The Auction at Graceland•January 7, 2017
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/7/2017
In March of 1958, Elvis was inducted into the Army and assigned to the 3rd Armored Division, 1st Medium Tank Battalion. At the completion of his basic training in Fort Hood, Texas, Elvis had become a pistol sharpshooter and expressed his enjoyment of the “rough and tumble” of the tank obstacle course. The “Tankers Fan Club” was born in 1958 during Elvis’ stint in the Army and named for his role in the 1st Medium Tank Battalion. The club was run by president Gary Pepper, who suffered from cerebral palsy and was confined to a wheelchair. Despite his physical limitations, Gary did a lot for the popularity of the club and Elvis during that time. Offered is the “Elvis Presley Tankers” membership card belonging to Mrs. Mary Lewis from Memphis who obtained the holy grail, Elvis’ signature, on the back of her card. The pink-colored card is signed “Elvis Presley” in blue ink on the reverse and has the handwritten notation “at Fairgrounds Memphis Tenn. 7/19/62.” The notation is explained in a letter from Donna Lewis that states, “This authentic signature from Elvis Presley, was signed at the Memphis Fairgrounds on July 19, 1962” which perfectly corresponds to the membership dates on the front—“Nov. 12, 1961 - Nov. 12, 1962.” The card measures 2 1/4 by 3 1/2 inches (5.71 x 8.89 cm) and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.
The card exhibits a pink discoloration overall with the blue ink signature still strong; paper clip rust residue exists along the top center edge on both the front and back. Evidence of water staining is apparent.