Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Vintage Elvis Mementos Pay off for Collectors

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Vintage Elvis Mementos Pay off for Collectors

Article excerpt

The king of rock 'n' roll still reigns in 1994. Elvis Presley memorabilia is setting price records. Rare personal items are appreciating the fastest, but vintage mass-produced pieces are also popular.

In the big-buck category, Presley's 1969 Mercedes-Benz limousine sold for $321,500 at a recent Butterfield & Butterfield auction conducted in Las Vegas.

A rhinestone jumpsuit brought $68,500, and a pair of his sunglasses, $26,450.

At that auction, John Corbett, who plays disc jockey Chris Stevens on the CBS television show "Northern Exposure," spent $41,400 for Presley's American Express card and $68,500 for his birth certificate.

About $2.4 million in Elvis memorabilia was sold to well-heeled bidders such as Hard Rock Cafe International. But other items fell within the reach of average fans.

"We also sold Elvis Presley lipstick in `Hound Dog Orange' for $325 and `Love Me Tender Pink' for $250, both made in the 1950s by Elvis Presley Enterprises and featuring his engraved signature," said Katherine Gates of Butterfield & Butterfield, which is based in San Francisco.

In the 17 years since Elvis Presley died, the value of his memorabilia has more than doubled, said Jerry Osborne author of "The Official Price Guide to Elvis Presley Records and Memorabilia" to be released this fall by House of Collectibles in New York. (P.O. Box 255, Port Townsend, Wash. 98368).

The primary Elvis collectibles are still his records, Osborne said. Copies of vinyl LPs that originally cost $5 now sell for $150 to $200 in mint condition or still sealed.

More recently, the limited edition 1992 Collector's Gold compact disc album was also issued in a small number of vinyl records. They cost $30, but they now bring $300.

Among licensed items that have appreciated are a 1962 dog tag that reads "I'm an Elvis fan," now worth $40, and a 1961 Hawaiian lei that promoted the film "Blue Hawaii," which brings $150. …

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