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October 14, 2009

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Elvis' hair, clothes and records go up for auction

THE King may be dead, but that doesn't mean it's too late to run your fingers through his hair.

Elvis Presley's hair, at least a clump of hair that Presley may have lost to an Army barber when he went into the service back in 1958, is going on the auction block this Sunday at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago.

The hair is part of a collection of more than 200 items that belonged to or are associated with Presley. There are clothes he wore, scarves he threw to screaming fans - who, judging by the yellow sweat stains, never washed them - and Christmas cards he sent. And there are lots of records, some he kept in his own jukebox, and other memorabilia ranging from Elvis dolls to Elvis watches to Elvis Pez dispensers.

All the items belonged to Gary Pepper. No Hound Dog, Pepper was not only a huge Presley fan and president of a Presley fan club, but a close friend, as many of the photographs of the two together suggest.

Pepper, who had cerebral palsy, died in 1980, three years after Presley, and left his collection to his nurse, who is putting the items up for auction, said Mary Williams, of the auction house.

But it is clearly the hair that has generated the most buzz.

Like a lot of the items in Pepper's collection, the hair was a gift from Presley to Pepper, who in turn sent a strand or two to appreciative Presley fans from time to time but didn't come close to exhausting his supply.

She said Pepper died without telling anyone exactly where the hair came from or when it was cut, but she said it appears that it was clipped during Presley's stint in the Army or around that time.

Williams said a few years back some of Presley's hair that had been collected by his barber was put up for bid and sold for US$115,000.


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