I'll admit: When last offered the opportunity to view in person an up-for-auction item warehoused at our 'cross-the-street neighbor Heritage Auction Galleries, I rushed right over -- sure, like I'd miss the chance to touch Captain Kirk's hem. But I had to pass on today's invite -- a chance to get up close and person with a Mason jar full of Elvis Presley's hair. It's a last-minute addition to Heritage's Ultimate Elvis Auction, which takes place Saturday in Memphis. The hair's headed there tomorrow.
Doug Norwine, who runs Heritage's Music & Entertainment department, says the jar arrived at Oak Lawn HQ only yesterday -- in a Brink's truck, no less. "Like it's the Hope Diamond," he tells Unfair Park. "Man, I love our pop culture."
This certainly isn't the first time Presley's locks o' (burnin') love have been put on the auction block; back in October, strands said to have been shorn from his head right before he went into the Army in '58 sold at a Chicago auction for $18,300. No idea from which period these strands date, but they do come from the collection of Memphis hairdresser Homer M. Gilleland, who famously cut the King's hair from 'round '57 till Elvis's death 20 years later. Right now, bid's at $12 thou -- that's one expensive merkin-in-the-makin'.
"People pass down hair all the time -- Lincoln's, Washington's -- so it's not so much a morbid curiosity as it is a historical tradition," Norwine says. "The bottom line is people pay a lot of money for Elvis's hair. So you may be shaking your head, but there's money in them thar hairs."