May 27, 2021 Rock & Roll, Entertainment, Sports and Americana
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/27/2021

Offered is a 1970 Martin D-18 model guitar given by Elvis Presley to Charlie Hodge. Charlie lived at Graceland for many years, and there were many guitars that found there way into the mansion. The offered guitar is most likely from that location. It was very common for Elvis and Charlie, and whoever else was around, to sit around jamming and singing, and the offered guitar would have been available for accompaniment. The guitar has a mahogany neck, back and sides, 20-fret rosewood fingerboard, solid spruce top, rosewood fingerboard and inside etching “CF Martin & Co / Nazareth, PA / Made in U.S.A.” The serial number of this guitar is “262867,” marked on the interior, indicating that this guitar was manufactured by Martin in 1970. The guitar comes with a copy of a notarized letter from Mike Moon (original of which is signed by Ed Hill and Charlie Hodge) that lists artifacts purchased including “Elvis Presley’s blonde Martin D-18 guitar, serial #262867 with brown E.P. triangular guitar pick.”

Also included is a letter from “EP Archives” in Las Vegas that states:

This blonde faced Martin D-18 acoustic guitar was owned by Elvis Presley. The serial no. is 262867. The guitar was given to back-up vocalist and friend, Charlie Hodge who began singing with Elvis for 17 years starting in 1960 after they first met in the army. This Martin guitar was part of the Mike Moon collection which was part of three Elvis Presley Museums that operated from 1981-2016. The primary location was operated in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. I purchased the majority of the collection in the summer of 2018. These Elvis Presley artifacts were on display and/or stored at one of his properties for the past 40 years.”

Martin Guitars, founded in 1833 in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, has always been synonymous with quality with its most popular model being the Dreadnought or D-size which has become the standard in acoustic guitars and was created in 1931. Elvis acquired his first Martin D-18 in 1942 at O.K. Houck Piano Company in Memphis when he traded in his Martin 000-18 model. Elvis applied stick-on letters spelling his name across the face of this model and while the sticker letters came with the guitar, typically people applied them to the case and not the guitar itself. Elvis used this guitar for studio recordings and stage performances until mid-1955 when he began playing a Martin D-28 model. While Elvis possessed a natural talent for timing and rhythm, he was not what most would consider an accomplished guitarist and as a result he strummed his guitar in a very heavy fashion, breaking strings and wearing the front faces of the guitars that he played frequently. Perhaps this was also due to the lack of microphone on his instrument, leading Elvis to play hard to be heard.

Later in his career, Elvis used his guitar less as an instrument and more as a prop for his stage performances, although they too saw wear from his large belt buckles and fingers adorned with rings. At the end of a show, Elvis would often toss his guitar to Charlie Hodge, sometimes with more success than others. Throughout his career, Elvis regularly used well over a dozen guitars, not including the ones strummed in his films during the 1960s and those used at Graceland and his homes in California. Gibson was the other brand besides Martin that he favored most. Elvis started and ended his career with Martin guitars, a favorite make alongside the Gibson models that he used in the late 1950s through early 1970s.

This stunning example measures 40 by 15 1/2 by 5 inches and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated (quoted here). The guitar exhibits a 1-inch furrowed scratch on the front lower left and a larger but more shallow one just above, along with a few minor scratches to the side body. The guitar exhibits typical signs of wear and is in overall Excellent Condition.

1970 Martin D-18 Guitar Given From Elvis Presley to Charlie Hodge – with LOA from Graceland Authenticated - Former Mike Moon Collection
This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.
Current Bidding (Reserve Not Met)
Minimum Bid: $25,000
Final prices include buyers premium:
Estimate: $50,000 - $60,000
Number Bids: 2
Auction closed on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
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