Elvis’ ‘That’s the Way It Is’ Lion Ring Among Top Lots at Auction

AuctionsSep 06, 2022

Elvis’ ‘That’s the Way It Is’ Lion Ring Among Top Lots at Auction

“The King” had the gold, tsavorite, and red garnet ring made prior to the filming of the 1970 MGM documentary of the same name.

A buyer paid more than $160,000 for this lion ring with tsavorite eyes and a red garnet in its mouth at Kruse GWS Auctions’ recent sale of Elvis memorabilia. The King had the ring made prior to the 1970 MGM documentary, “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is.” (Photo courtesy Kruse GWS Auctions)
Los Angeles—Even though the “lost” jewelry Elvis Presley gifted longtime manager Col. Tom Parker was billed as the highlight in Kruse GWS Auctions’ recent sale, in the end, the top lots were all Elvis.

A buyer paid $162,500 (including buyer’s premium) for the solid 18-karat gold “That’s the Way It Is” lion head ring with tsavorite eyes and a red garnet in its mouth, making it the sale’s highest-grossing jewelry lot. 

According to Kruse GWS, “The King” had his Beverly Hills jeweler custom-make this ring prior to the filming of the 1970 MGM documentary, “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is.” 

A 14-karat yellow gold “TCB” necklace with 1 carat total weight of diamonds Elvis gave to Denver police officer Ron Pietrafeso sold for a total of $150,000. 

The two met in 1969 after Elvis performed in Denver and became friends over the years. 

Elvis later invited Pietrafeso and several other police officers to one of his Las Vegas shows. The King gave Pietrafeso the necklace following the concert and had diamonds set on the “T,” “C,” and “B” later. 

A buyer paid $87,500 for a custom diamond music note ring Elvis personally owned and wore on stage, later gifting it to actress Mindi Miller, whom he dated in the mid-1970s. 

The custom-made 18-karat yellow gold ring was made in the shape of a record with a large white gold music note featuring a blue stone in the center surrounded by 0.60 carats of full-cut diamonds in white gold. 

Another piece personally worn by Elvis on stage, a 14-karat gold and onyx ring, also was among the auction’s top jewelry lots, selling for $56,250.

The King wore the onyx ring on Aug. 18, 1972, while performing at the Las Vegas Hilton, according to the auction house. He later gave it to his Las Vegas physician, Dr. Elias Ghanem, and it was acquired from his estate.

The highest-grossing piece in the sale that belonged to Parker was a Corum Gold Coin watch, which sold for $26,875.

Parker was Elvis’ longtime manager, and their sometimes-tumultuous relationship has been back in the spotlight lately thanks to “Elvis,” the Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic starring Tom Hanks and Cartier ambassador Austin Butler that’s one of the top-grossing films of the year.  

Presley, who was known for giving watches to friends and family, wore the Corum before gifting it to Parker. It is 18-karat gold with an 1892 U.S. $20 gold coin that was sawed in half to serve as both dial and case back. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

Kruse GWS Auctions’ “The Lost Jewelry Collection of Elvis Presley & Col. Tom Parker and Iconic Elvis Presley Memorabilia” took place Aug. 27.

The top lot overall was the Elvis Presley’s ‘68 Comeback Special Hagstrom V-2 guitar, which sold for $937,500 including buyer’s premium, while the singer’s Lincoln Continental “Last” Limo garnered $500,000.

Based in Los Angeles, Kruse GWS Auctions specializes in Hollywood memorabilia, as well as fine jewelry and watches, royal artifacts, and more.

It’s auctioned off pieces from The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll before, including a chunky 14-karat gold and diamond “Taking Care of Business” ring in late 2020.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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