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

The Hotel El Rancho Vegas was a hotel and casino that opened on the Las Vegas strip in April 1941. It was the first resort on the strip and, with 110 rooms, the largest until 1942. The El Rancho Vegas boasted a cowboy/frontier design on the interior with a Spanish-style exterior featuring a large windmill that became its trademark. It also housed a theater called the Opera House and boasted the largest dining room in Las Vegas at the time. In 1958, Paul Newman and Joan Woodward were married at the El Rancho. Unfortunately, in June of 1960 a fire destroyed the main building containing the casino, restaurants, lounge and showroom. It wasn’t until several years later that the property was leased and became the El Rancho Motor Inn, which as a non-gambling motel struggled to find a foothold on the strip. In 1970 the property was used as storage until the buildings were demolished—the lot was vacant by 1979. 

Offered is a photo memento of a group of eight jovial friends seated at dinner from the Hotel El Rancho Vegas. The black-and-white photo is contained in a souvenir blue photo folder with orange and white name, tag line, logo and depiction of the Opera House entrance. The back contains the name of the photographer, “Bernard of Hollywood.” As is still typical today, the photograph was likely taken of this group by the photographer as they dined and then offered for sale later that evening. One member of the group, Benny, had the good luck to encounter Elvis and have him inscribe the interior of the folder in bold blue ink, “To Benny Elvis Presley.” 

Given the timing of the tragic fire and Elvis’ own schedule, this signature was likely obtained when Elvis vacationed in Vegas in October 1957 and stayed at the Sahara just across the street from the El Rancho Vegas. Elvis was still early in his career and had first appeared in Sin City in April of 1956, at just 21 years of age, for a two-week run at the Venus Room, where he was billed as “The Atomic Powered Singer.” Although already gaining popularity among teens, his reception was cool with the Vegas crowd. However, this would prove to be far from the end of his career in Vegas as he returned again with a vengeance in 1969. After his initial stint in Vegas in 1956, Elvis returned only for the 10-day vacation in 1957 before being deployed for his Army service in 1958. 

This treasured token from early Vegas captures a glimpse into the glamour of Vegas with the added bonus of having a coveted early signature of the superstar. To the left of the inscription, a promo photo of Elvis from King Creole taken in March of 1958 was added, likely by the original recipient of the signature, to enhance the visual appeal. This stunning piece of ephemera from the dazzling early years of Las Vegas measures 6 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches (16.51 x 21.59 cm) and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

In excellent condition overall with typical wear at the edges and binding from age. Minor area of discoloration at top upper right.
Elvis Presley Signed Circa 1956-57 Las Vegas Hotel Souvenir Photo
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $1,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $2,125.00
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
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