AGOURA HILLS, CA – There is arguably no item of clothing more synonymous with Elvis Presley than the famous stage jumpsuits he wore in the 1970s.
One of his most famous that he donned during his historic four-night sold-out concerts at Madison Square Garden in 1972 is now being offered at auction - and the current bid of $350,000 has already set the record for one.
GWS Auctions, the world-record breaking auction house specializing in entertainment memorabilia, royal artifacts and fine jewelry, is offering the outfit, known as the "eyelet jumpsuit," at its Artifacts of Hollywood and Music auction on September 4. Its estimate is $1.5 to $2 million. A matching cape is also being offered, with an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.
Both pieces were handmade by Presley’s renowned tailor Bill Belew, who created dozens of his iconic stage outfits. Another stage costume designed by Belew and Gene Doucette, the aqua blue "vine" jumpsuit from 1973-74, set the auction record in 2016 after selling at Graceland for $325,000. Presley's reportedly favorite peacock jumpsuit sold in 2008 for $300,000.
The Madison Square Garden shows were the first time The King performed in front of a live audience in New York since his TV appearances on the Dorsey Brothers, Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan shows in 1956 and 1957. The 37-year-old Presley, tanned, fit and pumped for the spotlight, prowled the stage and performed before an audience of 20,000 fans at each of the four shows that took place from June 9-11, 1972 (80,000 fans for the entire weekend). Initially, only three shows were booked, but those sold out instantly, so a fourth show was added. Presley became the first entertainer in history to sell out four consecutive shows at the Garden, and received rave reviews for his performances.
The eyelet jumpsuit previously sold at auction in 1995 and has not been offered for sale since. The artifact still contains the IC Costume, Hollywood California tag still inside. It comes with a certificate of authenticity from the Elvis Presley Museum, signed by Jimmy Velvet, a longtime friend of Presley and founder of the museum.
Other highlights of the nearly 300 lots being offered feature several more Presley items including the racing suit he wore in the 1968 movie Speedway, opposite Nancy Sinatra (estimate $100,000-$125,000); a jar of his hair with extensive documentation (estimate: $150,000-$175,000); the "Lucky" racing helmet he wore in Viva Las Vegas (estimate: $40,000-$45,000); and his bible acquired from Graceland (estimate: $50,000-$60,000).
Other Hollywood memorabilia includes Marilyn Monroe’s black “wiggle” dress from the 1950s (estimate $9,000-$9,500); Audrey Hepburn’s personally owned black woven wide-brim hat (estimate: $5,000-$5,500); a private luncheon with Priscilla Presley in Beverly Hills (estimate: $200,000-$250,000); and legendary musician Jimi Hendrix's personally owned red silk scarf (estimate: $12,000-$15,000).
"The sheer volume of iconic pieces of memorabilia from legends such as Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Les Paul, Steve McQueen, Barbra Streisand, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor and so many other icons from the Golden Era are incredible," said Dame Brigitte Kruse, founder and lead auctioneer of Kruse GWS Auctions. "This collection chronicles so many important moments in entertainment history ... The world is waiting to see where these iconic pieces of history end up."