Associated Press - 12/29/1999
Grand Forks, N.D. (AP) - Ross Rolshoven says it was a lucky shopping spree and not his work as a private investigator that led him to a pair of pants worn by Elvis Presley.
Rolshoven bought the pants at the Bargains Galore store in Dilworth, Minn, while shopping for a Halloween costume earlier this year. The store carries costumes from Hollywood filmmakers.
Rolshoven said he found two military-style uniform jackets made of heavy wool, and started looking for a pair of pants to go with one of the jackets.
"It was leafing through those, and I came across one pair of pants with a tag that was folded up," he said. He unfolded the tag and saw the words 'Elvis Presley.'
The tag on the pants says 'Elvis Presley; Western Costume Co. Hollywood; No. 2505-3.'
"It was standing in the store and I looked around to see if 'Candid Camera' was there," Rolshoven recalled.
Rolshoven said he paid $50 for the pants. His friend Roger Sannes, who runs an antique business, expects he could sell them for $5,000 or more.
Elvis memorabilia has been a hot commodity for collectors. His sixth-grade report card fetched $8,000 at an auction in Las Vegas in October, and a collector paid $113,000 for one of his capes.
Rolshoven had no doubt that he would sell the pants. "I like Elvis but I'm not a huge fan," he said. "It (the money) will go toward helping pay off my property taxes."
When he got the pants home, Rolshoven did some research and found the pants pictured in a book about Elvis called 'Elvis Day by Day' by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen.
Presley wore the pale yellow pants with gold braid down the sides in the movie 'Frankie and Johnny.' The movie, which opened in 1966, was filmed in the spring of 1965, when Elvis was 30 years old.
In the book picture, Elvis is wearing the pants with a band-leader-style jacket. After seeing the picture, Rolshoven called a friend in Fargo and sent him back to Bargains Galore to look for the jacket. It wasn't there.
Sannes, who planned to take Elvis' pants to an antique show in Minneapolis, has been having a little fun with them.
The going rate for spending the night with Elvis' pants is $130, he joked.