Entertainment

A rare poster from Elvis Presley's 1955 NC concert sells for double the expected price

Elvis Presley, the early years

Take a look back at the beginning of Elvis Presley's career with photos from the 1950s.
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Take a look back at the beginning of Elvis Presley's career with photos from the 1950s.

This month, a rare vintage poster of a 1955 Elvis Presley show in Raleigh went up for auction.

Believed to be the only one in existence, the poster fetched a pretty penny.

Make that lots of pretty pennies: It sold for $42,500.

Bidding had opened at $5,000, and the final price far exceeded expectations.

"I thought we might get into the $20,000 range," said Giles Moon, consignment director for entertainment and music with Texas-based Heritage Auctions.

Elvis_concert_poster.jpg
The only known example of a poster for one of Elvis Presley's earliest concerts was for sale through Heritage Auctions’ Entertainment Auction. He performed at the City Auditorium in Raleigh, North Carolina as part of a Grand Ole Opry All Star Jamboree. The poster from May 19, 1955, is the only known copy in existence. Bids start at $5,000. Heritage Auctions

"For it to get that high was well beyond everyone's hopes, including the consigner," Moon said. "They were surprised as well."

The poster advertises a May 19, 1955 concert in Raleigh where Presley was lower on the lineup from Hank Snow, Faron Young and other acts.

Both buyer and seller prefer to remain anonymous, but the buyer is from California, Moon said.

The poster was made by the iconic Nashville-based Hatch Show Print, capturing a key edge-of-fame moment for Presley.

Presley was still playing package shows like the "WSM Grand Ole Opry" tour that spring, which would continue into the fall. But his career exploded in early 1956 when "Heartbreak Hotel" became his first No. 1 hit and he made his television debut.

"This is definitely the most I've ever sold an Elvis poster for, and it just backs up his enduring popularity," said Moon. "From the mid-'50s before he was really discovered, that's something collectors really go after."

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi
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