Elvis Presley’s Abandoned Jet In Desert for 40 Years Auctioned for a Record Price
Elvis Presley’s jet recently sold for $260,000 in an auction. The initial price was $100,000, and it increased gradually until an anonymous caller placed the winning bid.
It was a 1962 Lockheed 1329 Jetstar abandoned in the New Mexico desert for almost 40 years. The King of Rock and Roll purchased it for $840,000 on December 22, 1976.
The plane was part of Presley’s personal fleet that transported his backup groups, TCB band, Memphis Mafia, and Col. Tom Parker, on tour across the country.
What’s it like inside Elvis Presley’s jet?
Elvis Presley is considered one of the greatest musicians of all time who rose to fame in the 1950s. His fame earned him titles like “Memphis Flash” and “The King of Rock and Roll.”
As you’d expect, The King would want to get to places in style. Yet, his recently discovered plane would not seem like it.
After all, it has been sitting under the intense elements of the New Mexico desert. Fortunately, it retains numerous amenities fit for royalty.
For example, the interior boasts red velvet upholstery and gold-finished hardware resting on a red shag carpet.
The red velvet couch and passenger seats can accommodate up to nine passengers. Also, it has wood paneling and gold-finished window treatments.
The King’s Jetstar has various features that give the inside a 60s aesthetic.
According to Mecum Auctions, Elvis Presley’s airplane contained an entertainment center with an RCA VCR Player and cassette tape player.
The former plays videos stored in black rectangular VCR tapes. Meanwhile, the latter plays songs from cassette tapes.
Other interesting features include a bathroom with a vanity, a beverage dispenser, a Kenmore microwave, and a meal-prep area.
Moreover, Mecum Auctions provided the following description of The King’s aircraft:
“This JetStar is a truly rare bird with immense appeal and one that will do nothing but shake up the crowds at Mecum’s 2023 Kissimmee auction.”
“Elvis and his effect on the music industry are known the world over, and this opportunity for a new owner to acquire an extravagant piece of his aviation past is a momentous occasion with untold room for flights of rock ‘n’ roll fancy.”
How did the bidding go?
The auction house Mecum Auctions included Elvis Presley’s plane at the Mecum Kissimmee Collector Car auction on January 8, 2023.
The Jetstar was a shining moment for the event because it occurred on The King’s 88th birthday.
His former wife, Priscilla Presley, stood alongside the Mecum auctioneers during the high-profile sale. She shared a few words with the packed auction:
“Elvis loved planes, and this was one of them. This is my first auction, and I’m excited to be here. Today would be Elvis’ 88th birthday.”
She also noted that “This is my first auction,” before the bidding proceeded shortly. The initial price was $100,000, and then it jumped to $150,000.
It settled at $200,000 before eventually rising to $240,000. Eventually, an anonymous telephone bidder put the final bid at $260,000.
The final purchase would likely reach $286,000 when you consider fees. However, the seller, businessman Jim Gagliardi, might feel disappointed by the results.
He bought the jet at a 2017 auction for $430,000 or $498,000, with commission and fees included. As a result, it turned out to be a loss for the seller.
Gagliardi told the Roswell Daily Record he initially planned to ship the plane to his earth-moving equipment dealership in Madera.
He told the newspaper, “I was going to have it as kind of an advertisement, have people go in it and look at it.”
His original plan never materialized, so he had to leave Elvis Presley’s jet at the Roswell Air Center. Also, Gagliardi said that he had never visited the plane in the six years he owned it.