Elvis Presley's piano expected to nab $1 mil

Instrument, over 270 items part of Aug. 14 Memphis auction

Elvis Presley's white grand piano and his 1955 contract with RCA Records are going up for auction in Memphis next month, with the piano expected to fetch more than $1 million, auctioneers said on Monday.

The purchase agreement for the King of Rock 'n' Roll's Graceland mansion, and a letter Presley wrote in 1955 to his then girlfriend shortly after entering the U.S. army, are also among the highlights of the 270-lot Elvis Memorabilia auction on Aug. 14.

The white Knabe piano was owned and played by Presley for a decade. The singer bought it in 1957 from the Ellis auditorium in Memphis where it had been played by visiting gospel performers for more than 20 years.

The piano was placed in Graceland's music room until 1969.

Doug Norwine, director of music & entertainment at Heritage Auctions said the piano was "an emotionally-charged prized possession of the King himself."

The singer's personal services contract with RCA Records, signed by Presley, his father and his manager Colonel Tom Parker, is expected to fetch more than $150,000.

Norwine said the contract marked the transformation of Presley from a popular southern act on the Sun Records label to an international superstar.

The 1957 purchase agreement for Graceland is expected to fetch $35,000, and Presley's four-page handwritten letter to sweetheart Anita Wood in 1958 has an estimate of $75,000.

Other items include Presley's personal address and phone book, a pair of custom gold-framed sunglasses and his gun.

Presley died in 1977 at the age of 42 from heart problems after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs. Demand for his memorabilia remains strong with a single lock of his hair selling for $18,300 at auction last year.
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