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Rose Mary
By Rosemary McKittrick
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Elvis Presley; signed photo; wearing his "World's Championship Attendance Record." belt; 11 by 14 inches; sold for $2,866. Photo courtesy of Fraser's Auctions.
For the final night of Elvis Presley's engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas on Sept. 7, 1970, the hotel presented Elvis with a gold, boxing belt for "World's Championship Attendance Record."

For the rest of his life Elvis wore the belt on-and-off during performances.

The music legend sang his first concert at The International in 1969 to a sold out crowd.

During regular performances at the hotel over the next seven years Elvis sang 837 consecutive, sold-out concerts to 2.5 million people.

When Elvis was in town it was estimated one out every two people heard him sing.

Audiences loved his new studded, sequined jumpsuits and matching capes. They loved how Elvis fed off their excitement. They loved the feeling he poured into his songs. For fans--Elvis was pure magic.

“There are several unbelievable things about Elvis, but the most incredible is his staying power in a world where meteoric careers fade like shooting stars,” Newsweek Magazine said about his Vegas concerts.

Dec. 2-12, 1976, ended up being his last engagement in Vegas Elvis was scheduled for more but died of a heart attack on Aug. 16, 1977, at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn.

Elvis was the kind of star that appears in the sky only a few times in a century, the kind that flickers brightly and disappears.

“You have no idea how great he is, really you don’t. You have no comprehension - it’s absolutely impossible. I can’t tell you why he’s so great, but he is. He’s sensational,” record producer and songwriter Phil Spector said.

Rock n’ roll. Gospels. Hymns. Ballads. Blues. Elvis could seemingly do it all.

His music oozed life and was hard to pigeonhole.

When The Beatles toured America in 1965 they were eager to meet Elvis. They got together in his Bel Air home. At first Elvis seemed indifferent to their presence. He sat watching TV.

Then Elvis picked up his bass guitar and began playing. John Lennon and Paul McCartney also picked up guitars and played along with him. That was the opening.

By the time The Beatles left the connection was made. Lennon invited Elvis to get together with them again before their return to England, but it never happened.

Lennon later confided to Elvis close friend Jerry Schilling that Elvis seemed isolated and disaffected. His confidence seemed to be fading.

It wasn’t an easy visit for Elvis either. Since The Beatles 1964 invasion, the group was knocking him off the charts and breaking his sales records.

The Beatles were the rising stars on the horizon. Elvis fans were still loyal but the hearts of America’s youth were with groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

It was hard for Elvis to accept. He had paved the way for these groups and they were passing him by.

Some say his death resurrected his career. People were reminded that Elvis was a musical pioneer. He inspired not only fans but also musicians like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Janis Joplin and Elton John.

On Sept. 17, Fraser’s Auctions in London, England, closed its mail auction of autographs and memorabilia. Offered in the sale was a signed, autograph photo of Elvis sporting his "World's Championship Attendance Record." belt. The photo sold for $2,866.

Here are some current values for other well-known autograph lots sold in the auction.


Agatha Christie; signed program for her play “Witness for the Prosecution;” 1966; $518.

Barack Obama and Michelle; signed photo; 10 inches by 8 inches; $557.

Barack Obama; signed photo; 10 inches by 8 inches; $1,114.

Karl Marx; signed album page; mounted together with reproduction portrait photo; $7,803.

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