Briefs reprieve: Elvis Presley's dirty underpants fail to sell at auction


Matilda Battersby
Monday 10 September 2012 15:47 BST

Screaming fans might once have thrown their knickers at him, but the appeal of the King of Pop Elvis Presley isn’t quite as enduring as expected judging by the failure of his soiled undies to sell at auction.

The light blue briefs, unwashed and slightly stained in the crotch area, were expected to fetch £10,000 at Omega Auctions in Stockport over the weekend.

But despite attracting bids of £5,000, no buyer was prepared to meet the reserve price of £7,000.

The underpants had attracted considerable interest prior to the auction because they were worn by Presley under one of his famous while jumpsuits during a 1977 concert.

The staining suggests a rather less sexy by-product of Presley’s trademark hip swivelling.

The underpants were on sale among 100 other items of Elvis memorabilia auctioned to mark 35 years since his death.

A Bible belonging to Presley was the star lot, fetching £59,000. The gold embossed book was a Christmas gift from his Uncle Vester and Aunt Clettes during his first year in Gracelands in 1957.

The 1,600 page bible contains the singer’s handwritten notes, such as: "To judge a man by his weakest link or deed is like judging the power of the ocean by one wave."

The Bible was bought by an unnamed British-based American telephone bidder after a bidding war broke out between three buyers.

A pair of shoes worn by the King went for £6,500 and a movie contract for 1962 film “Follow That Dream” bearing his signature fetched £6,000.

Karen Fairweather, sales room manager at Omega Auctions, told press: "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."

The auction gleaned more than £100,000 on behalf of a single British collector.

It was a surprise that Presley's underpants went unsold because intimate Elvis memorabilia with has done well over the years, with one of his belts selling for $66,000. A lock of Presley's hair fetched a reported $18,300 at a Chicago auction in 2009.

It has also been a good year for underwear sales belonging to other famous figures.

Undergarments worn by Marilyn Monroe in the 1954 film River of No Return fetched £28,300 at an auction in LA earlier this year. A pair of Queen Elizabeth's bloomers were also reportedly sold for £11,400. And in May, a pair of monogrammed boxer shorts made in 1894 for former Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph to go riding, sold for nearly £5,000 in Vienna.

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