Elvis fan? Got an extra 100K or so lying around? Then you might consider bidding on the personal birth record book kept by delivering physician Dr. Robert Hunt. Included in the booklet is the record of the births of Elvis Presley and his twin brother, Jesse.
The auction takes place August 13, 2016 with a buyers premium of 25%.
Following is the description of the item from the invaluable.com website.
Estimate: $80,000 – $100,000
January 8, 1935. Elvis Presley is born in Tupelo, Mississippi. It’s a birthday still widely celebrated by fans across the globe, but the first formal recognition of it, the first written notice anywhere ever, was penned on a page of the offered historical document. This is the formal birth record of Elvis Aaron Presley, recorded just minutes after his birth by Dr. Robert Hunt at 4:35 a.m. on the day he delivered Elvis, and his stillborn twin Jesse 35 minutes earlier, to Gladys and Vernon Presley. The book’s significance as an artifact of the life of Elvis Presley cannot be overstated—if the Presley family had an original birth certificate, it’s been lost to time, leaving this humble medical practitioner’s log as the single remaining original record of Elvis Presley coming into this world.
The “Physician’s Record” book, which measures approximately 7 1/4 by 4 inches (18.415 by 10.16 cm), records a number of births during 1934 and 1935, including one set of quintuplets. But the pages of greatest importance come near the end of the tome and are hand-numbered 919 and 920, representing a running count of the good Dr. Hunt’s deliveries during his career. Each of the two entries records the county, “Lee,” and the election precinct, “East Tupelo,” as well as the name, race, age, birthplace and occupation of each parent: “V. E. Presley, White, 18, Itawamba Co., Miss., Laborer,” and “Gladys Smith, White, 21, Pontotoc Co. Miss., Housewife.” Page 919 sadly records the stillborn birth of the young couple’s first son, Jesse Garion (sic) Presley as occurring at 4:00 a.m. In a forensic, yet appropriate, notation the page has entries of “1” in the blank for “Number of Child of this mother,” and “0” in the next blank for “Number of children of this mother now living.”
According to Dr. Hunt’s daughter, Sarah Hunt Potter, as recounted in a newspaper interview done years later (a copy of which is included with the lot), “He didn’t realize immediately that there was another child.” Gladys and Vernon knew, of course, as they had already chosen the rhyming middle names, and Gladys’ labor continued for another 35 minutes. In what must have been a joyful turn, albeit bittersweet, page 920 records the birth, at 4:35 a.m. of the second twin “Evis (sic) Aaron Presley.” One will surely notice the missing “l” in Elvis, and additional “i” in brother Jesse’s middle name, but we can forgive Dr. Hunt’s minor recording errors considering the early hour at which he must have been called in to perform the deliveries. The writing on the cover of the book, most likely in Dr. Hunt’s hand, reads “Dr. W. R. Hunt” down the binding edge, with “896 to 921” written near the top. The back cover of the book has other writing in the form of a name and phone number hastily recorded.
Dr. Hunt kept a number of these books, roughly one for each year, to record the more than 1,800 deliveries he performed during his career. The offered record would have been lost to obscurity if it hadn’t been discovered years later by his daughter Sarah while she was reviewing his papers. In the early 1980s, the book, along with the rest of her father’s documents and medical tools, were sold to Jimmy Velvet of the Elvis Presley Museum. The “Bill of Sale and Letter of Authentication,” dated 4-28-81 and signed by Sarah Hunt Potter and Jimmy Velvet, details the sale of all the materials, but astonishingly relates that the book offered here was missing! It took some time for the family to put their hands on it, as a second “Contract and Bill of Sale” dated 4-28-82 details that the book had still not been located but reaffirms that the book is the property of Jimmy Velvet when it is found, and that he will pay Miss. Potter an additional $400 “for finding it for him.” As we know now, the family did find the book, it did eventually make its way to Mr. Velvet’s museum and was sold in the 1994 auction of the Elvis Museum’s holdings. The book has remained in the collection of actor and musician John Corbett until now. Both bills of sale are included with the lot.
Opportunities to acquire artifacts of this stature are far and few between, perhaps coming along but once in a lifetime. When Graceland Auctions offered the original acetate for Elvis’ first-ever recording, of the song “My Happiness,” people made the argument that it could be considered the “birth certificate” of the most important career in popular music… and it sold for a record $300,000. It’s an interesting concept and an astonishing result, and it certainly puts what arguably IS Elvis’ birth certificate in a very interesting light. The birth record is accompanied by the 1994 Elvis Presley Museum Certificate of Authenticity and a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.
Condition Report: The birth record book shows obvious signs of use, as it was a working document. Defects, mostly on the covers, include wrinkles, creases and small areas of paper loss. The binding has been reinforced, most likely in the period, and two small Velcro strips were added for display, most likely in Jimmy Velvetâs Elvis Presley Museum. Very Good to Excellent condition.