The Auction at Graceland•January 8, 2019
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/8/2019

Created in 1938 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the March of Dimes was introduced in response to the polio epidemic that was plaguing the nation. After the polio vaccine began significantly reducing the number of victims, the March of Dimes expanded its focus to include birth defects and infant mortality and continues its non-profit efforts today. Elvis began working with the organization and appearing in its advertising as early as 1956. Elvis was always philanthropic throughout his career and one charity that he continually supported was the March of Dimes. Elvis donated his time, fame and gifts to the March of Dimes from early in his career, through his military service posting in Germany. 

On January 8, 1958, eight-year-old Mary Kosloski from Collierville, Tennessee, who was the national March of Dimes poster child in 1955, was invited to Graceland to meet Elvis. Despite keeping her waiting for almost two hours, Elvis was forgiven for the delay when he appeared and said to Mary, “If you were 10 years older, honey, I wouldn’t let you go.” Mary was enchanted and asked Elvis to sign her autograph book on the page opposite President Eisenhower’s signature. Elvis and Mary were photographed for the local papers on the staircase at Graceland surrounded by teddy bears that Elvis was donating to the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis’ upcoming fundraiser for March of Dimes on January 20. Offered is one of the bears from Elvis’ collection that was donated to the cause.

Several dozen bears were donated by Elvis and the Colonel to be sold at this charity function and while the offered bear is not one that appears in the well-known photograph with Mary, it is one of the donated bears that was sold at the March of Dimes fundraising event. The bear is accompanied by a handwritten letter from Sandra Ruby that states, “Thank you so much for your purchase. This Elvis Tuxedo Bear was obtained in 1958 by my parents. The Bear is from the March of Dimes promo. The Bear was originally owned by Elvis. The Bear has been a wonderful friend and I am over the moon [sic] is going home to Memphis.”

The bear comes with its original tag, a later print of the famous photo with Elvis surrounded by these bears hugging the poster child for the March of Dimes promotion, a March of Dimes pinback button, measuring 4 inches (10.16 cm) in diameter, and copies of newspaper articles about Mary’s visit and the fundraiser. The bear, sporting a white tuxedo jacket with tails, measures 33 by 16 inches (83.82 x 40.64 cm) and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.



The bear shows heavy signs of aging, including areas of staining and dirt. But the colors and sheen of the material remains bright. Excellent condition overall.
1958 Elvis Presley Teddy Bear Donated to the March of Dimes Auction
Bidding
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $2,125.00
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Number Bids: 17
Auction closed on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
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