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 Oleander Collection

Elvis befriended a man named Gary Pepper, confined to a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, after Gary had been sending newspaper clippings relating to Elvis’ career to Gladys Presley. So moved by this thoughtful gesture, Elvis’ mother invited the Pepper family to their home for a holiday gathering, which resulted in the Pepper and Presley families becoming close friends. Gary’s father Sterling was hired to work security at Graceland’s front gate after he was laid off from his job. Gary presided as president over one of the first Elvis fan clubs, The Tanker Fan Club, which had a peak membership of 5,000 fans and also successfully produced the Tankcaster newsletter. The Tanker Fan Club was named after Elvis’ time with the Armored Tank Battalion to which he was assigned during his Army service, and his enjoyment of the tank obstacle course. Gary was not only an ardent supporter of Elvis’ career, he was a good friend to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll throughout the years. Offered is a black-and-white image of Elvis in uniform upon his return home to Memphis from the Army, leaning down to embrace Gary. The back of this photograph has been inscribed by Elvis in blue ballpoint pen, “To Gary Thanks Again Elvis Presley.” On March 7, 1960 Elvis returned from his Army service and arrived at the Memphis Union Train Station to be greeted by hundreds of fans, including Gary Pepper, who together with fans held a sign that said, “Welcome Home Elvis, The Tankers.” After shaking some hands, Elvis made his way to Gary, who apologized for the smaller turnout, citing that it was a school day. A local reported noted that Elvis bit his lip in response, seeming to be holding back tears, and said, “I’ll see you later pal.” Also included with this main image are two 3 1/2 by 5 inch (8.89 x 12.7 cm) copies of the photo, and two 2 3/4 x 3 3/4 inch (6.98 x 9.52 cm) duplicate negatives of the image, most likely made by shooting the original photo. Additionally, a modern print of another image showing Elvis and Gary standing in front of the “Welcome Home” sign that very day is included. The grouping not only marks the return of Elvis, but the important reunion of two close friends. The signed photo measures 8 by 10 inches (20.32 x 25.4 cm) and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

While the inscription and signature are not affected, the photo does exhibit several areas of distress, especially along the edges and corners, including toning, tape stains, pin holes and paper loss in the upper right corner. Excellent condition.
Elvis Presley Signed and Inscribed Photo to Gary Pepper, Photo of Elvis Hugging Gary, from the Gary Pepper Collection, Including Negatives*
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $2,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $2,625.00
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Sunday, August 12, 2018.
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