The new owner of Elvis Presley’s famous 24-carot gold plated is no longer a secret. Hard Rock International has fessed up. They were thrilled to pay $600,000 for the most important piano in Presley’s history.
At the recent Icons & Idols: Rock n’ Roll Auction event at Julien’s Auctions Beverly Hills, Hard Rock paid the big bucks to acquire its 80,000th piece — Elvis Presley’s 24-karat gold leaf grand piano. Other items auctioned during the Nov. 7, 2015 event was John Lennon’s Gibson acoustic guitar for $2,410,000, Whitney Houston’s credit card application, a lock of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain’s hair, and a sweater worn by Cobain.
Hard Rock is famous for their priceless collection of invaluable memorabilia pieces including handwritten lyrics, clothing and instruments from new and legendary music stars like Taylor Swift, Imagine Dragons, The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Jimi Hendrix and many more.
“Elvis Presley’s iconic gold piano has now become a cornerstone addition to our world-famous collection, and we couldn’t be happier to celebrate such a milestone with The King’s prized possession,” said Hamish Dodds, Chief Executive Officer at Hard Rock International. “Hard Rock has been curating its priceless music memorabilia collection and sharing with guests around the world for more than 43 years, and Elvis’ piano is an important piece of music history that we can’t wait to share with our guests.”
Elvis first bought the grand piano as a gift for his mother in 1955 from the Dixon Myers Auditorium (now known as the Cook Convention Center) in Memphis, Tennessee. The original finish was walnut and the piano was so large, it would not fit in the Presley’s apartment. It was moved into the family’s new home on Audobon Street and later delivered to Graceland when Elvis bought the home in 1957.
In 1958, Elvis was drafted into the Army and was stationed in Ft. Hood, near Killeen, Texas for basic training. While his parents, Vernon and Gladys came to live nearby while he was training, she soon became ill and was sent back to Memphis for treatment. After her death in August, Elvis had the piano moved out of the music room at Graceland and placed in storage.
Elvis was later transferred to Germany and met his future wife, Priscilla Beaulieu, then a 14-year-old. After an eight year courtship the couple married in 1967. For their first wedding anniversary gift to Elvis, Priscilla had the piano taken out of storage and adorned with 24 karat gold-leaf. It was placed back into the music room at Graceland where Elvis enjoyed it until his death on August 16, 1977.
Hard Rock will be making plans to acquire the piano which has been on exhibition at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. The piano included the matching bench, a signed letter from C.B. Coltharp who serviced, tuned and moved the piano, and a signed letter from Thomas A. Hames from Hames and Sons Piano Craftsman who tuned and installed new hammers and dampers in the piano. The piano also comes with various bills of sale and images of the piano at Graceland.