As a hardcore racquetball player, and lover of music memorabilia, I was interested in the item that recently sold at an Elvis Presley auction. It was a red, white, and blue shirt Elvis wore when he played racquetball. Many don’t realize he was a huge racquetball fan, and even had courts installed in Graceland (they now serve as the “trophy room”). There was even a time he thought about opening a chain of racquetball courts. He had business cards printed up and everything.
I do think it was a little expensive at $32,500, although you’re getting his sweat stains, too. You can’t put a price on that for the hardcore Elvis fan.
The auction was done at Graceland, on the week commemorating his death. They didn’t own the items, but went through them to verify authenticity. Initially, there were 174 items, but 14 were pulled. One of those was a jumpsuit that Presley supposedly wore in 1973 in Las Vegas, and another was a guitar signed by the King of Rock ‘n Roll…along with Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins. If that turns out to be real, we’re going to see that sell for $500,000 I’m guessing. Elvis signed guitars are rare, and with those other music legends on it…wow!
Anyway, if sports jerseys aren’t your thing, but you’re more of a classy, jewelry wearing collector – the diamond and gold pendant Elvis gave Sammy Davis Jr. would’ve been a great item to win. That went for $32,000, which makes you wonder why the racquetball fan didn’t scoop that up.
No word on if Ted Nugent bought the personal handguns Presley owned. One of them went for just under $100,000.
An owl-shaped ring with a 14-karat yellow gold owl went for $32,500. He gave that to a fan after a concert in 1973. Can you imagine that? You’re a fan that approaches Presley for an autograph, and you come away with a gold ring, too!
Somebody that worked with Presley auctioned the pinky ring Presley gave him. It had 15 diamonds, and went for $27,500.
When it comes to clothing, I own a piece of a shirt Elvis wore in “Fun in Acapulco” (I’d like the ukulele he used). At this auction, there was a suit he wore in the 1962 movie “It Happened at the World’s Fair.” It went for $25,000.
For all of us autograph collectors, there was a Presley shirt that he autographed and gave as a price in a Boy Scout raffle in the early ‘70s. That went for $16,250.
There was also a collection of his first five singles from Sun Records that went for $3,375.
Now, in other music memorabilia news taking place in Nashville, this is a fun story.
Country music singer/songwriter Bill Anderson, who is 77, was recently reunited with his long-lost acoustic guitar. It was a vintage Billy Grammer guitar he used 50 years ago when he first started out in the business. It got loaned to a music museum that went out of business, and it went missing after that.
A customer ended up pawning the guitar a few months ago at a pawn shop in Phoenix. The shop owner is a country music historian, and he looked inside the guitar and saw the name “Bill Anderson” etched inside. He contacted the star, who flew the owner and his wife to Tennesse. Anderson invited the couple onstage at the Grand Ole Opry, where he got to be reunited with his old axe.
Anderson has released more than 40 albums and had seven #1 country singles. And now he has the guitar that he probably used to help compose some of those tunes.