Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Presley recording shakes up auction

The original 78rpm recording of That's Alright (Mama) by Elvis Presley is up for auction in Dublin (AP)

The original recording of Elvis Presley's first radio hit could leave collectors all shook up when it goes under the hammer this month.

Rock and roll museums around the world, including the Graceland estate where the King lived, are expected to bid for the vinyl that kick-started his career almost six decades ago.

Lot 62, a 1954 recording of That's All Right (Mama), is the highlight of the pop and rock memorabilia auction in the RDS in Dublin on Sunday March 24. It is expected to fetch between 50,000 euro and 70,000 euro.

Ian Whyte, of Whyte & Sons Auctioneers Ltd, revealed the seller of the double-side single is a private collector based in Ireland who bought it in 1998 for £18,000 (sterling).

"I think he got it cheap at the time, so we're not even sure of the exact value of it now," he said. "A similar recording he gave to his mother went up for sale a few years ago and the asking price was a million euro, but it was pulled by the seller. We're over the moon about it. I never thought we would have Elvis's first recording. It's an amazing thing.

"It will be very interesting to see what happens on the actual day. I would be surprised if Graceland did not bid for it, or other museums around the world are heavy hitters as well."

The 78 rpm was recorded on July 5 1954, by a young and unknown Presley, who had walked into the offices of Sun Records and the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee, owned by Sam Phillips.

The vinyl, Presley's first commercial single, is considered to be one of the most important foundation stones of rock and roll. The original track will be played in the salesroom as the auction is broadcast live on the internet for international bids for the unique recording.

Other highlights in the sale include a watch given by Presley to his manager, one of his famous "Taking Care Of Business" pendants and autographs from The Beatles on an Aer Lingus menu as they flew from their only appearance in Dublin.

Ireland's rich musical heritage will also be celebrated with memorabilia from U2, Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy, while chairs signed by Nick Seymour, James Morrison, Michael Flatley and Daniel O'Donnell are set to raise funds for the Irish Parkinson's Disease charity.