Elvis Memorabilia Lawsuit Resurrected by Appeals Court

Heirs of Presley's friend seek proceeds from auctioned items

Elvis Presley's red suede jacket worn on the "Jailhouse Rock" 45 cover on display in New York City.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
August 1, 2012 2:55 PM ET

An appeals court yesterday allowed the heirs of a friend of Elvis Presley's to go forward with a lawsuit over Elvis memorabilia they claimed was stolen and auctioned off, Reuters reports. John Tate and Normal Deeble, the heirs to Presley pal and fan club president Sterling Gary Pepper, had filed the lawsuit in 2009 over $218,000 in auction proceeds. The pair, taking on the suit in place of their late cousin, accused Pepper's former caretaker Nancy Pease White of stealing the memorabilia when Pepper moved to a disabled home.

An Iowa district court had ruled Pepper's family took too long to file the lawsuit and did not block the auction, which pulled in $1,400 for two dried white roses from Presley's funeral, $15,000 for hair that was cut when Elvis enlisted in the Army and $28,000 for a red suede shirt worn by Elvis.

Deeble told the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that her family was unaware of the memorabilia's existence and thus were unable to file the lawsuit earlier, and a three-judge panel revived revived the case and sent back to the lower court. The $218,000 in proceeds, along with a painting of Elvis and wife Priscilla Presley, are being held by a third party while the case proceeds.

Last month, Elvis' original crypt was yanked from the auction block, with bids starting at $100,000.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Love Is the Answer”

Utopia | 1977

The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

More Song Stories entries »