A Bible used by Elvis Presley until his death in 1977 and containing his handwritten notes, thoughts, annotations and underlining was bought by an American man based in the UK for £59,000, at an auction in Cheshire on Saturday.
The holy book was given to the American singer on his first Christmas in Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1957. It was used by him until his death on 16 August 1977 at the age of 42.
One of the lines emphasised by the "King of Rock and Roll" is, "What is a man advantaged if he gain the whole world and lose himself or be cast away," according to UK's Press Association.
The book was expected to sell for around £25,000, or $40,000, but went for more than double its value at the sale at Omega Auctions in Stockport, Cheshire. The buyer refused to be identified.
"It was a really exciting atmosphere in the room, we had 300 people and there was bidding online and on the telephone across the world. You could hear a pin drop when it sold for that price," Karen Fairweather, sales room manager at Omega Auctions, was quoted as saying.
"There were three rival bidders on the phone and once it got over £20,000 [$32,000] each bid was taking a while, because they each had a price in mind for the Bible and they were thinking about it. There was a round of applause when the hammer went down. It was incredible," Fairweather added.
The entire Elvis collection, put up for sale by a single British collector, sold for just over £100,000, or $160,000.
A movie contract the entertainer signed for the 1962 film, Follow That Dream, sold for £6,000, and a pair of shoes made by Black Flagg Brothers, owned and worn by Elvis, sold for £6,500.
However, there was no taker for a pair of Presley's unwashed and soiled underpants. Bids for the light-blue briefs worn underneath his famous white jumpsuit during a 1977 concert performance, reached £5,000, or $8,000, failing to meet the £7,000, or $11,200, reserve price.
Presley's earliest musical influence came from gospel. His mother recalled that from the age of two, at the Assembly of God church in Tupelo, Tennessee, attended by the family, "he would slide down off my lap, run into the aisle and scramble up to the platform. There he would stand looking at the choir and trying to sing with them," according to author Peter Guralnick's 1994 book, Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley.
The author also said that "drug use was heavily implicated" in Presley's death – a version that was disputed by many. When the Presley autopsy was reopened in 1994, Coroner Dr Joseph Davis declared, "There is nothing in any of the data that supports a death from drugs. In fact, everything points to a sudden, violent heart attack." Questions over the cause of his death remain until today.
Elvis Bible sells for £59,000
Published 10 September 2012