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Sale of Elvis' American Eagle Concert Cape Fails to Fly


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Elvis is still in the house—the online auction house, that is.
 
The full-length, bejeweled cape made for Elvis Presley’s 1973 Aloha From Hawaii concert failed to sell in a week-long auction that ended March 20.
 
While bidding on the cape topped $90,000, it fell short of the reserve price set by the seller, according to the Boston-based auction house RR Auctions. The seller and the highest bidder are now trying to negotiate a price.
 
A “reserve price” is the minimum amount the owner of an item up for auction will accept as the winning bid. Reserve prices allow auctioneers to generate interest among bidders by setting lower opening prices than sellers will accept. They are disliked by bidders for obscuring true minimum prices and ruining the chances of winning an auction at a bargain price.
 
The opening price for the cape was $10,000. The reserve price was not disclosed.
 
The cape is heavily inlaid with semi-precious stones arranged in the form of an American eagle. It weighs 12 pounds and proved to be too heavy for Presley to wear. The cape’s weight threatened to pull him over backwards in rehearsal. So the cape’s designer, the renowned costume maker Bill Belew, quickly made the shorter, lighter version of the cape that Presley actually wore during the concert.
 
The Aloha from Hawaii concert took place at the Honolulu International Center (now known as the Neal S. Blaisdell Center) on Jan. 14, 1973. It was broadcast around the world via satellite, a novelty for television at the time.
 

Updated March 21, 5:13 p.m.

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Honolulu Magazine March 2017
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