The Auction at Graceland•Elvis Week•August 12, 2017
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/12/2017

August 18, 1977, was a day that saw hundreds of thousands of fans around the world mourn the death of their idol Elvis Presley. Vernon Presley shared his wishes with J.D. Sumner and asked him to organize the funeral arrangements. J.D. dictated notes to Ed Enoch detailing the order of the funeral that included who would officiate, who would speak, who would sing and the songs to be sung. Rev. Rex Humbard, good friend to Elvis and J.D., was asked to officiate the funeral ceremony. Having known the closeness of Elvis and J.D., the Rev. Humbard brought a bible to use in the proceedings that was personalized for J.D. with his name embossed in gold on the cover—the bible was also signed by the Reverend and Mrs. Humbard and dedicated to J.D. on the interior.

About 200 people crowded near Elvis’ music room at Graceland that Thursday where the private funeral was held. Reverend Rex Humbard, the TV evangelist from Ohio, and Jack Kahane, Elvis’ friend and comedian, made remarks and Reverend CW Bradley, pastor at the Memphis Wooddale Church of Christ, gave the main eulogy. A ceremony followed at Forest Hill Cemetery, where Elvis was entombed in a white marble mausoleum. The pallbearers for the casket included Lamar Fike, George Klein, Joe Esposito, Charlie Hodge, cousins Billy and Gene Smith, Jerry Schilling, Dr. George Nichopoulos and Felton Jarvis.

While only a couple hundred close friends and family attended the private funeral services, thousands flocked to Graceland to pay their tributes. Over 80,000 mourning fans lined the processional route on Elvis Presley Boulevard that dark day. President Jimmy Carter was quoted saying that Elvis “permanently changed the face of American popular culture.”

The offered bible and note remained in J.D. Sumner’s possession until his death in 1998 and comes with a letter from Shirley Sumner Enoch who describes in detail her recollection of the events that tragic day in August of 1977. She states in a heartfelt account:

After my mother had passed away in 1992, my dad and I were going through files, etc., at our music row offices, which my mother had managed for some years. Going through years of paperwork, important and not, I came across a large manila envelope which when opened, contained a simple hand written note on a single sheet from a stenographer’s pad, and a bible. My mother had simply written across the paper, ‘For Elvis’. I showed the bible and hand written note to my dad that day and he confirmed my memory that these were used at Elvis’ funeral. I immediately was transported back to the night in the motel room, down the street from Graceland. My father, sitting on the bed, my Mom, and I quietly observing from the chairs across the room, watching dad mull over in his mine [sic], the outline of the Funeral Service for Elvis Presley. Ed Enoch, member of J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, and my husband at the time, was quietly taking notes. August 16, 1977, the night Elvis passed, Mr. Vernon Presley had called my father at home in Nashville, and asked him to come to Memphis and plan the service for his son. Mr. Vernon stated that J.D. would know better what Elvis would like. Like President John F. Kennedy in 1963, everyone knows where they were when they heard the shocking news of Elvis Presley’s untimely death in 1977. The death of Elvis was a tragic event that shook the entertainment world to its very core. Then President Jimmy Carter said it best when he stated; “Elvis Presley’s death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. More than 20 years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American Popular Culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness and good humor of his country.” When Elvis passed away in August 1977, his father, Vernon Presley, asked J.D. Sumner to handle the funeral service. Sumner was a close friend to Elvis, and a legendary bass singer and leader of J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet that backed Elvis on records and concert. After a solemn discussion at Elvis’ Graceland Mansion with Mr. Presley as to what he wanted for Elvis’ funeral service, Sumner later that evening, dictated the outline of the funeral to Stamps Quartet member, and my husband at the time, Ed Enoch. Enoch compiled a list which contained the details of the funeral including what songs would be sung, who would sing, who would speak and who would officiate at the service. The specific details recorded on this original sheet of paper, just after Presley’s death in 1977 would be the initial framework for what would be the largest and most historic funeral in pop-culture history.  Elvis loved Rex Humbard, and Rev. Humbard, at Vernon Presley’s request, officiated the funeral service for Elvis. Mr. J.D. and Rex had been close friends for many years, Sumner having sung many times at Humbard’s church in Akron, Ohio. Along with the hand written funeral arrangements in the manila envelope I found that day at our Music Row office in Nashville, was a bible Rex, having known of the close relationship between Elvis and J.D., had bought as a gift and personal keepsake to my father which was used during the service. The New Testament bible was Rev. Humbard’s special edition that he had printed in quantity in the mid 1970’s. It is noted that this bible was printed in 1975, and has photos of Humbard and his wife. The keepsake was embossed on the cover in gold, and signed, as well as dedicated to “J.D. Sumner”. The Bible and funeral arrangements were always special to my dad after knowing that my mom had tucked them away for safe keeping, remained among his private collection up and until his passing in 1998.

This significant bible, with cover embossing that reads “The Prayer Key / New Testament / J.D. Sumner” measures 8 3/4 by 5 1/2 inches (22.22 x 13.97 cm), along with the momentous handwritten note which measures 9 by 6 inches (22.86 x 15.24 cm), is an extraordinary relic from one of the most mournfully significant dates in entertainment history. The pair are accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

The bible presents with some signs of wear to the gilded edges of the pages and the cover, while the instruction sheet has wrinkling, several tape and other stains and a few creases. Excellent condition overall.
The Bible Used by Rex Humbard to Officiate Elvis Presley’s Funeral and the Handwritten Notes Dictated by J.D. Sumner Outlining Elvis’ Funeral Service
This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.
Current Bidding (Reserve Not Met)
Minimum Bid: $15,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.:
Estimate: $30,000 - $40,000
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
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