CHICAGO — The King may be dead, but that doesn't mean it's too late to run your fingers through his hair.
Elvis Presley's hair, at least a clump of hair that Presley may have lost to an Army barber when he went into the service back in 1958, is going on the auction block this Sunday at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago.
The hair is part of a collection of more than 200 items that belonged to or are associated with Presley. It includes clothes he wore, scarves he threw to screaming fans — who, judging by the yellow sweat stains, never washed them — and Christmas cards he sent.
And there are lots of records, some he kept in his own jukebox, and other sorts of memorabilia including dolls, wristwatches and Pez dispensers.
All the items belonged to Gary Pepper. Pepper was not only a huge fan and president of an Elvis Presley fan club, but a close friend, as many of the photographs of the two together suggest.
Pepper, who had cerebral palsy, died in 1980, three years after Presley, and left his collection to his nurse, who is putting the items up for auction, said Mary Williams, of the auction house.
Williams acknowledged that there has never been a DNA test done on the hair. But, she said, the auction house did take it to "somewhat of a hair authenticator" who compared it to his own sample of Presley's hair and concluded it was the real deal.
"I'm very careful with the hair I authenticate," said John Reznikoff, a Connecticut collector of such items as stamps and documents, and samples of hair that once sat atop some of the most famous heads in history, from George Washington to Marilyn Monroe.