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Flyer Flashback

To mark the Flyer's 20th anniversary, we're looking back at stories from our first two decades.

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Generally speaking, Flyer staffers don't interview each other. But 10 years ago, I was a Flyer intern and Chris Herrington was both a Flyer freelancer and helping the Guernseys auction house with a very special project — what we called the auctioning of Elvis.

In order to raise money for Presley Place, a transitional housing development in downtown Memphis, Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) decided to sell items from its vast archives. They picked things that were either duplicates or considered expendable: for instance, two green (not blue) suede chairs.

It was my first cover story for the Flyer, and I remember being driven to a nondescript storefront in Whitehaven, its windows completely covered.

An organization that hasn't let anyone see the upstairs of Graceland for more than 40 years, EPE wanted complete secrecy as the auction house did its work.

"Many of the items for the October 8th auction in Las Vegas are documents: Elvis' first RCA contract, his address book from 1956, a packet of celebrity Christmas cards. There are also what the archivists call the sexier items: Elvis' black satin-like pajamas, his 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II, his Army fatigues.

"Except for an oasis where a computer and digital camera are set up, the rest of the room, like a garage the night before a garage sale, overflows with old furniture and odd items: Elvis' Palm Springs desk; a globe with a heavy wooden base; one basketball, deflated; two larger-than-life black statues; and a chair from Graceland's fabled Jungle Room."

Not sure where any of those items ended up, but I can tell you exactly where Herrington and I did.

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