DescriptionFrom the King's Personal Barber: A Large Quantity of the Hair That Fascinated the World for Decades. An incredibly rare opportunity for the serious Elvis Presley collector. We offer not just a strand or two, not just a small lock, but uncounted thousands of strands cut from that trademark Presley pompadour by his personal hair stylist, Homer M. Gilleland, contained in a 2" x 3.5" jar. Elvis Presley's hairstyle, though it evolved a bit through the years, was as much a part of his "brand" as the swiveling hips, curling lips, and versatile vocal stylings. At the beginning of his career, he made the decision to dye his mousy blond hair a deep black and fashion it in a ducktail with a long pompadour front and long sideburns. This style was instantly copied by millions of young men worldwide. Adolescent girls (of all ages) also loved his hair and were horrified when, on March 25, 1958, Elvis received his famous first G.I. haircut after which he remarked, "Hair today, gone tomorrow" to the press. A recent survey taken in the U.K. concluded that, even in 2010, a full 50% of men favor Elvis's trademark "quiff" (British slang for a prominent forelock) and sideburns over any other hairstyle.
Throughout his 20-plus year career, Elvis had one preferred personal hair colorist and stylist. Homer M. Gilleland worked at Goldsmith's Department Store in Memphis as a hairdresser; he was known to his clientele as "Mr. Gill" and one of his regular customers was Gladys Presley. After achieving his early fame, Elvis asked his mother's hairdresser to cut his hair; thus began a long and deeply personal relationship. Gilleland was given a credit card so he could travel to anywhere in the world where Elvis needed a color touchup or a trim. Throughout the years, he saved a quantity of the hair that he cut from the head of the King. One large quantity of that hair was gifted to one of his best friends, Thomas Morgan, Jr., who was not only his friend but an old friend of Elvis himself. Morgan had grown up in Memphis knowing the young Elvis, and later, as Administrative Assistant to the Sheriff of Shelby County (Memphis) Tennessee, would be the person who was responsible for commissioning Elvis as a Special Deputy. Morgan, following the untimely death of Presley and at the request of Elvis's father, would coordinate the Sheriff's Department's duties for security at the funeral and at Graceland. Gilleland chose to give Morgan such a large group of Elvis's hair clippings because of their mutual friendship with, and love for, the King. Gilleland passed away in May 1995.
This lot is from that gift given by "Mr. Gill" to Tom Morgan and includes a notarized Letter of Authenticity from Morgan, the text of which is seen below. John Reznikoff of University Archives not only owns one of the world's finest collections of hair, but is a known and trusted expert in this elite and fascinating field of collecting. He has confirmed that he believes this sample is unequivocally authentic as stated, and has supplied a letter to that effect. Both of these letters are included with this lot. Photocopies of the below-mentioned airplane ticket receipts are also included.
To Whom It May Concern:
Reference: Mr. Homer M. Gilleland (Elvis Presley's Personal Hair Stylist & Hair Clippings)
Mr. Gill was a personal hair stylist for over twenty years to the late Elvis Aaron Presley. Mr. Gill maintained a business as well as a personal friendly relationship with Elvis until his death on August 16, 1977. During his employment, Elvis gave Mr. Gill numerous gifts of clothing (including the Flame Jumpsuit), jewelry (a TCB necklace), a 1972 Lincoln Mark IV, and a home on Jean Drive in Memphis, Tennessee. Mr. Gill was born in North Carolina in 1913 and attended school in Kansas City. Later he joined the Merchant Navy and after his enlistment, he had several jobs before attending beauty school in 1937. He worked at New York's Antoinne School and was later given a job starting beauty schools in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Memphis. Gill settled in Memphis and worked as a hairdresser at Goldsmith's Department Store. His job at Goldsmith's introduced him to the Presley family. Elvis' mother, Gladys Presley, had her hair done by one of Mr. Gill's colleagues. Mr. Gill later went on to cut Gladys' and Vernon Presley's hair at their Audobon Drive home in Memphis. This led to Mr. Gill beginning a personal and business relationship with Elvis and started Mr. Gill in attending to Elvis' needs wherever he traveled. Mr. Gill traveled frequently while Elvis was on tour to color, cut and style his hair from the late fifties to May of 1976. This was well documented by the airline receipts issued by credit card for the travel occurred to perform the styling services requested by Elvis. This travel was across the United States over a period of many years. See attached airline receipts purchased by Elvis for Mr. Gill to fly him to various cities while on tour. Some of his travels included when Mr. Gill accompanied Elvis to Hawaii on January 10, 1973 to cut and style his hair for the "Aloha Special" satellite broadcast. After doing Elvis' hair on January 13, Elvis gave Mr. Gill two tickets for the show. Another airline ticket documents when Mr. Gill traveled to New York City to style and cut Elvis' hair for the Madison Square Show. I was a close personal friend and acquaintance of Homer Gilleland up until his death in May of 1995. During this time, I had visited in his home on Jean Drive in Memphis and viewed many of his personal gifts and mementos that he had received from Elvis and Vernon Presley during the time he worked for Elvis. One of his prize possessions was a bag of hair clippings that he had saved over many years while cutting and stylizing Elvis' hair. He ascertained at this time that this bag of hair clippings were personally saved by him and he verified to me with his solemn oath that this bag of hair clippings were actually Elvis' hair. Prior to Mr. Gill's death, he gave me this bag of hair clippings because of our close friendship and mutual love of Elvis. At this time, these hair clippings given to me from Mr. Gill have been in my sole possession up to this date. I swear and affirm that the above statement is true. I do solemnly swear and attest that the hair clippings are actually from Elvis Aaron Presley and were given to me by Mr. Homer Gilleland and are my sole property
What an amazing lot to close out Heritage's Ultimate Elvis Auction. It's been 75 years since he was born and, without a doubt, our descendents, 75 years hence, will still know and revere the King of Rock and Roll. No relic can be owned of his that is more personal or symbolic than a sample of his hair. It's not likely that the keen collector or shrewd dealer will ever again have the opportunity to bid on and buy such a large and fully-provenanced grouping..
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