The Auction at Graceland•Elvis Week•August 13, 2019
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/13/2019

This October 20, 1956, two-page letter on Special Projects, Inc. letterhead from Hank Saperstein represents the accounting breakdown for the very first royalty payments to Elvis Presley, Colonel Tom Parker and the William Morris Agency for the sales of Elvis Presley Enterprises (E.P.E.) merchandise. It’s an incredible glimpse into the inner workings of the deal that made possible every t-shirt, dress, pair of shoes, pencil, overnight case... the list goes on and on. The manufacturers numbered 21, and this is only in the first several months of production—that list surely grew. The Colonel had secured the deal less than three months earlier, and the total receipts were already more than $75,000. Saperstein had advanced Elvis and the Colonel $22,500 (most likely in July) and he was now making the initial royalty payments to them and William Morris three weeks early, leading one to believe he was already a very happy partner! His letter, on his personal executive stationery, reads in part, “Although the first accounting under our contract is not due until November 10, 1956, I am making an accounting and payment for all monies received and deposited to date. I trust this meets with your approval.” We trust it did. The second page, on standard company letterhead, details the payment checks to Elvis ($8,661.47), the Colonel ($2,887.15) and William Morris ($7,566.36) that were originally included with the accounting. These figures were based on Elvis and the Colonel receiving 45% of total receipts and the agency receiving 10%. This is truly a rare and enlightening artifact from the earliest days of E.P.E. merchandising. Also included are modern copies of five photographs. One shows a storefront packed with E.P.E. merchandise, and the other four show Saperstein and Elvis. Two of these photos are of the meeting between them on the set of Love Me Tender in either August or September 1956, where they have a wide variety of the material strewn across the hood of a car. The first page of the letter measures 10 by 7 1/4 inches (25.4 x 18.41 cm), the second page measures 11 by 8 1/2 inches (27.94 x 21.59 cm), and the pair is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.



The pages of the letter have two sets of staples holes in the upper left corner and the first page has a ghosted paper clip mark and both are in excellent condition overall with very few defects.
1956 Hank Saperstein Signed Letter to Elvis Presley Concerning the First E.P.E. Merchandise Royalty Payments
Bidding
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $250.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $1,062.50
Estimate: $500 - $1,000
Number Bids: 14
Auction closed on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.
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