Elvis Presley's First Recording Sells for $300,000 at Graceland Auction

Acetate disc of "My Happiness," the only of its kind in existence, was recorded in 1953

Elvis Presley, circa 1956. The singer's first recording, "My Happiness," sold at auction for $300,000 on what would have been his 80th birthday this week. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Elvis Presley's first recording – an acetate disc from 1953 featuring "My Happiness," backed with "That’s When Your Heartaches Begin" – sold for $300,000 at a Graceland auction, The Guardian reportsThe auction took place on January 8th, the date that would have marked the singer's 80th birthday. The prized item, the only one of its kind in existence, was recorded by Presley, who was 18 at the time, at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service on July 18th, 1953. 

Related: Elvis Presley Through the Years

While the recording itself has been long-known to Presley fans, since it has appeared on numerous compilations, its origins remain the subject of debate. As previously reported, Presley's friend Ed Leek claimed to have given the singer four dollars to fund the session, subsequently inheriting the disc when Presley – whose family didn't have a record player – left it behind at his home. Another story suggests the rock legend intended to give the recording to his mother as a gift. "My Happiness" – which was previously estimated at $500,000 by Record Collector magazine – was inherited by Leek's niece, who put it on the auction block. Bidding started at $50,000, and the item was sold to an undisclosed buyer. 

The 80th birthday celebration found hundreds of fans flocking to Graceland, Presley's famed Memphis, Tennessee estate, where they joined the singer's former wife Priscilla, their daughter, Lisa Marie, and Elvis' grandchildren. Other listed auction items, all of which were authenticated by the estate, included Presley's first driver's license (from 1952), a custom watch bearing a Star of David design, a jacket worn in the 1964 film Viva Las Vegas and an autographed 78 r.p.m. copy of his debut Sun Records single, "That's All Right." Graceland previously held a memorabilia auction in August that included Presley's Martin D-28 guitar, his 1976 Cadillac Seville and a personal script for his debut film, 1956's Love Me Tender

The King's 80th birthday also kickstarted a reissue campaign from Legacy Records, which announced a year-long campaign of remastered Presley albums. The first set, The Complete '60s Albums Collection Vol. 1 – which highlights the singer's LPs between 1960 and 1965 – was released this week on iTunes. In addition, Thursday marked the launch of a new website, ElvisTheMusic.com, which features a comprehensive online database. 

There are also other – more lavish – Presley items up for grabs in 2015: Julien's Auctions is offering Presley's private planes, the tricked-out "Lisa Marie" and "Hound Dog II," for sealed bids.