ELVIS PRESLEY WANTED: Original Feb. 1956 Wilson, N.C. Concert Poster _ Will pay $30,000 cash. (310-346-1965). Items like this, which ran last week in the classified section of The Wilson Daily Times, tend to draw both attention and skepticism, but although this one sounds too far-fetched to be true, it is no joke.
The ad was placed by Andrew Hawley, 42, a rock 'n' roll memorabilia collector from southern California. Hawley is looking for original concert posters promoting shows by musical stars Elvis Presley, Buddy Holley, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones and, based on the amounts being offered, wants them badly.
As many know, prior to his becoming a rock 'n' roll legend, Elvis Presley performed in two sold-out concerts at the Charles L. Coon High School auditorium in Wilson Feb. 14, 1956. A short time later, on Sept. 9 the same year, more than 70 million television viewers watched Elvis perform on "The Ed Sullivan Show," and the rest, as they say, is history.
Hawley has done research and found that 50 publicity posters promoting the Wilson Elvis show were distributed by Hatch Shop Print of Nashville, Tenn. They were printed on cardboard measuring 22 by 28 inches and likely nailed to utility poles, warehouses, billboards and other places around town prior to the show.
Afterwards, most of them they were probably torn down or destroyed by the weather, but for anyone who may have grabbed one as a souvenir and kept it, this could be your lucky day. Hawley has had reasonable success thus far in obtaining his posters.
"I got an Elvis poster from someone in Tupelo, Miss., (Elvis' birthplace) and a Buddy Holly one from a Madison, Wis., show in 1958," he said.
He paid $30,000 for the Elvis poster and $10,000 for Buddy Holly's. Hawley has received several calls about the Wilson ad, mainly from people who said they attended the Wilson Elvis concert, but no posters yet. As mentioned earlier, Hawley is also interested in The Rolling Stones.
"There were three Rolling Stones concerts in North Carolina in 1965 — Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro," he said. "I've seen all of these posters, and they're beautiful."
He said 150 were printed for each show, and he is offering $10,000 for one of those as well. Hawley said if anyone calls with an Elvis or Rolling Stones poster, he will come in person to get it and present the owner with $30,000 for Elvis or $10,000 for the Stones.