Lot 19: August 1974 Elvis Presley Stage-Worn Black Onyx and Gold Ring Given to Friend and Bodyguard Sam Thompson
October 29, 2016
Memphis, TN, USALive Auction
During the 1970s, Elvis was not only known for his love of jewelry and wearing lots of it, he was also renowned for giving it away at the mere mention of admiration from friends, family and fans. Elvis was attracted to a variety of stones for their meanings or appeal, so given that black onyx is said to provide control and protection, absorbing negative energy, it's no surprise that this 14-karat yellow gold ring with a central round black onyx stone was worn by Elvis on stage. This handsome size 10 ring has stepped gold shoulders and large center stone of black onyx measuring 9 x 7 mm with a total weight of 9.1 grams. It is offered with several letters of provenance, including a letter from Sam Thompson, dated August 15, 1996, in which he states in part:
Beginning August 14th of 1974, Elvis performed at the Showroom at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas for a two (2) week period. I was a guest of Elvis' and one night, after a performance and while upstairs in his suite, my late mother admired a yellow gold man's ring that he was wearing. Elvis immediately took off the ring and gave it to my mother to try on. When the ring proved too large for her hand, Elvis handed the ring to me. I tried it on and it fit and Elvis made a gift of the ring to me as a memento of my visit. The ring is yellow gold with a flat black onyx center and is now in the possession of Tom Salva.
The ring comes in a polished wood presentation box with personalized plaque and is accompanied by an additional letter from Sam Thompson, dated August 18, 2006, in which Sam recounts the same story and further elaborates that Tom Salva acquired the ring from him in 1996, and in 2006, Sam once again confirmed the ring, now in the possession of Stephen Gates, as the very ring gifted to him by Elvis in 1974. A tribute to Elvis' generosity, this ring was cherished by several collectors over the years. The ring is also being sold with a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.
Condition Report: The ring shows signs of moderate to heavy use, with scuffs and a few small scratches on the band. Excellent condition.