More than 200 Elvis items auctioned

October 14, 2009 (CHICAGO) This Sunday, more than 200 authenticated Elvis items go up for auction in Chicago. There will even be a lock of his famous hair.

The temperature is rising at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers just west of the Loop. It's the final setup day for an Elvis Presley memorabilia auction that will knock your blue suede shoes right off your rock 'n' rollin' feet.

"I'm amazed by it. We have more interest in this auction than any auction we've had in five years," said Leslie Hindman, president and CEO of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

What makes this Elvis collection so special is that it all belonged to a man named Gary Pepper, who had a very special friendship with Elvis Presley.

"He was one of Elvis's best friends," Hindman said. "He was a guy who had cerebral palsy and started his first fan club, and they were friends all of their lives."

All of the items were collected by Pepper or given to him by Elvis. Some are worth a lot of money; others are worth very little. There are many snapshots taken at parties and even photos of Elvis playing football. There is likely no other Elvis collection like it.

"This collection has the best story behind it," said Mary Williams, of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. "Even the original photographs were taken by Gary with a Polaroid Elvis gave him to take pictures."

Elvis died in 1977. Pepper died three years later, and he willed the collection to his longtime nurse, who is now selling it.

Going up for auction are Elvis albums, photographs, autographs, Elvis' clothes and a hunk-a-hunk of Elvis' hair.

How can they be absolutely sure it's the King of Rock's locks?

"This hair was given to Gary Pepper after a haircut Elvis had when he went into the Army," Hindman said.

Suspicious minds might doubt that it's the real thing, but you can see for yourself starting Thursday when the doors open to the public.

The auction begins at 12 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, located at 1338 West Lake Street.

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