The Auction at Graceland•January 6, 2018
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/6/2018

Please note: It has been brought to our attention that there is another Eagle's Nest poster from this period. It is most likely dated to October 29, 1954, and while we can't conclusively date the offered example to an earlier date, it is surely one of the earliest known Elvis Presley concert posters in existence.

Scotty Moore invited Elvis to join his band, The Starlite Wranglers, in July of 1954 and Elvis played just two songs with the group in front of a live audience for the first time at the Bon Air in Memphis on July 17. Just three short weeks later on August 7, Scotty, Bill and Elvis break from The Starlite Wranglers for their first real performance together at the Eagle’s Nest in Memphis. The Eagle’s Nest was a nightclub that was located above the changing room of the restaurant and pool at the Clearpool complex located on Lamar Avenue. The Clearpool was an entertainment complex that catered to a country and western swing crowd. The house band was led by Memphis DJ “Sleepy-Eyed” John Lepley, and at one time or another the house band members included Jim Stewart, Stax Records founder, and Jack Clement, producer at Sun. Elvis performed here 16 times in 1954 before the club fell victim to fire in the late 1960s. This venue was one of the first paying gigs for Elvis and his very first consistent venue at the birth of his career. It was at the Eagle’s Nest that Elvis initially gained notoriety among the teen crowd, who would rush in from the pool to hear Elvis sing and then return outside when the next act came on. This is also where Elvis’ own style began to flourish and he was recognized as something out of the ordinary. 

Offered is a hand-painted, cardboard poster that hung at the entrance to the Eagle’s Nest and touts “Memphis’ own Elvis Presley with Scotty & Bill.” The poster is signed and inscribed “I spent a week there one night / Scotty Moore / DJ Fontana” in white ink on the black background. The poster lists three songs: “Heart Breaker,” “That’s All Right,” and “Good Rockin.” Elvis had released “That’s All Right” and “Good Rockin” with Sun by September of 1954, while he had been using “Heart Breaker” in his set before recording it as “You’re a Heartbreaker” in December 1954. As Elvis’ performances on the Louisiana Hayride began in mid-October, taking his career into the direction of concert performances at other venues in various cities, his appearances at the Eagle’s Nest begin to wane. Elvis’ last two shows at the Eagle’s Nest were on November 17 and December 10, when, given the songs advertised, this poster was likely used. Since no specific date is listed, enabling the poster to be used more than once, this custom example may have even been used to advertise the appearances on both of those nights.

This incredible relic recalls the very start of a superstar and comes with a letter from Brian Beirne (famed Los Angeles radio personality) describing the provenance that states in part, “Over the years I have owned numerous Elvis items from jackets to capes. In the late 80's or early 90's I purchaed a number of items from Rosalind Cranor, author of Elvis Collectibles. One of the items was this Eagles Nest poster. I bought it in Memphis from Ms. Cranor and had Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana sign it. I sold this poster at auction 10 years ago. I consider this poster one of the true Holy Grails of concert posters.” The poster remained in Brian’s collection for about 18 years. This amazingly rare survivor from the club where Elvis’ legend was launched perfectly captures the spirit of the scene from one of the most formative years in Elvis’ career. One of the earliest known Elvis concert posters, it is fortunate that the handwritten instructions “Don’t Throw Out” that appear on the reverse were followed so that this important piece of Elvis history could be preserved. The poster measures 36 by 24 inches (91.44 x 60.96 cm) and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

The poster exhibits expected scuffing and scratches with holes in the corners, all most likely from being displayed. The colors remain bold and bright. Excellent condition overall.
1954 Elvis Presley One of the Earliest Known Concert Performance Posters - Eagle’s Nest
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $10,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $18,750.00
Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000
Number Bids: 7
Auction closed on Saturday, January 6, 2018.
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