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August 18,  2017   -   The Express   /   Elvis Express Radio
A RARE jumpsuit worn by Elvis Presley has sold for £190,000 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of his death.

Elvis wore this blue armadillo jumpsuit during a 1975 mini-tour of several American states to raise funds for the victims of a tornado in Mississippi which killed 10 people.

The blue armadillo pattern with silver and blue rhinestones is continued down the side of the legs of the jumpsuit which was designed to cater for Elvis' fuller figure.

It has obvious signs of stage use including staining on the jumpsuit's lining and the jacket's interior lining and arm sweat pads.

The jumpsuit sparked fervent bidding at auction in the USA and was snapped up by a collector for $250,000.

Elvis' jumpsuits were designed by Bill Belew and Gene Douchette of I.C Costume Co in Hollywood who made almost 100 jumpsuits for the singer over the years, although most still
reside in the Graceland Archives.

It is extremely rare for one to come on to the market and this example - which had been in the hands of a private collector for 18 years - is one of the most valuable Elvis jumpsuits
sold at auction.

Elvis wore this jumpsuit at Las Vegas shows on March 21 and March 30, a show in Macon, Georgia on April 24, a show in Florida on April 28 and performances in Georgia,
Louisiana and Tennessee in May 1975.

His tour ended on May 5 at the Mississippi State Fair Coliseum with a benefit concert that raised $100,000.

The idea for the tour came from his manager Colonel Tom Parker when he heard of the devastation caused by the McComb tornado in Mississippi in January 1975 which killed 10
people and caused millions of dollars in damage.

Jeff Marren, consignment director at Graceland Auctions, who sold the jumpsuit, said: “There are a vast number of images of Elvis wearing this very jumpsuit, which he is believed to
have worn on stage at least eight different times.

“Based on the rotation of jumpsuits that we know of, it is highly likely he wore this jumpsuit several more times during March, April and May 1975.

“The Blue Armadillo jumpsuit is a treasure, with its solid provenance and plethora of images of Elvis performing in this very costume, making it the absolute pinnacle of any important
Elvis collection.

“With the vast majority of Elvis Presley stage-worn jumpsuits residing in the permanent collection of the Graceland Archives, never to be sold, the few that are available in the
marketplace have steadily risen in value in recent years.

“Collectors are realising that every time we offer a jumpsuit in one of our auctions, it may be one of their last opportunities to acquire one.”

The world record for an Elvis jumpsuit is the 'Aqua Blue Vine' jumpsuit he wore throughout August and September 1973 at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, and later during his 1974 tour
across the US, which sold for $325,000 in October 2016.

Elvis is one of the best-selling solo artists in music history with estimated record sales of 600 million.

He died aged 42 of a heart attack in the bathroom of his Graceland estate on August 16, 1977.

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