Rare Video of Young Elvis Presley Up for Auction: 'It's Just Him Being a Son on Vacation'
The year 1956 was a big one for then 21-year-old Elvis Presley. He'd recorded the classics "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel" and "Blue Suede Shoes" and start making teenage girls swoon across America.
Now fans can get a private peek of Presley during that breakout year in rare homemade films of the singer on a 1956 fishing trip with his parents and other family members at GWS Auction's "Hollywood & Music" auction on Nov. 28.
"What's so beautiful about these videos is it's just him being a son, a family member on vacation with the people he loves," says Brigitte Kruse, founder of GWS Auctions, which is conducting the auction. "This is right before he really hit it big, his life was about to change forever. So they're just phenomenal. There's never been anything offered quite like this."
The films — expected to fetch up to $10,000 — were originally captured on 8 mm film. They've been converted onto a DVD with about 15 to 20 different videos, with Elvis appearing in four to six of them, says Kruse.
While the auctioneer isn't sure who a young woman in a sleeveless-checked shirt with Elvis is, she surmises the fishing trip also included Presley family members and "people extremely close to the family." The films have been owned by Mike Moon, who purchased them for his Elvis & Hollywood Legends museum in Tennessee.
Another Elvis item up for sale is a gold and diamond Elvis TCB (Taking Care of Business) ring expected to sell between $500,000 and $1 million, according to Kruse, adding that bidders have already offered over $500,000 to pull it out of the auction.
Presley designed the sparkler made of multiple diamonds that weigh a total of 9.81 carats, which he gave to his opening band singer J.D. Sumner in 1975 before a crowd of 14,000.
"This is arguably the most important piece of Elvis jewelry of all time that will ever be sold to the public," says Kruse. "I'm so passionate about the ring."
Presley, who died in 1977 at 42 at his Memphis mansion, Graceland, also loved motorcycles. His 1975 FLH 1200 Harley Davidson, which he enjoyed driving around Graceland, and contents of his Hollywood home, including furnishings, art, glassware, clothing, and many other personal items will also be auctioned off.
Other unique items in the over 300-lot auction include Marilyn Monroe's Louis Vuitton trunk and a collection of 700-hours plus of recordings from the 1969 Woodstock festival that were in a producer's storage locker for over a decade, with performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, The Grateful Dead and dozens of other artists.
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But the Presley items take up a special place in Kruse's heart. In honor of Elvis's late grandson, Benjamin Keough, who died in July, she and her company are donating 100 percent of the commission earned from the seller of the Elvis items to the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the mental health of teens and young adults.
"Just being the Elvis auctioneer, I feel like I need to honor him in this way," Kruse says. "It's extremely important to me because Elvis was such a spiritual and giving person and this was his grandson, we lost him way too soon. The world needs to remember that mental health is something that should not be swept under the rug."