The Rock & Roll Pop Culture Sports Auction July 2020
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/1/2020
Elvis Presley’s most important guitar ever to come to auction, this is his historic 1942 Martin D-18 guitar, Serial Number 80221, which he owned between 1954 and 1956, is often referred to as his “Sun Sessions” guitar. Elvis used this actual guitar extensively while recording at the iconic Sun Studios in Memphis, TN and while performing on stage during this period.  He can be seen playing the guitar in many, many photographs from this time, two of which are featured here. Elvis purchased the guitar at O.K. Houck’s Piano Store in Memphis, trading in his Martin 000-18. He decorated the body of the guitar with adhesive metal letters spelling out his name, "ELVIS". The letters "ELVI" remain with the "S" missing. The extensive wear visible on the guitar due to Elvis’ hard strumming is testament to its considerable use by Elvis. During this period Elvis recorded some of his most classic songs, songs that catapulted him into his meteoric rise to fame, including “That’s All Right (Mama)”, “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and many more.

This historic guitar is currently on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio and was also featured in the Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from April 8 to October 1, 2019. The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and was the first major exhibition in an art museum dedicated entirely to the iconic instruments of rock and roll.

The guitar comes with extensive documents of provenance including: 1. A photocopy of a receipt from O.K. Houck Piano Co. 121 Union Avenue Memphis 3, Tennessee, September 11, 1956 (for when Elvis traded this guitar back to the store). 2. Photocopies of correspondence from the curator of the Country Music Hall of Fame And Museum, Nashville, Tennessee, various dates October 10, 1974 - September 8, 1986 concerning the loan of this guitar, described by a museum director as: " of the most significant items...on exhibit...of all his (Presley's) instruments, this one used during his Sun Sessions relates most directly to Elvis's connection with country music...". 3. A photocopy of an affidavit from the owner of the guitar between 1956 - 1991 confirming the provenance. 4. A document: Historical Notes About Elvis Presley's Martin D-18 Guitar from Mike Longworth, Historian at C.F. Martin & Company Inc., Nazareth, PA, August 12, 1991: ...The D-18 C.F. Martin guitar, Serial No. 80221 has been reported to be Elvis Presley's first guitar. 5. A photocopy of a letter from Jim Jaworowicz, Executive for Memorabilia at Graceland in 1991 confirming the provenance. 6. Various photographs of Elvis playing the Martin D-18 guitar between January to June 1955 - most featuring Elvis with Scotty Moore and Bill Black, his two recording partners at Sun Records, on their 1955 tour of the South and Southwest States at the Blue Moon Boys. Also comes with a Gotta Have Rock & Roll™ Certificate of Authenticity.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,200,000
Final Bid: $1,200,000
Estimate: $2,000,000 - $3,000,000
Number of Bids:1
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