Auction of Elvis Memorabilia Earns
Friday, October 8th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
His sixth-grade report card didn't show much aptitude for math or geography -- he earned lowly D's. But Elvis Presley was already scoring A's in music.
The King's report card was the first of 2,000 items culled from the Graceland collection to be put on the block during a three-day
auction that began Friday at the MGM Grand Hotel.
The card fetched $8,000, while the whole spectacle attracted the usual constellation of Elvis impersonators and rabid fans.
"I'm just trying to get anything," said Dorothy Antonelli, a 50-year-old school bus monitor from Providence, R.I. "This is far beyond anything I imagined."
The items included Elvis' draft card, which went for $22,500, the tax forms of his parents, and the sequined jumpsuits from the latter part of his career.
The bulk of the pieces were record, movie and performance contracts, including the publishing contract for "Heartbreak Hotel" and letters from Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and
President Kennedy. But there were also several of Presley's vehicles, including a vintage yellow Cadillac and a 1956 Lincoln
The items were selected to weed out the collection at Graceland, with money raised from the auction going to build houses for
homeless families in Memphis.
"It could come to a few million dollars or more," said Arlan Ettinger, owner of Guernsey's, the Manhattan auction house staging the sale. "I wish I knew. But the interest has been phenomenal."
If the early bidding was any indication, the several hundred people who filled about two-thirds of the seats were more interested in items signed or owned by Presley.
A bidder paid $1,900 for a receipt signed by Elvis in 1955 for a Motorola television. The bill was $292.32, with monthly installments of $12.18.
But the King's first RCA contract, which got him a $5,000 bonus and a penny and a half for each record sold, was a disappointment.
It was expected to bring up to $150,000, but fetched only $65,000.
Dennis Dolinsky, a shoe designer from Morristown, N.J., attended the auction appropriately attired in black shirt -- open to navel --and freighted with chains and jewelry.
"I'm not dressed like him," Dolinsky said. "This is just the way I dress every day."
The Associated Press.