 (estimate: $7,000+), is one of the most important and intriguing pieces of Elvis memorabilia to ever come to the auction block. Elvis had just released his third Sun single, “You’re A Heartbreaker”/”Milkcow Blues Boogie” and was causing a stir regionally, landing on the bill of this big Country concert.
“This is one of only a handful of pieces to ever surface from this concert and is one of the earliest known Elvis concert posters of all,” said Jim Steele, Consignment Director at Heritage, “but it’s not either of the performances Elvis gave that day that makes this a significant piece of Rock and Roll history. It’s what happened between the two shows that would change Elvis’ life and the music world forever: it was on this night, between these two shows, that Elvis was introduced to Colonel Tom Parker who would become the key figure in Elvis’ management team.”
One more important piece of promotional material, and one of the most interesting lots in the entire auction is an Elvis signed Big D Jamboree Program from Dallas’s now-defunct Sportatorium in 1955 (estimate: $5,000+), which took place just as Elvis was starting to become a national phenomenon. This is the only known copy of this program to surface.
“Elvis was just one of more than a dozen acts on the bill on Sept. 3, 1955,” said Steele. “Elvis, not yet 21, took the stage during three slots. At the time it was a highlight of Elvis’ young career – as it turned out, it was a historic event for the venerable Big D Jamboree, which would become a nationally broadcast radio program the following year.”
Presley’s stage worn gold coin and diamond ring (estimate: $35,000+), an 1853 two and a half dollar gold coin surrounded by tiny diamonds, can be seen on Elvis’ finger in the 1970 documentary film, Elvis: That’s the Way it Is andis complemented in the event by several other pieces of Elvis jewelry, including: Elvis’ personally owned and worn gold and citrine ring (estimate: $8,000+), given to his girlfriend, Linda Thompson, in the 1970s and kept by her until the mid-1980s; Elvis’ Rubellite Ring, 1970s (estimate: $8,000+), also given to Thompson; Elvis’ Turquoise and Silver Bracelet (estimate: $6,000+), consisting of four large pieces of turquoise mounted on a sterling silver bracelet and worn by him on several occasions before giving it to Dennis Roberts, the optician who designed many of the King’s distinctive eyeglasses and Elvis’ Tiger Eye Ring (estimate: $5,000+), owned and worn by Presley, and given to Claude Thompson, a choreographer who had worked on Elvis’ 1968 Comeback television special.
“We have many choice offerings of Elvis’ jewelry,” said Garry Shrum, Consignment Director at Heritage, “always among the most evocative and popular pieces of Elvis related memorabilia. The King loved jewelry almost as much as he loved giving it away to his friends, girlfriends and fans.”