Antiquorum, New York, April 20 2016
Sold for: $22,500
The market for Elvis Presley memorabilia is nothing if not buoyant – so much so, that there’s now an annual Elvis auction at Graceland, the King’s former home. Last year’s auction saw a film of one of his concerts sell for $137,500; a letter he wrote while in the Army change hands for $35,000, and his gold Indian head coin ring fetch $22,500.
And that latter sum was exactly the amount paid for this understated Corum “Buckingham” wristwatch, which was regularly worn by Elvis throughout the 1960s. Featuring a 34mm square, yellow gold case with a hobnail finish and a decidedly minimalist dial, it came complete with a rather touching story.
According to Antiquorum’s catalogue notes, the singer one day removed the watch and handed it to his assistant Richard Davis, saying there was “something wrong with the back of it”. Davis, a long-serving member of the so-called “Memphis Mafia”, who worked as the star’s bodyguard, movie stand-in and wardrobe manager, subsequently turned the watch over and discovered it to be engraved with the words: “To Richard from E.P”.
The fact that Elvis had gifted his beloved Corum to Davis was backed up by a letter of authentication that was sold with the watch, along with a selection of eight colour photographs showing Elvis wearing it.
It was not, of course, the first time that an Elvis watch has appeared at auction. Others include his Rolex King Midas (he was a fan of the model), a Hamilton Ventura (that is now in the Swatch Group museum), and an Omega Constellation that has been under the hammer twice of late, once in 2012 and again in 2014.
To buy an Elvis-owned watch purely as an investment, however, might prove to be an unwise move. The Omega Constellation sold for $52,500 the first time around, but dropped to $37,500 when it was offered again.
In summary: A sought-after watch for collectors of Elvis memorabilia with deep pockets, this one was in good original condition and, importantly, came with a cast-iron provenance and photographic evidence of his ownership.