By Cathy Bernardy
Elvis Presley clothing and jewelry pieces consigned by his last girlfriend, Ginger Alden, were the music-celebrity showpieces of Lelands’ June 2006 Americana auction ($4.5 million total auction of sports and Americana memorabilia).
Her Elvis-related pieces went for a combined $84,486.97, about half of which was the silver-and–colored flames leather jacket (at right), for a whopping $40,564.20 (reserve of $10,000). His hand-embroidered Native American shirt garnered $8,112.83 (reserve, $2,000); a red Kimono Caftan robe he bought in Hawaii, $3,127.85 (reserve $2,000); a fire opal and diamond ring, “Valued at $20,000 just as a piece of jewelry, let alone with its Kingly origin,” notes the auction catalog, $11,448.71 (reserve $5,000); a gold waist-chain he gave to Alden that says “my love, my life,” $6,693.08 ($1,500); a concert-worn scarf, $1,843.86 ($500); an ankle bracelet he gave her with his initials in hearts, $6,084.62 ($1,500); a his-and-her necklace set, $3,047.64 ($1,000); and his gold sweat pants with maroon stripe down the side, $1,843.86 ($500). Provenance (source of an item) clearly matters in prices that can be obtained for celebrity memorabilia.
A couple of Presley autographs from the June auction are worth noting: an army photograph signed to his commanding officer sold for $1,385.31 ($500) and an 8-by-10 inch headshot photograph signed on the front by Presley and on the reverse by Scotty Moore, Jimmy Rollins, and Harland Powell, $5,816.25 ($4,500).
Other valuable autographs belonged to The Beatles (of course), as items signed by all four members are always in high demand. In this Lelands auction, a 1962 Beatles photo, signed on the back by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best sold for $4,700 ($4,000); a caricature drawn of Carlos Alomar by Paul McCartney sold for $4,112.50 ($3,500); and a Fab Four–signed Beatles Monthly Book found its way into someone’s collection for $6,869.23 ($3,000), while a signed napkin went for $3,047.64 ($1,000).
Can’t afford a first-state Beatles Yesterday And Today Butcher Cover? Lelands recently sold two Butcher Cover slicks, one in the June Fredo (online) auction, for $593.95, which was “EX/NRMT — and classic Beatles mythology. Normally sells for about $1,000.” In its larger June auction, the company sold a similar one for almost that, coming in at $914.29.
The band was surrounded by one of the hugest marketing blitzes in music history, and original toys and such from the 1960s can bring significant prices. Lelands scored with these in June: Beatles lariat, tie tacks and tie clip advertising display card, $2,231.07; Yellow Submarine movie poster, $1,259.38; Yellow Submarine set of four figure banks, $1,676.23; a set of seven Beatles harmonicas in “error” boxes (Harrison’s signature under McCartney’s head and vice-versa), $755.61; record case, $567.23 and collection of pins, jewelry, and other memorabilia, $755.61 (reserves $300-500).
Other valuable ephemera and autographs included a slabbed Bob Dylan–signed (both sides) index card, $1,338.61 ($300); Woody Guthrie original lyric, $5,287.50 ($4,500); Led Zeppelin–signed album, $3,245.16; Who-signed fan club photo $781.96; Madonna’s ’80s bank card, $921.91, check, $761.91 and document forming her company, Boy Toy Inc., $838.09; John Coltrane–signed Soultrane EP, $2,391.21; Ella Fitzgerald American Express card, $1,014.10 ($200); a signed photo card of The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones, $1,385.31; and a love note handwritten and signed by Jimi Hendrix, $2,969.55.
Gold and platinum record awards started at $352.50 (Kiss, two different Casablanca gold awards). A set of four (three gold, one platinum) Beach Boys awards was a relative bargain per piece at $1,144.88. Some of the more expensive awards included: Lennon’s Double Fantasy, platinum, $1,106.24; Mick Jagger’s personal platinum Steel Wheels award, $2,371.43 ($300); Bruce Springsteen Born To Run, platinum, $1,619.71; The Wild The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle, British gold record, $1,338.61; and Springsteen’s personal platinum award for The River, $4,056.41 ($1,000).
Previewed in Goldmine last spring, the Stevie Ray Vaughan management contract and the Buddy Rich drum set ($6,500 and $6,000 respectively) did not sell.