Elvis Presley's electric guitar he used in comeback sells for £450,000

Elvis Presley’s electric guitar which he used during his iconic 1968 comeback special sells for £450,000 at auction

The electric guitar that Elvis Presley used to launch his iconic comeback has been sold for £450,000 at auction, it was revealed on Tuesday.

It was revealed US-based GWS Auctions that the lipstick red Hagstrom Viking II electric guitar had been sold after not being seen in public for the past 52 years.

The ‘King’ fell in love with the instrument, which belonged to his session musician Al Casey at the time, and borrowed it for a TV concert.

A piece of history: Elvis Presley’s electric guitar which he used during his iconic 1968 comeback special (pictured) has sold for £450,000 at auction, it was revealed on Tuesday

Elvis’ performance with the guitar was broadcast in December 1968, marking the star’s comeback after seven years of making movies.

It relaunched his career and he played the guitar for live performances in Las Vegas the following year.

It is also the guitar Elvis is seen holding on the front cover of his 1969 studio album From Elvis in Memphis, and it was returned to Mr Casey who later sold it to a collector of music memorabilia. 

Iconic: It was revealed US-based GWS Auctions that the lipstick red Hagstrom Viking II electric guitar had been sold after not being seen in public for the past 52 years

Comeback: The ‘King’ fell in love with the instrument, which belonged to his session musician Al Casey at the time, and borrowed it for a TV concert broadcast in December 1968 (pictured)

Apart from a 12-month period in the 1990s when it was exhibited at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, US, the guitar had not been seen in public for 52 years prior to its sale.

Brigette Kruse, of GWS Auctions, said in a statement: ‘This isn’t just any Elvis guitar, it is the Elvis guitar that helped launch his comeback.

‘The 1968 TV Comeback Special was a pivotal moment for Elvis. It was him moving back into the music scene after seven years in the movies.

‘This guitar was owned by Al Casey who performed with Elvis.

Great item: It is also the guitar Elvis is seen holding on the front cover of his 1969 studio album From Elvis in Memphis

‘It wasn’t the guitar they were going to use for the show but the colour of it – lipstick red – was so vibrant against Elvis’ black clothing that he insisted on playing it.

‘He loved it so much that it took Al Casey a year to get it back. Al sold it to a private collector and they then sold it to our consigner in the early 1990s.

‘It is such a unique and phenomenal item that was so important in Elvis’ career. There is nothing to compare it to.’

The guitar is cherry or lipstick red with a mother of pearl inlay, and it was sold with its original case which still has Al Casey’s name on it. 

Instrument: Apart from a 12-month period in the 1990s when it was exhibited at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, US, the guitar had not been seen in public for over five decades

Memorabilia: The guitar is cherry or lipstick red with a mother of pearl inlay, and it was sold with its original case which still has Al Casey’s name on it

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