Elvis Presley’s 50-Year-Old Jumpsuit and Cape Sold For Over $1 Million, Auction House Announces

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Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

A jumpsuit and cape worn by Elvis Presley have fetched a staggering $1,012,500 at auction, Los Angeles-based GWS Auctions has revealed.

GWS Auctions took to social media to announce the “record” sum that buyers fronted for the jumpsuit and matching cape, which were listed and sold separately. The King of Rock and Roll donned the apparel – conceived by costume designer Bill Belew – for his famous Madison Square Garden performances in 1972, and besides also crafting stage outfits for Ella Fitzgerald and Dionne Warwick, Belew was in charge of Elvis’s entire wardrobe (including the Mississippi-born artist’s on- and off-stage attire) for nearly a decade, until the “Jailhouse Rock” singer’s 1977 passing.

The million-dollar outfit had “been in a private collection for over 30 years prior to it going to auction,” according to GWS, which specifies in the auctions’ fine print that there will be “a 25% buyer’s premium added to the high bid amount of each item won.” Consequently, the highest bids for Elvis’s Madison Square Garden cape and jumpsuit, $300,000 and $510,000, respectively, total the aforementioned $1,012,500 after factoring for the premium. The below-mentioned high bids, for their part, do not reflect the premium that purchasers were charged.

The jumpsuit and cape were just some of the Elvis items that GWS made available to buyers, and the auctions appeared to coincide with last month’s Elvis Week 2021, which 76-year-old Priscilla Presley indicated “ended all too soon.”

A “private luncheon” with Priscilla Presley (benefitting the Dream Foundation) received one bid for $25,000, for instance, while Elvis’s “personally owned” Bible brought in $9,000, per GWS’s website. Also sold as part of the comprehensive auction were Elvis’s Viva Las Vegas racing helmet (with a final bid of $19,000), a $1 bill signed by both Elvis and Johnny Cash (bidding topped out at $3,500), and even a jar of Elvis’s hair (13 bids elevated the sale price to $58,000), including “extensive documentation,” according to online listings on GWS.

In a testament to bidders’ decidedly specific tastes, a number of other unique Elvis Presley items failed to find a buyer, the GWS website currently shows.

Among these seemingly unsold collectibles are the guitar that Elvis played in 1966’s Frankie and Johnny (the bid increment was set at $2,500, with a $0 starting price), Elvis’s signed car-insurance application (with a $100 bid increment), and a “Standard Uniform Popular Songwriters Contract” that the “Can’t Help Falling in Love” vocalist signed back in 1956 (also with a $100 bid increment). Nevertheless, Elvis’s Frankie and Johnny “tuxedo tailcoat” sold for $60,000, the auction house’s online platform shows.

5 Responses

  1. Guillermo Perez Arguello

    The buyers were the Palo Alto couple of art, furniture, car and Elvis memorabilia collectors Ms. Heather and Mr. John Mozart. The two sums quoted in the article are BEFORE the 25% buyer’s premium was added, thus totalling US#1.012,5600 for the jumpsuit and the cape. The Mozarts already have the second most important collection of Elvis jumpsuits. which now include the Saturn Suit and Cape, the Green Cisko Kid, the Flame suit with red pleats, the Wheat Suit and Cape, also worn at the Garden, and now – the Eyelet Suit and cape

  2. Guillermo Perez Arguello

    All the sums quoted in the article refer to the high bid, but BEFORE the 25% buyer’s premium was added. to each and every one of them.

  3. Guillermo Perez Arguello

    Hi Dylan!! Here is for your information how the sale of the Eyelet jumpsuit and cape became a world’s record. The highest paid fora jumpsuit with a belt but without a cape was that of the Aqua. It sold at a Graceland auction in 2016 for US$325,000. The highest ever paid for a belt but without the jumpsuit and the cape, was US$325,000. The highest paid for a cape was in 1999, one of the two existing Aloha from Hawaii capes, which netted US$104,000. So anyway you add or sustract, yesterday’s sale was a world’s record., as no other musician’s clothing has ever come close to what these Elvis garments are able to garner. Regards

  4. Dylan Smith

    Thanks Guillermo for pointing out the 25 percent buyer’s premium described in the fine print. I’ve updated the text to reflect that this charge is added to each top bid.