The Auction at Graceland•January 8, 2019
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on: 1/8/2019 12:30:00 PM

Lot #20: 1954 Louisiana Hayride Promotional Photo Signed and Inscribed with Reference to “Sun” on the Front by Elvis Presley


In August of 1954, Elvis, Scotty and Bill appeared for their first real performance together at the Eagle’s Nest in Memphis. The Eagle’s Nest was a nightclub that was located above the changing room of the restaurant and pool at the Clearpool complex on Lamar Avenue. Elvis performed here 16 times in 1954 and it was one of his first paying gigs. It was at the Eagle’s Nest that Elvis initially gained notoriety among the teen crowd. On October 15th, after a performance at the Eagle’s Nest, the boys jumped in the car and headed to Shreveport, Louisiana for their maiden appearance on the Louisiana Hayride on October 16, 1954. Just a few weeks following on November 6, Elvis signed a contract to appear every Saturday night for a year. These early performances witnessed the birth of an extraordinary entertainer who would be crowned the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Offered is an exceptional early black-and-white promotional photo of the young star from the Louisiana Hayride that is signed in dark in on the front “Many Thanks Elvis Presley ‘Sun’.” Elvis was likely referring to his relationship with Sun Studios.

Included with this very early signature is a letter dated November 24, 1954 that reads, “Dear Wilma, Just a line in answer to your letter I received a few days ago, I’m so busy, I hardly have time to do anything, but always try to get around to answering my mail. Wilma, I’m sorry I haven’t written, called, or anything but there always seems to be something to keep me from doing anything but staying on the go all the time. I hope you’re not too mad. As you know, I have to be in La. every Sat they book me out from there, so I’m hardly ever at home. But I’ll let you know when I’ll be at the ‘Eagle’s Nest’ again. Answer soon. Always, Elvis.” The letter is from 462 Alabama, Memphis and comes with the original envelope addressed to Miss Wilma Stringer, 455 Liberty, Milan, Tenn. which is postmarked November 26, 1954 from Memphis. This original handwritten letter was written by Elvis’ girlfriend Dixie Locke, who often visited with Gladys at their home on Alabama while Elvis was away. During this time in November 1954 Elvis was on tour playing in Texarkana on the 24th and in Houston on the 25th and 26th.

This great letter of response is also offered with a current letter from the son of Wilma explaining the provenance of the signed photo and letter that states, “Enclosed are the Elvis photos that were given by Elvis to my mother. The fold in the one photo happened as she folded it and stuffed it into her sleeve as her purse was too small. My mother was living in Memphis in 1954 and a couple living in her apartment building invited her to go to the Eagle’s Nest with them. They sat in the front by the stage and Elvis came to them between sets and talked and danced with my mother. He asked to take her home later and to accompany him to one of the band member’s home where he wanted to sing gospel songs. This is how they met and was their first date. They did not date long as he had to leave for the Louisiana Hay Ride shows. A few months afterwards my mother moved to Milan, Tennessee. The enclosed letter was written by or for Elvis to my mother asking her to come see him when he played the Crow’s Nest again.” This treasured group is a rare token that dates to the very beginning of Elvis’ catapult to fame. This outstanding, early inscribed photo measures 10 by 8 inches (25.4 x 20.32 cm) and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

The letter and envelope are in very good condition considering their age. The paper is discolored from age and the envelope is torn along the top and right side with loss to the upper right corner and tape residue on the reverse. The photo exhibits the described crease down the center and some discoloration to the reverse but is in otherwise excellent condition overall.
Final Bid (Includes Buyers Premium):$7,500
Minimum Bid:$2,000
Estimate:$4000 - $6000
Number of Bids:17