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Monday, May 16, 2022

Elvis Airplane Sold to Fan For $500,000

Even deceased, Elvis Presley has bestowed a local auction house with celebrity status. GWS Auctions Inc. in Agoura Hills made international news twice last month – first when it announced it would sell Presley’s private jet at a live but closed auction in Beverly Hills and online – and again after the 1962 Lockheed Jetstar sold. “It was definitely not the most expensive item we’ve sold,” said Brigitte Kruse, co-owner and lead auctioneer. “But the whole experience – we gave over 1,500 interviews in less than six days – as far as exposure and my dealing with the media, this has by far taken the cake. It was the number one story in the world for three days straight.” Kruse said she was interviewed for the first part of the story by Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and media outlets from about 50 countries. Stories ran on major news outlets including the Associated Press, USA Today, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox News and Billboard Magazine. GWS sold the plane on May 27 for nearly $500,000, or $430,000 if the buyer’s premium is excluded. The buyer is a private collector, but did not want his name nor his plans for the airplane to be made public, Kruse said. The jet was owned by Presley and his father, Vernon Presley. They bought the aircraft in 1976 and registered it the following year, Kruse said. Elvis Presley died in August 1977, and the father died less than two years later. It comes with a custom interior that includes red velvet seats and red carpet, and is the only jet owned by the rock singer in private hands. Presley’s other two jets are at the Elvis Presley Museum in Memphis, Tenn. The plane has no engine and the cockpit has never been restored. Kruse said she was told the plane was flown only once. Still, about 15 interested buyers came to the auction location while 160,000 bid online. What the jet sold for was substantially less than the $2 million to $3.5 million estimated value on the GWS website. That was because the auction house had to post an estimated value, and it forecasted the plane’s potential income as a public exhibit, Kruse explained. “This plane is going to generate a lot of money wherever it ends up,” she said. The artifact attracted large numbers of visitors while at a Roswell, N. M. airport for the past 35 years. The buyer will supposedly go public with his name and plans for the plane, Kruse said. “It will be announced at a later time, and it will be a very, very big deal,” she added. “It will be very exciting to people in our area.” – Carol Lawrence

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