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Sales From the Crypt: Presley Tomb to Be Auctioned

The following piece was published in The New York Times on 29 May 2012.

The King - Elvis Presley

While there are many unique items being offered at a sale of pop-music memorabilia scheduled for next month by Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills - a robe worn by Amy Winehouse in her video for "Rehab"; a cigarette packet signed by the Beatles; Chinese ceramic dogs from the collection of Meat Loaf - one suspects the artifact that is going to generate the most interest is the crypt where Elvis Presley was first laid to rest before his body was buried at Graceland.

Julien's Auctions said on Monday that it would be selling the private crypt, in the mausoleum of Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, on the first day of a two-day auction on June 23 and 24. The auction house said it had been approached by the cemetery to sell the crypt where the bodies of Presley and his mother, Gladys, were kept for about two months in 1977 while his father, Vernon, waited for permission from the State of Tennessee to bury them at Elvis's Graceland estate. The lot, which will go on sale at a starting price of $100,000, also includes the opening and closing of the vault and crypt for burial, a memorial inscription and the use of a chapel for a committal service.

Darren Julien, the president and chief executive of the auction house, said in a telephone interview that he did not consider the sale of the crypt morbid. "I just consider that if you're an ultimate fan of Elvis Presley, it's an opportunity," Mr. Julien said. "It's definitely a conversation piece. Only one person can say, 'Hey, I'm going to be buried where Elvis Presley was.'"