The Zippin Pippin, the most prominent and historic ride at Libertyland, sold for $2,500 today at public auction. The historic roller coaster, reportedly Elvis Presley's favorite ride, had been in operation since 1923. It was among an estimated 100 items Mid-South Fair officials put up for auction Wednesday as they prepare to close the park and sell off the assets to recoup losses.
Topping the money list was the Kamikazi, which sold for $190,000, followed by the Rebellion at $155,000. The park's other roller coaster, the Revolution, sold for $55,000.
About 75 people paid the $10 fee to take part in the auction that started around 10:30 a.m. and wrapped up shortly after 3 p.m. The auction was conducted by Norton Auctioneers of Coldwater, Mich., which specializes in the auction and appraisal of amusement parks, carnivals, Halloween attractions, zoos, water parks and other tourist attractions. Fair and auction officials had estimated that the sale could bring in as much as $1 million. Billy Orr, president and CEO of the Mid-South Fair, said after the auction they expected the sales total to be close to that figure. A final tally was not expected until Thursday. Those buying the items have 30 days to remove them from the park, Orr said.
Updated with info on the buyers:
Owners of a small museum wanted a piece of Elvis Presley's favourite amusement park ride but ended up instead with the whole thing - a roller coaster called the Zippin Pippin.
The Pippin was bought by the city's park commission in 1947. Most of the superstructure for its 850 metres of track was replaced over the years but it's still billed as one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the country. The ride was a top attraction at Libertyland, a 30-year-old amusement park Presley often rented for private parties.
Libertyland is closing and its rides and concession stands were sold at auction Wednesday.
Robert Reynolds and Stephen Shutts, partners in a travelling museum called the Honky Tonk Hall of Fame & Rock-N-Roll Roadshow, showed up planning to bid on one of the roller coaster cars.
Instead, they bought the whole Pippin for $2,500 US. It went cheap because the sale agreement gives the buyer a month to take it down and haul it away.
Reynolds said he had not yet decided what they will do with the Pippin.
"There's 30 days to figure it out. . . . The car is all we needed," he said.
Elvis' Favorite Ride Sells For $ 2,500June 22, 2006 | Other Source:Elvis Unlimited
Crawfish wrote on June 22, 2006
What the hell is going on over there! Zippin Pippin reached $2,500. God that's about £1,800!!!! Words fail me. We have lost another Elvis memory ... and to what ... and for peanuts!! Where is it going please?
Teacher wrote on June 22, 2006
From the Commercial Appeal: Robert Reynolds and Stephen Shutts, partners in a traveling museum of music memorabilia, wanted to buy a car from Elvis Presley's favorite roller coaster, the Zippin Pippin. Instead, for $2,500 they bought the entire coaster Wednesday at the Mid-South Fair's auction of Libertyland rides and equipment. "You think we can fit that in my car?" said Reynolds, also the bass player for the Grammy-winning band the Mavericks. Reynolds and Shutts, partners in the Honky Tonk Hall of Fame & Rock-N-Roll Roadshow museum on wheels, have 30 days to figure out how to remove the historic wooden coaster from the grounds of the shut-down park. They'll have company in that challenge, after Michigan-based Norton Auctioneers sold off nearly 200 items, including the Kamikaze ($170,000), the Rebellion ($155,000) and the Revolution ($50,000). The auction sales total was estimated at $1 million, the fair said. The Zippin Pippin, billed as the country's second-oldest operating wooden coaster, was the auction's star attraction and virtually the last item sold. But it held little value for most buyers, because of the logistical nightmare of removing the ride, re-assembling it elsewhere and keeping it running. The buyers in attendance, many from out of state, were generally seeking rides and equipment that could be used at other amusement parks, fairs and traveling shows. Reynolds and Shutts, meanwhile, are into music and its lore. "I don't know what we're going to do," said Reynolds, who earlier in the day bought the park's Waddey log cabin, built in 1820, for $600. "There's 30 days to figure it out. We might look into a preservation situation, maybe find out if there is a roller coaster association or anything like that, that would have an interest ... "The car is all we needed." Reynolds and Shutts surely would love to load up a coaster car and head back to Nashville, but those weren't the rules. "Everything's supposed to go," said fair general manager Billy Orr. Fair officials shut down Libertyland late last year, after several seasons of falling attendance and financial losses. They can use the proceeds on the fair, which is set for its 150th edition, Sept. 21-Oct. 1. The auction -- which included everything from nacho warmers to Whac-A-Mole games -- took more than four hours. In another musical connection, the auctioneer was Leroy Van Dyke, a veteran country singer whose best-known hits were "The Auctioneer" and "Walk on By." The auction drew some locals. Native Memphian Ronald Maxwell was at the park on business, buying equipment for his concessions business. But he also recalled riding the Zippin Pippin as a kid, for a nickel a shot, 50 years ago. "I'd either sit in the front or sit in the back," said Maxwell, 60. "That was the best seat -- either the front seat or the very back seat, because that would whip you around a lot." Some members of Save Libertyland, the grassroots group that failed in a legal fight to stop the auction, also paid their $10 entry fee to see the show. Overhearing the auction company introduce a salad bar, "sneeze-guard and all," group founder Denise Parkinson quipped, "I guess we should start an effort to save the sneeze-guards." Save Libertyland's Mike McCarthy shot footage for his documentary on the park's demise. "I think we've got an ending," he said. "A bad one."