After 10 days on the eBay auction block, no one posted the minimum $100,000 bid for a purported Elvis tooth, lock of hair and gold record.
So the South Florida owners say they plan to sell the collection in pieces, with the items likely to be offered again on Internet auction site eBay sometime this weekend.
That came as a relief to die-hard fan Joni Mabe. She already owns an Elvis wart, and “maybe an Elvis toenail”.
“I’d love to have the tooth,” said the Georgia artist, who calls herself Joni Mabe the Elvis Babe. “Then the wart would have a friend and we could put the King back together in pieces,” she said.
Mabe, who also calls herself the “Queen of the King,” recounted how she came across the toenail: “In ’83 I toured Graceland and I was just feeling the carpet and walls to get the vibe of where he had walked.
“I got down on my hands and knees in the jungle room and found the toenail clipping,” said the sculptor, whose pieces often feature Elvis memorabilia.
Bidding for the tooth – purportedly pulled by a dentist – started July 5 and ended Friday night about an hour before midnight.
Bids shot up to two million dollars, (£1.3 million) but eBay reset the auction July 8, believing the bids were fraudulent, said Anthony DeFontes, curator and spokesman for the collection. He said he has since been screening potential buyers.
“I approved 12, so I’m hoping we’ll get bids,” DeFontes said. Two bids were placed Friday morning, but they were both retracted later in the day, DeFontes said.
The owners of a Fort Lauderdale hair salon pulled the tooth from their collection of celebrity memorabilia after displaying it for about a decade.
“It had just become too expensive to maintain security for the items,” DeFontes said.
Yellow Strawberry Salon owner Flo Briggs and her husband, Jesse, started their celebrity collection with a lock of John Lennon’s hair, DeFontes said.
They have also displayed locks of hair from Marilyn Monroe and George Washington, a suit that belonged to Jack Ruby, who killed John F. Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, and a favourite barber chair of Chicago mobster Al Capone.
“It just started off with locks of hair,” DeFontes said. ”The reason (they) did it was to draw people into the salon.”
DeFontes said the tooth and hair come with letters of authentication. The tooth, pulled after it broke, allegedly once belonged to one of Elvis’ former girlfriends, Linda Thompson.
The lock of Elvis’ hair, acquired from late-night talk show host Joe Franklin, was saved from a haircut after the King joining the military, DeFontes said. The gold record is the hit single Love Me Tender.
Neither Bobby Davis, a spokesman for Graceland, nor publicists for Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley commented on the auction.
The most bizarre bid, DeFontes said, was from an anonymous European company that was interested in extracting DNA from it.
“They were talking about the possibility of cloning,” he said Wednesday. “The owner of the tooth is not interested in that. There’s only one Elvis.”