There is a large market for selling Elvis Presley memorabilia, even though he hasn’t been around for more than 53 years. Following the recent release of Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 biopic musical film based on Elvis’s unprecedented superstar, demand for memorabilia has skyrocketed.
According to the auction aggregator; Barnebys, which tracks the sale of art, antiques and collectibles from 1,600 auction houses around the world, anything even remotely linked to Elvis continues to command a premium. They say there is no sign that his followers are easing their desire to own Elvis memorabilia.
A substantial and dedicated worldwide market continues to thrive for Elvis Presley memorabilia, both ‘real’ – clothing and souvenirs from his concerts, films, etc. – and ‘manufactured’, i.e. items made and sold since his death in 1977.
Even so, it’s been difficult to get really good documentation of Elvis, said Sarah Hodgson, head of Celebrity Entertainment at Christie’s. “The items that he owns or wears on stage are almost never present now.
“A few years ago, the Presley estate sold Las Vegas suits, credit cards, sunglasses, etc., but that was only one time. A really famous theatrical suit sold for $105,000 (£57,000).
“If it’s something that’s been photographed a lot and is very recognizable, it can be valuable. We sold a shirt he wore in the 1970s for £19,500, but then it became a hit.”
Todd Slaughter of Elvis Fan Club in the UK (founded in 1956) agree that it is very difficult to achieve a true Elvis effect now. “Most of them were stolen from his Graceland house after he died.”
Ms Hodgson said Christie’s sometimes displayed ‘genuine’ items with the word ‘authentic’, but auctioneers always looked at these with skepticism. “Anyone can write a letter,” she said, “so we won’t take those unless they are easily recognizable from photographs or in some other way.”
Barnaby’s auction aggregator says that Graceland Auctions is a place to sell really big Elvis items. Recently, for example, his 1973 Las Vegas stage costume was sold there for $83,750.00. However, you need money and a steadfast love of Elvis (or contacts you know you can resell for a profit) to buy it!
Many people were taken out. The famous comedian Frank Skinner went to the US to buy an expensive shirt that once belonged to Elvis, only to discover it was a fake.
Christie’s doesn’t mind what it calls ‘moths’, such as posters or shows from concerts, unless they’re signed by the King himself, in which case they can be worth from 700 to 900 pounds.
However, these types of products are highly sought after by collectors, especially if they date back to the early days of Elvis, and can be found on eBay or at collector’s markets. “My advice would be to look at eBay, but don’t buy there,” Mr. Slaughter said.
According to Mr. Slaughter, anyone looking to buy Elvis memorabilia should be selective. “Fans love the movies, pictures, and things related to Elvis’ life. They weren’t too concerned with other people’s interpretations of him. Some records may be valuable, especially old shellac 78s, but not vinyl. Vinyl records are not collectible because millions have been sold.
“You can get value out of one of those early HMV albums but only if it’s in mint condition with no wrinkles or tears or price tags on the sleeves. If you have a 1956 Beanie hat with Elvis’ face, it could be worth up to $300. A set of mint bubblegum cards would also be of value. “
Former cameraman Bernie Roughton has so many Elvis memorabilia that it is now housed in his own special extension in his home. “I buy most of my stuff during Elvis Week in Memphis,” he says. “It’s a ‘fan festival’ and all the big hotels have items for sale.
“Sometimes fans will open their hotel room doors and you can go in and see what they sell. It’s just heaven because there’s so much that’s not available in the UK. “
Many businesses around the world produce ‘Elvis’ items and most are worthless, although a few have been sought after in recent years.
Mr Slaughter said: “An Elvis doll bought 10 years ago would be worth much more if it was in good condition. “Or a commemorative statue bought in 1990, for example, £20 could be worth around £60 now.”
Mr Roughton said: “I have a pair of Elvis sandals that I bought in 1978. “If they are in perfect condition and I don’t wear them, they can be worth between £40 and £50.”
Mr Slaughter and other fans looked at the many objects made by Elvis Presley Enterprises in Memphis, especially more utilitarian ones like a sausage emblazoned with Elvis’ face. “Well, do you want your face on something like that? I think he’s going to hate a lot of things that come out under his name. “
It is difficult to know whether the King will continue to reign in the hearts of the younger generations. However, the recent biopic about his life could bring a new generation into his fandom. The man who defined rock ‘n’ roll culture in the 1950s still inspires an almost religious reverence around the globe. This is even though it has been 45 years since his death.
Maybe his cult status will increase and the value of his memorabilia with it. But it can also disappear.
Ms Hodgson said: “I’m always surprised that Presley doesn’t buy more at auction. “The Beatles have always been at the top of the market but I think Presley should be looking for more because he’s an icon.
“Perhaps that’s because the majority of Elvis collectors don’t have enough money like the Beatles collectors.”
Crazy fans will always buy Elvis products. If you are hoping to make some money from them later, make sure you buy the items in the best condition you can afford, that you are sure of their authenticity and that you keep them. pristine.
As with most collectibles, rarity and condition matter most.
Elvis memorabilia can range from £5 for a new Elvis doll to $300,000 or more for a truly rare Vegas suit.
- Elvis.com – the official website of Elvis Presley Enterprises in the US, including collectors’ club.
- Elvisnews.com – many useful information related to Elvis.
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