A private jet owned by Elvis Presley just went under the hammer at auction, selling for $430,000. There were not too many bids for this piece of history, which went for well below the $2 million to $3.5 million estimate, with no reserve price. We watched the sale live on the GWS Auctions site, which also included other Elvis memorabilia, as well as items related to or once owned by other musicians and celebrities. There was a buyer’s premium of 23 percent. That plus the cost of shipping will bring the price of this jet (lot number 6) to well over half a million dollars.
The jet in question is a 1962 Lockheed Jetstar with documentation. The auction site states that this is the “lost” jet owned by Elvis and his father, Vernon Presley. It has made appearances on television with National Geographic. It has spent most of its time outdoors at a small airport in Roswell, New Mexico, and 30 years of weather has taken its toll on the aircraft.
The seller says that portions of the plane’s interior were “custom designed to Elvis’ specifications.” This includes gold hardware, unique woodwork and inlays, red carpet, and red velvet as far as you can see. The photos include a shot of the private toilet, which has its own cushioned red velvet cover; indeed, a throne fit for a King.
There is plenty of space to stretch out and relax, in addition to a workspace near the back. CRT televisions and what appears to be a microwave are present, as well as a marble trimmed sink with golden fixtures.
The Jetstar is in unrestored condition, having not been altered since Elvis last owned it. The winner of this auction will receive a signed and notarized affidavit from the seller to this effect.
The plane has no engines, and the cockpit and airframe would need a substantial amount of work if this plane is ever to be made airworthy (which is unlikely).
The jet has been privately owned for 35 years, and is supposedly the only aircraft once owned by the King that is still in private hands. The other two custom planes include a 1958 Convair 880 named Lisa Marie after Elvis’ daughter, and another Lockheed Jetstar named the Hound Dog II. They are on permanent display at the Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee, where they are visited by thousands of guests every year. Those planes were also supposed to go up for auction, but after a surge of protest from fans, the keepers of the estate worked out a way to keep them.
Just 204 examples of the Lockheed Jetstar were produced between 1957 and 1978; a project that started as a bid to win a USAF contract. When that fell through, Lockheed continued development and created a small business jet instead.
It is uncertain who won the jet in today’s auction — was it a museum or other attraction hoping to put it on display? Or perhaps a rabid Elvis fan who will lock the it away in a private hangar and live out their rock ‘n roll fantasies aboard the aircraft? Will it be restored or left in its current state? We will check back if we get any news.