A 10-carat diamond ring given to an Asheville man by Elvis Presley during his 1975 concert here will be auctioned in Florida.
Throughout the realm of Elvis fans, the news is out — the King's ring is for sale.
Big, bold and encrusted with 19 diamonds of various sizes and cuts, it's a piece of jewelry that only a renowned entertainer like Presley would wear, and it's being auctioned Dec. 6 in Tallahassee by Affiliated Auction Galleries on Apalachee Parkway.
“That ring has gotten a tremendous amount of press in the UK, Europe and Asia,” said Malcolm Mason, Affiliated's director of operations. He expects bidders from around the world.
“It is definitely a one-of-a-kind type of entertainment memorabilia,” Mason added.
Included are all the news clippings, ticket stubs, photos and consigner Lloyd Perry's account of how he received it as a gift in Asheville, the night of July 24, 1975, when Elvis performed there — the last stop of the singer's concert tour at the time.
The ring is a gold casting, size 11, and has a total 10 carats' worth of diamonds. The stones range in size from 0.44 to1.39 carats. The ring weighs 27.2 grams.
Presley was known for his taste in unique jewelry items, but Mason said it's not known exactly who made the ring or where the King got it.
Just as amazing is how Perry got it. He and friends were in the front row in Asheville that night and at one point several songs into the show, Elvis paused to toss a rather well-worn Gibson guitar toward the front row. Perry and the guy next to him caught it. They took turns playing with it.
“Although the other guy kept the guitar, I think Elvis wanted me to have it,” Perry says in his account of that night. “After a couple more songs, all of a sudden my wife nudged me and said ‘Elvis is motioning for you to come to the stage.' Well, I looked up and went to the stage to shake hands with him, and to my absolute surprise, he was trying to put this ring on my pinky finger.
“I got him to put it on my ring finger while I was shaking like a leaf. I then went back and sat down,” he said, adding that the audience was going wild. “Afterwards Elvis walked back across the stage, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Aw, what's $16,000?' “
Mason says memorabilia from the entertainment world is one of the big segments of the auction business, and Affiliated sells its share of items from screen and stage. Perry contacted the Tallahassee firm about selling the ring for him and the date was set.
If you're interested, you can bid in person, by phone or submit an absentee bid in advance. There are options for bidding via the Internet as well.