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10 strangest Elvis memorabilia ever auctioned


Elvis Presley signs autographs for fans early in his career.
Anyone keeping these signed pictures could cash in today.

Would you buy a gun as a collectible?

Someone just has. The gun belonged to Elvis Presley, and its new owner paid just a few dollars short of $200,000 at a sale on August 27th.

It massively outperformed its estimate of $60,000 – $90,000.

Elvis was a big gun fan, so, while this item doesn’t relate directly to Elvis’ glittering career, it is certainly an item that was close to his heart.

Some of these memorabilia items are more tenuously tied to the king, and others might challenge what you consider tasteful.

10 – A dental crown

The man who paid £5,200 for an Elvis crown from Omega Auctions of Stockport, Greater Manchester, is himself a dentist. Canadian Dr Michael Zuk added the reportedly unique crown to the John Lennon tooth he already owned. The crown – and a model of Elvis’ teeth – was extensively documented.

9 – A shot television

Got the gun? Why not get the TV into which the bullet went? Elvis’ habit of shooting TVs on which content that displeased him appeared is very much part of his legend. One such screen – an RCA miniature TV with radio and clock – was sold by Gotta Have Rock & Roll for $14,495. Presley was watching singer Robert Goulet when he shot the TV, which still has a bullet hole in it and was signed by Elvis.

8 – A not shot television

The lurid and compelling story around Elvis’ shot televisions isn’t needed to shift electrical items, and another RCA TV Elvis probably shot but had repaired so his father could use it sold for just over $1,000 at Julien’s Auctions in 2019.

7 – A ball of hair

Hair is a surprisingly common collectible. Perhaps we share the impulse that drove our forebears to collect holy relics from the bodies of saints.

The biggest Elvis hair sale came via his personal barber, Homer Gilleland, who sold a “whole “baseball-sized” ball of it in a jar for $72,500 via Kruse GWS Auctions in 2021. Single strands of the King’s hair have also been sold as well as locks, including strands from his famous army buzz cut.

6 – An exercise bike

Guernsey’s Auctions sold an Elvis exercise bike – in gold, naturally – for $12,000 in 2008. The Barkleigh-made machine was certified and had been used. Although rather primitive by the standards of today, the bike’s tension control and speedometer made it a tech leader of its time.

5 – A private jet

Many of these items have little intrinsic value, but the same can’t be said for Elvis’ 1962 Lockheed Jetstar private plane. Or so you would think. The plane sat on a runway for 3 decades. GWS Auctions expected to raise several million dollars but sold the aeroplane for just $430,000 in 2017. The new owner was unable to use the plane before selling it again this year for just $260,000.

4 – An x-ray

Although Elvis ended his life living an extremely unhealthy lifestyle he enjoyed exercise and was famously a karate practitioner. So enthusiastic was he about the martial art that on one occasion he broke his wrist during a session. You could have owned the resultant x-ray for $3,500 courtesy of a Fame Bureau sale from 2008.

3 – A pill bottle

Drugs almost certainly played a role in the early death of Elvis Presley and this sale may raise an eyebrow for some. Especially as these Benadryl 50mg tablets were prescribed (by Dr Nick Nichopoulas) the day before the King died. Nevertheless, Julien’s Auctions managed to raise $7,000 from them.

2 – A swab

Even more personal perhaps is a 1967 used swab preserved by a medical technician from Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. That was sold by Julien’s in 2010 for a little under $500.

1 – A used paper cup

A crumpled cup that Elvis drank from during a very early show in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1956. The King enjoyed coke from it, the owner (a lady called June) told eBay bidders. She sold the item for over $3,300, along with documents backing up her claim.

Elvis remains saleable today, in the year he would have turned 88.

Almost any connection to the King is enough to add value to items, though there are limits – items related to his autopsy have failed to sell. And the usual rules for careful buyers apply: even the unlikely sounding paper cup had strong provenance.

With two big movies about the first major rock ‘n’ roll star’s life winning plaudits, awards and big audiences in the 2020s, there’s no reason to suppose the frenzy of interest in this extraordinary man will end. The 50th anniversary (in August 2027) of his death is likely to be another major driver of interest, and buyers who want to cash in could try to grab items now with a look to reselling then.

Just Collecting