The Auction at Graceland•Elvis Week•August 12, 2018
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/12/2018

From The Tar-Zen Collection

The Files of Hill and Range: Elvis Presley's Music Publisher

Lots 26-29 represent an unprecedented opportunity in the annals of Elvis Presley collecting. Based on their content and context to each other, these documents emanate from the files of Hill and Range Songs, Inc. They document historical, even seminal, points in the career of the 20th century's most important entertainer. We see the agreement for arguably his most recognizable hit song and the contracts with the publishing company and the man, Colonel Parker, that would help drive his career to never before seen heights. Furthermore are documents that give a glimpse into the inner workings of Elvis' early empire. Graceland Auctions is proud to present this incredible assemblage of truly important and exciting artifacts.

The end of 1956 was a monumental time in Elvis’ career. Not only were his songs topping the charts, but he had his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which was a partial catalyst boosting his popularity and fame into the stratosphere. Only the year before in 1955 had Elvis broken his way into the spotlight when Hank Snow suggested Julian Aberbach check him out. Julian recognized the talent and helped his friend Colonel Tom Parker become Elvis’ manager and assisted in negotiating Elvis’ contract from Sun Records to RCA. Julian, who was Australian born, began as a music publisher in the U.S. in the mid-40s and took on his younger brother, Joachim “Jean” as partner in his company Hill & Range several years later. Hill & Range not only owned 50% of the publishing rights to Elvis’ songs (with Elvis Presley Music owning the other half), but Julian Aberbach hired his cousin Freddy Bienstock to head Elvis Presley Music as a way of maintaining control. Julian and Jean, along with Vernon and Elvis, comprised the board of directors of Elvis Presley Music and offered are 4 documents (5 total pages) relating to board business, dating from September and October 1956. The documents include: 

  • a “Waiver of Notice” dated September 25, 1956 (the day before Elvis’ historic performance at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show in Tupelo) for the special meeting of the board of directors that has been signed by all four board members, including Elvis Presley; 
  • the typed, detailed minutes from this meeting on September 25, 1956 agreeing to payment retroactive to April 30th for expenses paid to “Elvis Presley - $100.00 per week / Col. Thomas A. Parker - $50.00 per week / Joachim Jean Aberbach - $50.00 per week / Julian J. Aberbach - $50.00 per week” and signed by all four members of the board, including Elvis Presley; 
  • a two-page typed letter on Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation letterhead dated October 3, 1956 from Colonel Parker to Benjamin Starr at Hill & Range returning the minutes and “the assignment of Elvis’ writer royalties and dividends to Elvis Presley Enterprises” and requesting photostats of these agreements for his files. The first page is signed “Tom” while the second page contains the post script note “Noticed on the starting date April 30. Will this be in one check or will it be a bunch of checks dated as per week for the back payment”; 
  • a memo dated October 5, 1956 from B. Starr stating that the minutes are attached along with detailed payment notes for royalties, salaries and dividends, the name to which the checks should be cut, and the address to which they should be sent.

These 5 pages of documents from this pivotal period are stapled together and all have two punch holes in the top margin. Together they are an incredible record of important Elvis Presley Music board interactions among the key members during one of the most historic periods in Elvis’ early career. The waiver and minutes documents measure 11 by 8 1/2 inches (27.94 x 21.59 cm), and the other three documents measure 7 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches (19.05 x 21.59 cm). The group is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

The five pages, still stapled, present with minor filing related wear, including minor toning, some wrinkling and folds. Excellent to Mint condition.
1956 Elvis Presley Music, Inc. Board of Directors Documents (4) Signed Twice by Elvis Presley and Signed by Vernon Presley, and Julian and Jean Aberbach*
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $10,000.00
Estimate: $10,000 - $20,000
Number Bids: 8
Auction closed on Sunday, August 12, 2018.
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