The upcoming Auction At Graceland includes a special section of early Elvis merchandising memorabilia from various owners and includes rare items from the collection of Darlene Parker Tafua, daughter of Ed and Leilani Parker. (Ed Parker was a martial artist who ran the Kenpo Karate Studio in Pasadena, California; Parker trained Elvis Presley along with other stunt men and celebrities.)
And how about the original receipt for Elvis and Priscilla’s Wedding at the Aladdin Hotel in Vegas?
It was quite the shindig! More than $10,000 in charges for the chartered flight, the limos, the judge, the champagne, the fruit baskets, the security (of course), the musicians, the gloves and the floral arrangements. No expense was spared by Elvis for his blushing bride Priscilla and their guests, who assumed two suites and 21 rooms at the Aladdin. The bill was sent to the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills and this copy to Colonel Parker at MGM Studios. We know this because of the included (and formerly paper-clipped) note concerning possibly being double-charged for the private jet flight. It is written in pencil and reads: “Jim: – Is this in order to pay – How about the plane chg [charge]? Remember pmt [payment] to Lear Jet in amt [amount] of 1774.50 – Please call me Pattie.” Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated. Each page measures approximately 10 by 6 1/2 inches (25.4 x 16.51 cm).
Elvis touched the hearts and lives of fans across the globe, and our goal for the Elvis Week 2015 Auction at Graceland was to include artifacts from across the spectrum of collecting, including items owned by Elvis, gifted by Elvis, written by Elvis, used by Elvis and created to promote the king and his career.
This Elvis auction starts at 7:00 PM CST on August 13, 2015; online bidding is available.
The first-ever Auction at Elvis’ Graceland is taking place August 14, at 7:00 p.m. at the Graceland Archive Studio — and online.
While none of the 72 items are from the official Graceland collection (the collection, Graceland Archives, etc. continue to be owned by Lisa Marie Presley and are not for sale), there are some very cool items.
Book lovers as well as Elvis Presley fans will like the library card. This library card from Tupelo has one of the earliest known signatures of Elvis. The signature is so early, that even the Graceland Archives has none pre-dating it — and the auction lot includes a letter from the Graceland Archives stating that the archives has no full Elvis Presley signature pre-dating the one on the library card.
Speaking of kings… This 18-karat gold lion’s head (with two emerald eyes, a ruby mouth, and diamond eyebrows whiskers) was designed specifically for Elvis. It is one of those pendant-brooch jewelry pieces. Elvis wore it as a pendant for his meeting with President Nixon, among other places.
Looking for something bigger? The 1977 burgundy and silver Cadillac Seville V8 automatic being offered was not only the last Cadillac Elvis purchased for his personal use, but the very vehicle driven by Elvis himself on the day prior to his death.
Between the mid 1960s and the late 1970s, the long-playing record and the albums that graced its grooves changed popular music for ever. For the first time, musicians could escape the confines of the three-minute pop single and express themselves as never before across the expanded artistic canvas of the album. The LP allowed popular music become an art form – from the glorious artwork adorning gatefold sleeves, to the ideas and concepts that bound the songs together, to the unforgettable music itself. Built on stratospheric sales of albums, these were the years when the music industry exploded to become bigger than Hollywood. From pop to rock, from country to soul, from jazz to punk, all of music embraced what ‘the album’ could offer. But with the collapse of vinyl sales at the end of the 70s and the arrival of new technologies and formats, the golden era of the album couldn’t last forever. With contributions from Roger Taylor, Ray Manzarek, Noel Gallagher, Guy Garvey, Nile Rodgers, Grace Slick, Mike Oldfield, Slash and a host of others, this is the story of When Albums Ruled the World.
For over a decade now, when I’ve had a question about records, bands, music history, or just want to discover something cool to listen to, I contact Tom Casetta. This is a continuation of my interview with my music guru.
Tom, you mention the “whole packaging” aspect of vinyl; let’s talk about records as objects… I remember in 7th grade, my art teacher having us design record albums. The lesson was more than the fab art, but the concept of the package. Back then, albums were like books, with each track a chapter in the story; now with MP3s etc, more than a bit of that is lost in terms of the artist telling the story. Yeah, we all tried our own hand at making our own stories with mixed tapes too. (Which ties in quite a bit with the “new” concepts of curation and playlists.) But there is something about the whole package from the artist — even if that includes Management & Marketing. lol
Can you share an example of why certain objects in collection cannot be replaced, i.e.why a digital audio file cannot replace a record album?
Sure, take Freak Out by The Mothers of Invention for example. Frank Zappa thanks a number of people in the liner notes as influences and it is like a map to understanding the music of Zappa and, for me personally, it opened and blurred all these doors or genre. I was exposed to all these 20th Century composers, jazz and folk people… The record album was also two sides. And that is lost if you aren’t playing the LPs. That two-part thing acted like a chapter of sorts. It really makes certain records what they are. The killer opening track on side two doesn’t have that same effect when heard right after the last song on side one without the pause to flip the record.
You have (at least) a whopping 8,000 records — I guess that’s why you have a radio show! Can you tell me the story of your radio show? Was it inspired by your collection — or just a way to rationalize it?
I am currently doing a weekly radio program on the Internet radio station G-Town Radio called Listen Up!. Each week, I guide you through a labyrinth of music shining a beacon on the unsung, should-be-sung, and will-be-sung recordings that clutter the maze’s dusty corridors. The station is based in a Philadelphia neighborhood called Germantown and it offers diverse programming originating from this community in Philadelphia that can be shared through the wide range of the Internet.
The Listen Up! show in some ways does rationalize my record collection as it serves as the library for much of the source material of the show. I love sharing these recordings with the public and exposing them to music perhaps they may not have heard of before. I want to share that excitement, infusing my personality into the show. It’s pretty much you, the listener, hanging out in my music library for two hours.
As a DJ, how liberating is today’s digital world?
I don’t see it that much different. I still approach my shows the same way as before.
Does the digital age come with a cost do you think?
The loss of the record shop as a means to find and discover music is probably the key loss, but there is always a need for gatekeepers to help steer one through the clutter. I also think not being able to see ones music collection on display is sad as those and the books on your book shelves say volumes about who you are to me. If I go to someone’s home and don’t see any books and/or music anywhere. I ask myself, what do you do? What do you talk about? What makes you you?
If you prefer something more intimate, there’s Elvis Presley’s signature on a Humes High School library card from 1948. The card proves then 13-year old boy who would become The King checked out a copy of The Courageous Heart: A Life of Andrew Jackson For Young Readers. The card was discovered years later by a Humes High librarian while clearing some old books from inventory and is offered with the copy of the book along with a COA from Richard Consola. Estimated value is $4,000 — and up.
A 1950s Country & Western band from Harrisville, Rhode Island, named Uncle Jim and the Westones sometimes played gigs at county fairs in Tennessee, appearing on the same bill with a young upstart named Elvis Presley who occasionally sat in with them. After an occasion where Elvis played this very same resonator guitar, he signed it for its owner, Westones leader Jim Riley. The signature is between the slots on the headstock of this beautiful, original instrument. Presley apparently used a blue ballpoint pen and he pressed down hard enough to break though the varnish and leave a deep, permanent impression into the wood. Careful viewing shows much of the blue ink remaining.
Two pages, mimeographed copies of the original typed document, dated “March 5, 1956,” outlining the agreement Hal B. Wallis and Joseph H. Hazen of Paramount Studios made with the then 21 year old Presley as he was embarking on his film career; eleven ‘boiler plate’ points are listed, including salary [“First yearly period $15,000 / Second yearly period $25,000,” etc.], transportation [“You agree to furnish me with round-trip first class transportation to Hollywood and to allow me $50.00 a day expenses…”], and other like terms; signed on the second page in blue ballpoint ink “Elvis Presley” and in blue and black fountain pen ink by the two producers; this document was likely a file copy as it’s mimeographed, though all signatures are actual ink on paper. 11″ x 8.5″. COA from Rich Consola. Estimate: $8,000 – up.
The huge custom-build merry-go-round, considered the collection’s center piece, reached the estimated price range of old $1,000,000 – $1,500,000, selling for nearly $1.3 million. I think at that price, the piece deserves to be called a carousel.
While The Milhous Collection was most noted for its world-class vintage and antique instruments — ornately decorated orchestrions, theatre organs, and other mechanical musical instruments, the bids for these pieces came in lower than anticipated. Sadly, of the eight automated musical instruments with estimates of $1 million (or more), only three obtained bids of seven figures.
Lest you think the economics of space was on the minds of bidders, you should note that most of the 30 automobiles in the collection sold at or above their auction estimates. Among the high-horsepower Brass era cars, Indianapolis racing cars, and coachbuilt classics, it was the 1912 Oldsmobile Limited which fetched the highest price; as the only known surviving car of the model, it more than doubled its estimate, selling for $3.3 million.
Perhaps there’s always room for another classic car in the heated garage, but antique mechanical music pieces? Not-so-much.
Among the over 800 items of Hollywood memorabilia and historic Americana, the Houston tems up for sale include a pair of earrings and a brown satin vest worn by Whitney in The Bodyguard (1992) as well as a black velvet dress owned by the legendary performer.
Celebrity auctioneer Darren Julien said Sunday the pieces and other Houston items became available after the singer’s unexpected death on Feb. 11 and will be included among a long-planned sale of Hollywood memorabilia such as Charlie Chaplin’s cane, Clark Gable’s jacket from “Gone With the Wind” and Charlton Heston’s staff from “The Ten Commandments.”
Julien said celebrity collectibles often become available after their namesakes die.
“It proves a point that these items, they’re an investment,” Julien said. “You buy items just like a stock. Buy at the right time and sell at the right time, and they just increase in value.”
But could it be too soon to profit from Houston’s passing? She was just buried on Saturday.
“It’s a celebration of her life,” Julien said. “If you hide these things in fear that you’re going to offend someone — her life is to be celebrated. These items are historic now that she passed. They become a part of history. They should be in museums. She’s lived a life and had a career that nobody else has ever had.”
Houston is “someone who’s going to maintain a collectability,” he said. “For people who are fans of Whitney Houston and never would have had a chance to meet her and never got to talk to her, these are items that literally touched a part of her life. They are a way to relate to her or be a part of her life without having known her.”
Accumulating these coveted treasures is often a twofold endeavor; obtaining tangible nostalgia and making a sound investment choice. Acquiring such a collection gives buyers the opportunity to gain intimacy with fond memories anchored in the property. The other reason is based on the steadily increasing prices, which has been recently noted as a solid asset for Wall Street investment bankers and executives around the globe.
If there is any such thing as a cultural rule about the length of time which ought to pass before we profit by selling off items connected to a recently deceased celebrity, it is far less a matter of morbidity and more a matter of our capitalistic nature. The market dictates that we bid as high as our emotions run; and emotions run pretty high when there’s a death.
As my friend and fellow columnist at Collectors Questsaid upon the passing of Michael Jackson, “One’s fame is directly proportional to how fast people will learn the intimate details of your life, or death, as the case may be… Where celebrity meets mortality, there is eBay.”
Celebrities thrive by this very rule — they use our emotions to sell us less than proper things while alive, such as Michael Jackson “Thriller” panties. So why wouldn’t we buy-buy-buy when they die?
Etiquette rarely, if ever, applies to celebrity.
And how can Perez, of all people, complain about this when he’s “beyond tacky” and a “bloodthirsty” parasite living off celebrities himself?
I’m not sure there’s anything inherently wrong with buying Whitney Houston’s movie-worn clothing weeks after her death than there is buying Clark Gable’s jacket from Gone With the Wind decades later. Do you?
Do not be alarmed by the ad! Hip Pocket records measure just 3 7/8 inches in diameter and are made of thin, flexible vinyl–the same material as those thin flexible Eva-Tone Sound Sheets once found in magazines, etc.
In 1967, Philco-Ford introduced their Hip Pocket Record system, which included a portable player.
I don’t collect records by series or any other system, to be honest. Like everything else I collect, I mainly rely on the serendipity of stumbling into something and falling under it’s charm… Then, whether I buy it or not, the obsessive researching begins. So I didn’t know that the old Capitol Records series of Record-Readers were once sold as Looky Talky book and record sets.
Please submit your reviews (or reviews you liked) of vintage books, films, games, records, etc. to be considered in future issues of New Vintage Reviews! (And let me know if you’d like to host a future edition!)
I’d never seen anything like them before, so here’s what the seller, dahntahntoys, has to say about them:
54 mm solidcast women’s Suffragette Band by Charles Hall, bought in 1970s at the MFCA show. Eight pieces in mint condition. See photos. Colorful Victorian era female musicians and placard carriers for Women’s Right to Vote.
That still didn’t tell me very much, so I began to research Charles Hall.
Information is disappointingly scant. Charles Hall is said to have been a former police officer in Glasgow, Scotland who started his scale miniature toy production with some Scottish regiments figures about the mid 1970s. Eventually, he produced up to 350 different figures.
During the 1970’s when Britains where not producing metal band figures;three prolific makers emerged in the English speaking world. They all made complete lines from their own masters and moulds. …The least know was a Scottish maker who named his line after himself CHARLES HALL.
Charles produced two areas of personal interest to himself from 1975 t0 1985 which were German Bands and Salvation Army Bands. In the early 1990’s Hank Anton of the USA bought Halls moulds but never produced very many sets from the line.
Along with the suffragettes, there are Dixieland jazz bands (and other bands with black musicians) and the largest variety of Salvation Army figures ever issued.
But Hall also seems to have specialized in miniature scale versions of many civilian figures, including fictional characters, figures such as Scotland Yard’s finest, Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Hitler, Dracula, the beautifully odd Burke and Hare (Edinburgh’s most infamous grave robbers), and others… Including, perhaps, the most interesting miniature collectible toy pieces: Hitler and oddball Nazi caricatures.
I’d love to hear from collectors or anyone who knows more about Charles Hall and his wonderful scale miniatures!
The individual stockings were packed in pairs, but they also were packaged in standard blue Ballito boxes.
Beatles nylon stockings may be rare, but there were many variations in packaging, stocking design, and even makers.
Ballito Mills alone had multiple varies in packaging and stocking design; this pair features Fab Four and a 45 RPM record on the packaging and the nylon stockings themselves have the Fab Four on the welt.
The advice regarding magazines is “to have each member of the family initial the cover of a magazine as they finish reading it so you will know when the magazine may be discarded.”
This, my fellow ephemera collectors, might explain the seemingly random multiple initials on vintage magazine covers.
Now for you book collectors; the tip for preventing “library mold” is to sprinkle oil of lavender, sparingly, throughout the book case.
While I doubt the scent would last very long, if persons practiced such things, it might account for oil spots on vintage book covers and pages.
The last tip is regarding records: “Warped phonograph records can be straightened for playing by placing the records on any flat surface in a warm room and weighing them down with heavy books.”
Given the temperature it takes to melt vinyl records — and that this advice was given in the 40s, when records certainly weren’t made of that flimsy vinyl of the 70′ or 80s, I imagine that everyone in the house sat around in their undies sweating while mom or dad un-warped the family’s records. But that’s just me romanticizing the past *wink*
We purchased a lot of ephemera from a dealer going out of business — and when I say “a lot,” I mean “a lot of boxes.” So many that we almost couldn’t fit boxes and the one slender child we had with us that day into the van. While we did manage to get all that belonged to us home, it took some time to be able to inspect each piece — and the investigation of each may never ever be completed because I love to research everything.
In fact, that’s part of my problem. I’m supposed to find something from these boxes to sell — to recoup some money, feed the kids, whatever. But I keep falling in love with things. Things I didn’t know existed. Things I don’t even know about enough to love them. But in the researching of them, I become utterly smitten.
Like this 8 x 6 3/4 inch piece of now quite tanned brittle paper. It charmed me with its illustration of a man playing piano — with a photo of a man’s head pasted in place (all printed in blue ink). The signature seemed authentic; the ink not mechanically reproduced but signed with a personalized “To Wayne.” But I wasn’t sure of the name, let alone if the guy was of any importance.
I quickly discovered this comical piece depicts and is signed by Vincent Lopez, one of America’s most popular bandleaders for decades.
In 1917, at the age of 19, Lopez was already leading his own dance band in New York City. In 1921 he began to leverage the power of the new medium, radio, into popularity — and he, in turn, helped create the popularity of radio.
He began his band’s weekly 90-minute radio show on Newark, NJ station WJZ by announcing, “Lopez speaking!” (The station and Lopez would become fixtures in the NBC family.) The show theme song was Felix Arndt’s novelty ragtime piece Nola, causing Lopez to became so identified with the song that he’d satirized it in his 1939 Vitaphone short, Vincent Lopez and his Orchestra, by having the entire band singing Down with Nola.
(Sadly, attempts to find a clip of this performance only resulted in “removed” notices at YouTube.)
In 1925, Lopez gave the first-ever Symphonic Jazz concert at the Metropolitan Opera House; later that same year, he took his orchestra to London and met with great success.
Comparable to Paul Whiteman, the “King of Jazz,” Lopez became one of the most popular musicians leading Big Band, dance bands, and/or jazz bands. Charles Hamm calls them “white ‘jazz’ bands,” saying they were of the Tin Pan Alley style of jazz as opposed to the “authentic” black jazz of the time. (In his book, Putting Popular Music in Its Place, Hamm notes that even performers like Josephine Baker had their music “mediated for consumption by white European audiences.”)
Many famous and still recognizable musicians passed through Vincent Lopez’s band, including Artie Shaw, Xavier Cugat, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller.
Lopez is also credited with giving Betty Hutton her first big break, resulting in both being showcased in two Warner Brothers’ Vitaphone shorts. Shot in New York in 1939, the following video clip of the afore mentioned Vitaphone performance features 18-year old Betty Hutton performing a fantastic (classic Betty Hutton!) jitterbug to Vincent Lopez & His Orchestra’s rendition of Old Man Mose.
In 1941, Lopez and his band took what was supposed to be a sort engagement at the Hotel Taft Grill Room — where they remained for 20 years. And in 1949, The Vincent Lopez Orchestra and the Martin Sisters recorded a song called Potato Chips, which played on air along such songs as Rum and Coca Cola and The Popcorn Polka. What’s not to love about that? Other than not being able to find a copy of Potato Chips, I mean.
Lopez’s popularity meant he was widely interviewed as an authority on jazz. To this day, he remains quoted in several works discussing both the origins of the word “jazz” (proffering a story that, in essence, “jazz” came from the name of a musician named Charles, shortened to “Chaz”) as well as, in 1924, it’s definition as “contrary to music.”
Sadly, these footnotes, his recordings (including a few CDs and Mp3s), appearances in advertisements, and a few other collectibles like my autographed bit of ephemera are about all that’s left to prove the former popularity of Vincent Lopez.
But it’s time to get back to the drawing board — back to my vintage drawing of Lopez.
There are no markings to identify the illustrator or to indicate the paper’s purpose, so I’m left to conclude this was a promotional piece printed by Lopez — possibly for the purpose of providing autographs. I believe it dates to the late 1920s or early 1930’s, based on the simple caricature style of the illustration (quite popular in the 20’s — in fact, Cugat and Enrico Caruso both drew caricatures) and the youthful photographic image of Lopez.
Will I be selling it? Mmm, probably not. I don’t think I’m done investigating Vincent Lopez yet. (Stay tuned!)
PS You can keep on eye on my eBay listings to see if and when hubby twists my arm enough to make me selling it.
The scan of autographed Vincent Lopez promotional vintage ephemera piece, circa late 1920s or early 1930’s, is my own.
Christmas at our house was always wonderful! It was not that we got everything we wanted – kids always have expectations way beyond reality. But everything seemed bright and shiny. My mom had Christmas music on the radio (the one with the little, round red light in front), and later on the “new hi-fi system.” And she sang or hummed from Thanksgiving to New Years.
For as long as I can remember, her favorite was “Silver Bells.” My brother’s first year in the Army was when Elvis was really at his peak. His song “I’ll be Home for Christmas” was played over and over again. My brother had been told he would not be able to get leave and had told my mom several times. But she never, ever gave up believing. Her boy, her first born, would make it home. Sometimes we would tease her but she just took it in stride. “Just wait and see,” she’d say. But when it was the day before Christmas Eve, and still no sign of Mike, she began to lose a bit of her faith.
We were at a corner bar/restaurant, having a fish fry. My sister was standing outside, watching the snow come down. All of a sudden she tore back into the restaurant and said, “Mom, a soldier just got out of a car!” She told her to calm down, but she got up from the table and went to see for herself. So we all went to the front door. As long as I live, I’ll never forget how my brother picked her up in his arms and swung her around! There were beers and tears all around for in a small community, everyone knew everyone. His leave was short and it was so hard to see him go again, but her wish came true and we all rejoiced!
I think it was then that I learned that the best gifts do not necessarily come in colorful wrapping paper, nor need to be expensive. This gift, as they say in commercials now, was priceless! And one for my memory book!