Go­ing once, go­ing twice — Elvis’ pi­ano, jump­suit and more are set for auc­tion

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

The ele­gant white pi­ano that was a fix­ture for a decade at Grace­land is back on the auc­tion block, but you can’t get it for a song.

The grand pi­ano — which re­port­edly was played by W.C. Handy, Duke Elling­ton, Count Basie and Cab Cal­loway be­fore it was ac­quired by Elvis Pres­ley — is ex­pected to fetch plenty of “money, honey” (as the King sang in 1956) when it goes on public auc­tion Thurs­day through Aug. 20 via eBay.

Built in 1912 by Wm. Kn­abe & Co. in Bal­ti­more, the pi­ano — housed at the old El­lis Au­di­to­rium from the 1930s to about 1957, where its ivories were tick­led by nu­mer­ous jazz and R&B greats — is just one of mul­ti­ple Elvis items of­fered for sale this week in what has be­come an an­nual rit­ual of ac­quis­i­tive­ness for fans and col­lec­tors with pock­ets even deeper than the green shag car­pet in the Jun­gle Room.

Bought and sold many times since Elvis’ Search­ing for the King's ghost? Plan­ning a visit to Grace­land? The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal is mark­ing the 40th an­niver­sary of Elvis Pres­ley’s death with a spe­cial web­site at elvis.com­mer­cialap­peal.com and with a 64-page mag­a­zine that will be in­cluded with sub­scribers’ Aug. 13 news­pa­pers and sold at select lo­ca­tions around town. fa­ther, Vernon Pres­ley, sold it away from Grace­land in 1976, the pi­ano — which lost its place of pride in the Pres­ley mu­sic room af­ter Priscilla gave her hus­band a gold-leafed pi­ano as a birth­day present in 1969 — is be­ing of­fered through Bang The Gavel Auc­tion Ser­vices of West­lake Vil­lage, Cal­i­for­nia.

“It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever sold,” Drew Do­nen, CEO of Bang The Gavel, said in a phone in­ter­view. “It’s sit­ting in my of­fice right now and I get chills ev­ery time I walk by it. I wish I knew how to play it.”

Mean­while, Elvis Pres­ley En­ter­prises, through its Grace­land Auc­tions com­pany, is of­fer­ing 315 lots of Elvis ma­te­rial, rang­ing from a “Promised Land” gold record to a vel­vet cape to the keys to the King’s 1973 stretch limou­sine.

Jeff Mar­ren of Grace­land Auc­tions said this week’s event likely will be the most suc­cess­ful of the nine auc­tions held since Elvis Pres­ley En­ter­prises be­gan host­ing the public sales in 2014. He said the items — which range in min­i­mum bid from $100,000 for a “blue scal­lop” jump­suit to $100 for a Ja­panese “Frankie and Johnny” movie poster — are ex­pected to earn a to­tal of about $1.5 mil­lion. (All the ma­te­rial in the sale is con­signed to EPE by pri­vate col­lec­tors; none of it comes

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