The Wonderful World Of E.P.E. Memorabilia (1957-61)
By Bob Pakes
1956 was a magical year in the career of Elvis Presley. He seemed to be all over the place and on everybody’s lips. And not just on everybody’s lips …
We all love to hate the Colonel. But merchandising his client as a ‘brand’ was like striking gold. The commercial success of Elvis Presley Enterprises (E.P.E.) merchandise even outweighed that of Disney and the hugely popular cowboy stars of the day.
In this article I will try to bring together all pieces of vintage E.P.E. memorabilia, in the absolute best possible quality. And to make this article easy to navigate and search, I’ve chosen to list these items alphabetically.
Since the collection is so big, it will be presented in two parts. In PART ONE you will find the first 50 items (over 100 images). Enjoy the ride!
TO THE LEFT we see the window of a Shoe-Store in 1956, announcing the Elvis Presley products they have for sale, ranging from shoes to hats and gloves.
BELOW we have a very interesting article from Billboard magazine (September 29, 1956). This article gives us a perfect insight into how extremely big the merchandise campaign actually was.
The man in charge of it all was Hank Saperstein, whom had already succesfully merchandised The Lone Ranger and Lassie among other brands. Saperstein estimated that the $ 20.000.000 sales mark would be reached before the year was over. At the time the article was published, hundreds of thousands of E.P.E. items had already been sold, and the only problem seemed to be that the production companies could hardly keep up with the skyrocketing demand for Presley merchandise. One of the reasons for the incredible success of the campaign could have been that all the large department stores (including Sears, Woolworth’s, Roebuck and Macy’s) kept stock of the E.P.E. merchandise.
In the TWO PHOTOS UNDERNEATH the Billboard article, we can see Saperstein and Elvis (on the set of Love Me Tender) checking out part of the merchandise.
Quite clearly visible are the E.P.E. blue jeans, the felt skirt, bolo tie, bookends and hat.
In the first image we see Elvis holding an E.P.E. belt in his right hand, while he is going through the Elvis Answers Back magazine in the second image.
The complete collection of vintage ELVIS PRESLEY ENTERPRISES memorabilia
Ashtray | 1956
Is it an Ashtray, is it a Coaster?
Well, it is collectable, that’s what it is!
From the image you might get the impression it’s quite a large piece, but in reality it’s only 3,5 inch in diameter.
Autograph Book | 1956
The artwork and the color chosen for this
Autograph Book, could also be found on the
following E.P.E. products:
* Photo Album
* Record Case
(all coming up later in this article)
Belt (leather) | 1956
Here we have the rather cool black Leather Belt.
And to the right we see one of at least two different Belt Buckles that were available in 1956.
Belt (plastic) | 1956
These Plastic Belts came in two different styles, and in many different colors. These colors perfectly matched the colors of the Wallets/Purses E.P.E. put out at the same time.
Binder | 1956
This zippered 3-ring Binder was available in at least three colors.
Bolo Tie | 1956
Two different styles of a Bolo Tie were
manufactured. The most wellknown had this
framed photo of Elvis, the other one had a guitar.
Bookends | 1956
Apparently a lot of fans did not use these Bookends as …, well, bookends, but rather displayed them as if they were Elvis busts. And why not?
These are not that easy to find nowadays as a pair.
Bust | 1961
The official Elvis Bust came in two colors. This is the only E.P.E. product manufactured in 1961 and the last of the vintage E.P.E. merchandise.
Notice how the hair is an exact copy of the ’56 Bookends, and especially the sideburns were very much a thing of the past by 1961.
Diary (one year) | 1956
Shown here is the one year version of the Elvis Diary.
It was also available in a three year version.
Besides holding the Diary, the girl in the photo is also dressed up in E.P.E. wear (T-Shirt + Skirt) and a Pillow and Scarf are visible as well.
Dog Tag Jewelry | 1958
The copyright date on all the pieces of Dog Tag merchandise says 1956, but these were actually produced in 1958.
Left we see a Dog Tag Necklace, right the Dog Tag Key Chain. Below (from top to bottom):
Dog Tag Anklet, Men’s Bracelet, Lady’s Bracelet (silver) and Lady’s Bracelet (gold).
Doll | 1957
One of the rarest vintage E.P.E. items is this 18 inch tall Elvis Doll.
The materials used to manufacture the doll rather quickly deterioted over time (unless well taken care of), making it the most sought after piece in the original E.P.E. series. Especially in it’s original box, this one is almost impossible to find.
The girls in the photo check out a Scrapbook. We can also see the Record Case, plus 1-sheet posters for Love Me Tender and Loving You. While all this time the Elvis Doll is minding his own business in the foreground of this cool picture.
Eau De Parfum | 1957
Today, just about every famous entertainer has an own fragrance on the market. But back in 1956 it was kind of special to be able to buy an Elvis Presley Perfume.
In the 60’s, this Perfume was updated with a differently shaped bottle and a more recent pic of Elvis on the label.
Flasher Pins | 1956
“Elvis Presley in motion”
This Flasher Pin was a cool gadget!
The ad the the right is from Billboard (December 22, 1956).
Below we see a different Billboard-ad (from December 8, 1956) for the Flasher Pin. And also some clear examples of different images used for this pin, as well as the larger variant, including their back-side. Interesting is also the proof sheet of 9 unused flasher buttons still part of the original thick plastic board.
Glass | 1956
You could pour yourself a double shot of Elvis’ love in this official Glass. Or just a diet-coke of course.
Glass Plate | 1956
This Glass Plate matches the E.P.E. Glass.
I have never seen an image of this plate in it’s original box, but I’m sure it would be a treat to witness this.
Glow In The Dark Photo | 1957
This Glow In The Dark Photo would glow for a
couple of hours after the lights went out.
So Elvis Presley would probably be the last thing
on the mind of the teenage girl before she went
The image of the sweet looking Elvis was also used
for the E.P.E. Teddy Bear Perfume, while most of
the other merchandise had a rocking or singing
Elvis Presley image.
Guitar (with case) | 1956
One of the most famous E.P.E. products: the Elvis Presley Guitar, which was available with four and six strings.
A Chord Player (that can be seen in the image to the left) and a small Songbook were included with the package.
In the picture to the right we can see that the Carrying Case measured around 3 feet.
Here we see two pieces of the guitar in more detail.
The photo to the right was taken on the set of Running Wild. Other pics of this day of Elvis with the E.P.E. guitar exist.
Handkerchiefs | 1956
Every teenager’s dream:
blow your nose in Elvis.
The Handkerchiefs came with different images and in different colors.
Hat | 1956
Certainly one of the most popular E.P.E. items, this Hat can be seen in a lot of pictures from those years.
To the right we see the hat with the original tag still attached.
The hat was later (in ’57) available with a different tag, this time promoting Loving You.
And below we have two nice store-ads, as well as some images from the Welcome Home Elvis shows in Tupelo. Elvis’ girlfriend Barbara Hearn can be seen in the background of the middle picture.
Headscarf | 1956
This Headscarf is similar to the regular Scarf (further down in this article) except for it’s shape of course.
The ad to the right is from Billboard (November 3, 1956).
Hot Plate Holder | 1956
So, the true fan would eat her dinner in full Elvis-style:
* drink from an Elvis Glass
* eat from an Elvis Plate
while dinner could be served on a hot plate holder!
Since this 6 by 6 inch ceramic plate came with a hanging mechanism on the back, many fans used it as wall-decoration.
Jacket | 1956
If I would have been around in mid 50’s America, THIS would have topped my wantlist! My absolue favourite of all the vintage E.P.E. merchandise.
This cool Jacket did not sell very well since it was one of the most expensive E.P.E. items. This is why this item hardly turns up in auction nowadays.
Jeans | 1956
From the impossible to find Jacket to the impossible to find Blue Jeans is just a small step.
To the left we see the original tag of the jeans, and to the right we have an ad. But that’s about it. Apart from a low-rez image in one of the collector books, I never saw this pair of jeans on the web anywhere.
John’s Pocket-Movie Elvis Presley | 1957
Here we have a Flip-Book. If you went through the pages fast, you could see Vince doing part of the Baby, I Don’t Care dance-routine from Jailhouse Rock.
Lipstick | 1956
The Elvis Presley Lipstick was available in 6 different colors, of which Running Wild Pink is the rarest variation. Running Wild was the title for Elvis’ upcoming new movie (which eventually became Loving You).
Below we see one of these lipsticks is full detail.
‘Love Me Tender’ Necklace | 1956
The Love Me Tender Necklace was manufactured in both silver and gold.
Scroll down this article, to the Short-Sleeved T-Shirt, to see this necklace in ‘action’.
Overnight Case | 1956
The Overnight Case was availbale in an least two colors, blue and brown.
Below we have this case in detail.
Paint Set | 1957
Another near impossible to find piece of E.P.E. memorabilia: the 1957 Elvis Presley Paint Set.
Ger Rijff did a short but interesting article on this set for Echoes, check it out HERE!
Pencils | 1956
The Pencils had “Sincerely yours, Elvis Presley” printed on them, and they came 12 in a pack.
To the right an original shipping carton (that would hold 12 sets of pencils) for this item.
Photo Album | 1956
The Photo Album measured 10 by 14 inch.
Pillow | 1956
The E.P.E. Pillow was available in many different designs.
In the photo to the right, next to the Pillow, we can also see the Elvis Presley Statuette (scroll down this article for a clear image of this item) and a plastic framed E.P.E. licensed picture of Elvis (laying face-down on the couch).
Pin | 1956
This Pin was available in different sizes, as well as with and without the “Best Wishes” and autograph on it.
On the photo to the right we see Elvis with Tommy Blake (December 15, 1956).
A nice photo of the Colonel wearing the same button also exists.
Pins | 1956
Probably because of it’s low price, this large I Like Elvis button was a very popular item in the 50’s. Many photos from concerts exist that show female fans wearing this button. Below are some nice examples.
From left to right:
* March 28, 1957
* April 1, 1957
* March 30, 1957
Record Case | 1956
Measuring nearly 8 by 8 inch, this Record Case must have been a good seller for E.P.E.
It’s also one of only a few E.P.E. items that was not striclty aimed at the female public.
Ring | 1956
The gold-plated adjustable Ring is quite rare nowadays. And the 1956 Display Card still holding all 12 rings will easily set you back two grand.
To the right we have a fullpage ad from Modern Screen (April 1957). Please click the image for the full picture
Below we see the display, as well as the ring, in more detail.
Scarf | 1956
The larger sister of the Headscarf: the regular Scarf.
The photo to the right was taken during the unveiling of the giant Elvis cut-out on NY’s Times Square, on October 28, 1956. But I’m not sure if that lady is holding the Scarf or the Headscarf.
Scrapbook | 1956
The Scrapbook measured 12 by 14 inch.
Not too long ago, the official E.P.E. Diary showed up in auction, and the nicest thing about it was that the original owner had actually used it to write down all the Elvis-related news (TV appearances, new records, etc.) from back in the day (and there was a lot of it!), and it now functions as some sort of time machine.
Hopefully one day this E.P.E. Scrapbook will also show up, loaded with rare clippings and candids from those magical years 1956 and ’57 …
Skirt | 1956
This felt Skirt was available in grey (left) and black (right).
And apparently the E.P.E. skirt was also available in denim in corduroy. But I have never seen any proof of this myself.
Skirt | 1956
It actually came in different designs and sizes, which, again, were available in black and grey.
Sneakers | 1956
To the right we see Elvis with Hank Saperstein, the man in charge of the E.P.E. merchandise train
The sneaker was available in two colors: in black + green, and in white + black.
Statuette | 1956
This 7,5 inch high bronze Statuette was actually made out of plastic.
To the right we have a double ad from Hep Cat’s magazine (December 1957) for the Statuette and the Lipstick.
Notice how the name of Running Wild Pink (see the Lipstick color chart earlier in this article) has now been changed to Heartbreak Pink.
The Elvis Presley Game | 1957
Rare with a capitol R, The Elvis Presley Game is nearly impossible to find.
Please check out Ger Rijff‘s cool article on the Elvis boardgame HERE!
T-Shirt (short-sleeve) | 1956
Another big seller was this official E.P.E. T-Shirt. Probably the most popular fan-item for any artist anytime anywhere.
The photo to the right is from October 28, 1956 in New York, outside Studio 50 (home of the Ed Sullivan Show) where Elvis was performing that day.
The girl wearing this shirt is also wearing the Love Me Tender Necklace.
T-Shirt (long-sleeve) | 1956
Not nearly as popular as the short-sleeved T-Shirt back in the day, this long-sleeved Shirt is much harder to trace nowadays.
Both T-Shirts are being advertised in the ad to the right.
Well, that’s it for the moment. Keep an eye on Echoes for PART TWO, COMING SOON.
More E.P.E. merchandise is on it’s way. From a truckload of different Wallets and Purses, through even more Jewelry, Dresses, Pins/Buttons and Mittens (yes, mittens!), to Framed Pictures and lovely fluffy E.P.E. Hound Dogs and Teddy Bears!
CREDITS + THANKS:
* The images of the E.P.E. memorabilia in this article were collected over the course of nearly a year. The bulk of these items have appeared on US auction sites.
* Credit for the b/w Elvis (+ Elvis-related) photos in this article goes to the original (unknown) photographers.
* Credit for the E.P.E. ads that appeared in Billboard, as well as the E.P.E. Merchandise article, goes to Billboard magazine.
* Many thanks to KARI PAJU for helping out with the scan of the EPE Ring-ad that appeared in Modern Screen magazine.
* Credit and thanks for the use of the EPE Dog Tag goes to JOE KREIN
For the text in this article I have mainly used Elvis Collectibles as reference.
This book by Rosalind Cranor, virtually loaded with black/white images of vintage Presley memorabilia and long out of print (but it can sometimes be found on eBay), comes very highly recommended!
First Edition – 1983
Second Edition – 1987
This article is dedicated to my original Echoes-partner in crime, the biggest vintage E.P.E.-fan I know, and still the main inspiration for this website: GER RIJFF.
No one is goin’ to beat this … I better start looking for a new hobby!
Amazing job, Bob! Truely amazing!
Wonderful, Bob !
I never imagined there could be so much promotional stuff…
Thanks for sharing your huge work with us. It’s a privilege to have all of this information just one click away.
Long Live Echoes.
Along with the record store banners, this my favorite article on this site. I love this stuff!
Excellent, very well done! Nice quality.
You did a great job, the site looks pretty good. Lot’s of succes.
Thanks Bob, fascinating stuff. Statues an’ all.
Super nice, love it!
Excellent page! Bob just amazing. Most of the stuff I’ve seen before in books or on the net, but it’s the first time that I’ve seen a leather belt!
Does anyone have doubts about the flipbook from Jailhouse Rock? There have been a lot of doubts about that item … anyone?
Great website and an even greater tribute to the man who taught Elvis-history to us all.
Thanks Bob for this page, and thanks Ger for all your lessons. You’ve indeed been a true inspiration!
Thanks for the story!
Well, I have a lot of Elvis and have been collecting since 1970, and my Viva Las Vegas fanclub has seen my things. I was in the Seven mag, June 27 2013, look me up Sandra Luther, you will be amazed.
I also wanted to add that in the leather belt collection, there is also a third buckle that was bronze coloured, a bit smaller in size also with a guitar but that looked very different than the two pictured.
This site consists of awesome and truly excellent material!
I’m really enjoying the design of your website!
This is a cool piece!
Thanks for sharing!
Where can I find an original 1957 Elvis doll? I’ve been searching for quite while and would like to own one.
Thank you and I hope to hear back from you soon. Take care.
Hey guys, can anybody tell me where I can buy Elvis Presley’s “Teddy Bear” perfume?
And, interesting to note; The ‘Elvis Shoes (sneakers from 56′) that Elvis is holding and trying on’ are actually black soled shoes, where as the product sold to ‘us’ wear just rubber soled ‘sneakers’. :) He probably got the first prototype.
I have a 1956 scrap book in pretty great condition which I’m trying to find the value of.
If anybody could help me out that’d be much appreciated.
It all depends largely on the contents of the scrapbook. If it includes original
snapshots / candids, Moss ( the company) publicity photos…you have a little
goldmine. If it’s all magazine clippings the value goes down a lot. Many 50s
& 60s Elvis scrapbooks have been offered for sale on ebay over the years…
I have Elvis 10k gold tie tack from 1958 ( ^ep) O C Tanner Jewelry Company in UTAH want send any papers said don’t keep anything after 50 years, think you can help? understand about 12 were made
I have a pair of his earrings that are glass dangle earrings with his photos incased. they are stamped EPE and beautiful!! I will send a photo or two if you like. just let me know.
I have a Elvis bolo of pewter. The 3 pic’s of Elvis with guitar & graceland/signed- Elvis Presley.
Was wondering what it was worth?
I just bought the overnight suitcase on a Dutch selling site for just €45.
Best purchase ever !!
My mum has a 1950’s portrait print of Elvis and was wondering what it’s worth?
Absolutely fascinating and interesting article—thanks
I have a “pink item” Elvis diary from 1956. I have never written in it. What would be the appraised value of it? I know it’s very sought after. It is in excellent condition. Thanks!
I have the 1957 sponge rubber elvis doll / no box / no pants / no shoes / rubber is in really good shape . Has the shirt and belt . also from the same era , Davey crocket in rough shape except for the head and shirt . would like to buy them @ a fair price ? Contact me and will send pictures . also what is the best way to store them so they don’t deteriorate any further ? Thank you Philip K Miller 989-339-5531
Beautifully done! Best I have seen.
I have a trailer house full of all kinds of Elvis items from the 50’s till 2018.
Phillip K.Miller, Rosalind Cranors Collectables book recommends washing the Elvis doll in mild soap (one with a low PH), gently patting it dry then rubbing the skin with baby powder to slow down deteroration, then wrapping it in clean cotton cloth, away from strong light, heat, damp etc. Hope this helps.
Did the second part of this article ever come out?
I have a 1956 pink Elvis Scrapbook full of memorabilia, would like to sell. Let me know.
Betty…have you sold the Elvis scrapbook yet?
Is there a possibility that there might have been a different shoe style other than the sneakers with the same print? My grandfather in California has some with the same print, however they are hard sole shoes not sneakers. I have not seen them online anywhere, any insight?
How much would the overnight case be worth?
Great article! My sister’s son got her a plastic Elvis statue at a flea market and we have been hunting and hunting for info on it! I found it here! Thank you!
I never realized my Elvis bookend had a partner. I also have the hat with the original tag, a hankie and scarf. I think my most valuable thing from 1956 is the EPE ring. It is the one Elvis himself wore….he took it apart, put in a little pic of him and Judy Spreckles together, placed it over the original pic and gave it to her. I have it framed with a note from her. Would love more items from this historic and amazing time.
Have a big collection of Elvis … can provide photos.
Do you sell any of this memorabilia? Such as the busts and statues?
I have an Elvis board game, it sits in a plastic ELVIS spelled out container, I won’t say box because it is not rectangular, it is ELVIS’ name. I have googled and googled and I can’t get any hits … has anyone ever seen this game?
Alice, your board game was officially licensed by EPE, and manufactured in 1987.
If you type the game’s full name in your Google search bar, “Elvis – The Game That Allows The Legend To Live On”, you will find the info you are looking for.
Great, thank you Bob, much appreciated.
I was wondering what it’s worth. I see not much :(
Hello. I have my mom’s Elvis skirt with the original crinoline petticoat also. The puzzling thing is that it is turquoise. It has the same design as the black and grey skirts. I’ve searched images and have never found it. Were there different makers of this item? I believe it was purchased in Milwaukee WI. Any information would be great. Also have an Elvis tshirt. Cant find images either.
I have the 1956 guitar for sale, with no box, but it does have the strap!
Email me at email@example.com for pics.
I have an Elvis Bust coat pin, and Elvis’ Hair is gold. I can’t find it in your listings.
A few years back, I bought what was alledgedly a tiny piece of one of Elvis’ shirts framed on eBay. I read an article that Tom Parker, his manager, when Elvis was not so popular at that period, cut certain shirts up and inserted them in his albums so they would sell better. Any truth in this? And could the sample I’ve bought, tiny as it is, be genuine? It’s supposed to be a framed limited edition.
I have a E.P.E. Elvis wrist watch. What years was that from? I didn’t see it on this site. Thanks
Just found your website.
Around 1955 my mom worked in NYC for the advertising company that was handling the Elvis Jeans program. My mom was in her early-20’s, and she knew who Elvis was, but she said at that time he was more popular with teenagers.
One morning, Elvis visited the advertising agency with Colonel Parker to review the promotional material for the jean campaign. My mom said that as Elvis walked down the aisle past the secretaries, most of them right out of high school, they began fainting on the spot as Elvis walked past them. Elvis began helping my mom with the fainted secretaries, and as they were kneeling down trying to help the secretaries, Elvis looked at my mom sort of embarrassed, and said, “Can you believe this man?”. My mom said he genuinely couldn’t believe the effect he had on the young women and worried about causing them to faint. Eventually the secretaries all came to, and everything was OK.
My mom had a stack of the Elvis Jeans pocket hangtags (the one with him singing with the guitar) on her desk for copy-proofing, and he signed several for my mom and her younger sisters when he came out of his meeting. My mom still has the one he signed for her.
I have never seen a pair of Elvis Jeans, but my mom said they were made in the garment district in NYC, and the advertising company my mom worked for in NYC designed and made the pocket hangtag that you have here on the website (the one with Elvis singing with his guitar).
Besides the one my mom has, the one pictured here on your website is the only other one that I have ever seen.
My elderly mother has an EPE doll head from the 18” doll listed on this page. She would like to know if it has any value today. Thank you!
I have a tube of Elvis lipstick with his name engraved on it and the color is heartbreak pink. Is it worth anything?
I can send pictures of the lipstick.
Of course it’s worth something. If only because it is an item from a bygone era, one in which Elvis and his teenaged fans played a huge part . Quite likely there aren’t many around. Sure, it probably has monetary value, which is what I think you’re really asking. But it has a value beyond money too, doesn’t it? You have in your possession a piece of history! If you’re determined to learn it’s $ value, start with an online search and go from there. I hope you keep it though.
can anyone help.. the I hate Elvis pins.. some are stamped on the back and some aren’t. Does anyone know what the stamp does or doesn’t indicate ?