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Elvis Presley¡¯s Luxury Jets Go under the Hammer
   2015-01-03 10:25:34    Reuters TV      Web Editor: Yu

The "Lisa Marie", a Convair 880 jet owned by entertainer Elvis Presley, is displayed at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, in this undated publicity photo released to Reuters January 2, 2015. [Photo: cfp]

Elvis Presley's pair of personal jets, one complete with gilded wash basin and plush sleeping quarters, will go under the hammer in a sealed-bid auction for a piece of mile-high rock and roll memorabilia, Julien's Auctions said on Friday.

Jets "Lisa Marie" and "Hound Dog II" were designed and decorated by the King of Rock and Roll himself. The jets, which will be offered together to bidders, are expected to fetch between $10 and $15 million US dollars.

The jets are no longer airworthy, but have been on display for visitors at Graceland - Presley's Memphis, Tennessee estate - for the past three decades.

Presley bought the Convair 880 jet from Delta Air Lines in 1975, two years before his death at age 42, for $250,000. He named it "Lisa Marie" after his daughter.

Presley spent more than $300,000 refurbishing the jet with a penthouse bedroom, executive conference room, bar and videotape system linked to four TVs. He had the plane painted red, white and blue with his motto "TCB" - "Takin' Care of Business" - on the tail.

"And how the king used to travel in style," explained Julien's Auction Executive Director, Martin Nolan. "It almost reminds you of Graceland, yet we're on his private jet. He bought this in 1975, had it refurbished completely. He was involved in all of the decoration. He chose the fabrics. He chose the fittings in the bathroom. He was involved in choosing the entire decor in this plane, which was refurbished by the same people who did Air Force One down in Forth Worth in Texas. Elvis was especially proud of that," Nolan said.

Presley purchased the eight-to-10 passenger "Hound Dog II," a Lockheed Jetstar, also in 1975 for about $900,000 while waiting on the refurbishment of the "Lisa Marie."

The four-engine 28-passenger Convair could fly Presley, who preferred to travel at night, up to 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers).

Only 65 of the Convair 880 model jets were produced from 1959 to 1962.

The buyer also has the option to purchase several acres adjacent to Graceland to display the jets, independent of the Presley museum.

An agreement between Graceland and the jets' current owners, whose identity was not disclosed, is set to expire at the end of April.

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