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.