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Add collectibles to the list of things changed by the internet.
Since artists now text, email and tweet, there’s not a lot of material in their handwriting. Thus, a letter from someone famous could be valuable.
That autograph? Not so much, according to Jerry Fraize, director of memorabilia for Hard Rock International. “A signature is something that commemorates the experience,” he
says. “But if you’re a collector, you’re looking for something with more substance – an instrument, an outfit, something hand-written, like a love letter.”
Posters, T-shirts and, yes, those oh-so-expensive hand-signed guitars sold at concerts aren’t as valuable as something actually used by the star. “Guitars and stage-worn outfits
are so rare, they’d be something (collectors) would go after.”
Elvis Presley commands a hunka-hunka burning cash for collectibles, too.
“You see him at most high-profile auctions,” Fraize says. “But there are still things to be gotten.”
Because Presley is still very popular, most pieces of memorabilia get gobbled up by fans who don’t put them on display or share with others. Graceland, Presley’s home in
Memphis, Tennessee, has plenty of items but there are letters he may have written to friends, family or associates that could reveal one more side of the King.
A TV set, which Presley shot with one of his handguns, recently went into the Hard Rock archives, Fraize says. “He wrote a personal note with that…it was explicit and very
Unlike musicians who followed him, Presley was a big note writer. “He would also sign things over to people a lot,” Fraize says.
That has made his items more verifiable when they move onto the collectibles market.
The Hard Rock company has hundreds of pieces of Elvis memorabilia.
In addition to a shirt that has been part of its permanent collection, the Sioux City Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has four items that will be displayed through the end of February.
The special display is tied to Elvis Weekend, which will feature a competition among some of the top Elvis Tribute artists in the world. There’s a meet and greet at 8 p.m. Friday; and
performances at noon, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday in Anthem.
The four items come from several of Presley’s “eras.”
A jumpsuit, made by Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors, was worn around 1972. It features a stand-up collar and rhinestone bursts. It’s considered one of his signature looks. From that same
period, there’s also a cape, which features a similar design (EER adds: Sadly even "experts" can be fooled. The Nudie Jumpsuit was NEVER worn by Elvis Presley on stage or in
fact anywhere. It looks more like a suit for the Osmonds or any other act in the 70's who copied Elvis' stage wear at the time).
From the 1950s, there’s a Gibson J200 acoustic guitar. “He had a lot of guitars – a lot of different types of guitars – that he played all the time,” Fraize says. Because it was made
between 1956 and 1957, it’s likely it was used in some of those early performances.
The final piece, a blue jacket with two vertical stripes, comes from the 1968 movie “Speedway.”
“Normally, we don’t collect movie-related items but he was such an icon in the movies, he’s one of the artists we would represent that way,” Fraize says. Because Presley often sold
plenty of records tied to the films, the decision makes sense.
What isn’t in the mix is jewelry. “Elvis was big on jewelry,” Fraize says. “He always had some type of ring or necklace.” His TCB – Taking Care of Business – logo factored in many
items and, yes, he was good at gifting friends and family. “Jewelry was a big part of his persona.”
Necklaces, rings and sunglasses are among the items collectors most often seek, Fraize says. Scarves, however, are a bit less reliable. Because some were considered
merchandise, there isn’t a way to verify Elvis ever wore or touched them personally.
Before the Hard Rock adds a piece to its collection, officials need verification “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the item was owned by the celebrity. “A picture of Elvis wearing the
outfit or a letter verifying that it’s real would be necessary.”
So, who’s a good contemporary artist to consider collecting if items come on the market? “Taylor Swift,” Fraize says. “She’s not going to go away for some time. She’s got a part in
music history. We think about Elvis, who is popular forever, just like the Beatles. It all depends how important and influential they are.”
|KING OF COLLECTIBLES: ELVIS REIGNS THERE TOO!
January 26, 2017 - Sioux City Journal / Elvis Express Radio
|Sioux City Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has on display a guitar used by Elvis and what they claim is a stage worn Jumpsuit.
EER Adds - Another FAKE...This Nudie made jumpsuit is a NOT worn by Elvis on stage or anywhere for that matter