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Elvis' two jets expected to make $15m in Graceland auction

By Tim Walker

They can't fly, and they may not even move, but an Elvis Presley super-fan is nonetheless expected to spend as much as $15m (£10m) to buy two of the King's private jets.

Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II, both currently parked outside Graceland, are to be sold at a sealed-bid auction, the Beverly Hills auction house Julien's announced yesterday.

The two jets are no longer airworthy, and have been on display to visitors at Presley's Memphis estate since 1984.

Whoever buys them will also be offered the chance to purchase a patch of land next to Graceland on which to keep the aircraft. Presley purchased Lisa Marie, a 28-seat Convair 880 he named after his daughter, for $250,000 in 1975.

He bought the smaller Hound Dog II in the same year for $900,000 to use while Lisa Marie underwent a $300,000 refurbishment to meet his design specifications.

The upgrades to the aircraft's interior included a luxury bedroom, an executive conference room and a bar, as well as a video system connected to four television screens.

The tail was emblazoned with the King's motto: 'TCB' (Takin' Care of Business). Presley was reportedly excited that the same team of designers had previously worked on a refit of the President's Air Force One aircraft. He took his first flight in the jet, which he called his "Flying Graceland", in November 1975.

The jet was once used to fly the star's dog, Getlow, to Boston for a kidney operation. Its final flight was in 1977, when it transported Presley's wife Priscilla and Lisa Marie to his funeral.

Darren Julien, the chief executive of Julien's, said the loss of the jets was a "missed opportunity" for Graceland, and that the aircraft could be disassembled and shipped elsewhere.

"I can see them going somewhere like China," he said.

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