Elvis Presley‘s first recording – an acetate disc cut at Sun Records studio Memphis Recording Service on July 18th, 1953 – is headed to an auction that will take place at Graceland, the late singer’s famed Memphis estate, on January 8th, the date that would have been his 80th birthday. According to The New York Times, the item, which features “My Happiness,” backed with “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” is the only copy of its kind in existence.
The origins of the recording, which has appeared on several compilations, are the subject of debate. One oft-disputed story claims that Presley recorded the disc as a present for his mother; but the singer ended up giving the item to his friend Ed Leek, who claimed to have given Presley four dollars to pay for the session. Although Graceland hasn’t offered an auction estimate for the disc, Record Collector magazine previously listed it at $500,000.
Other listed items in the January auction, all of which have been authenticated by Graceland, include Presley’s first driver’s license (from 1952), a signed contract for a “Louisiana Hayride” radio show appearance in 1955 and an autographed 78 r.p.m. copy of Presley’s debut Sun Records single, “That’s All Right” (also from the Leek collection). All of the items are from private collectors, not Graceland’s own collection.
This is Graceland’s second memorabilia auction, following an event in August that featured Presley’s Martin D-28 guitar, 1976 Cadillac Seville and a personal copy of the original script for his debut film, Love Me Tender, which came out in 1956.