Elvis Presley Sun Promo Records 
Complete Set of Five (w/Red "Sample" Stamp)
Several years ago, while in search of the record Little G.T.O. by Ronny and the Daytona’s, Matt Wanhala of Salinas, California made his decision to invest in vinyl records. With determination, he compiled a record collection now consisting of some of the finest vinyl records ever pressed. His inspiration to become a collector came after reading Neal Umphreds Goldmine Record Guide, and the challenge to claim the most valuable records in the hobby became, for him, a crusade. In the course of assembling this fine collection, Matt dealt with many collectors, including the most renowned authority of vinyl records, John Tefteller. The following listings, then, provide several rare opportunities to capture some of the most exclusive treasures in this exciting genre. - In 1952 Memphis businessman, Sam Phillips, founded the Sun Record label. Two years later, and still languishing in obscurity, Sam encountered what would be his greatest discovery - Elvis Presley. The multi-talented Presley had all the tools - a captivating stage presence, a genuinely novel sound uniting pop and soul, and a voice uniquely spellbinding. To promote this talent, Sam recorded and then distributed promo records to various radio stations. These records he hand-stamped, SAMPLE (in red, generally on the A-side label) and then dispensed in featureless brown-paper wrap. In all, Phillips produced five different Elvis Presley 45 rpm's. Today, any one of these is in alarmingly scant supply. However, our tenacious collector, Matt Wanhala, captured all five of them, and we now make this complete unit available to our readers. To appreciate this collection of Sun promos fully, we cite a recent article that appeared in Goldmine Magazine, a periodical dedicated to that collecting community. In that narrative, John Tefteller was quoted to assert that ...he didn’t know of anyone else who had assembled a collection of all five promos. You never see more than one [record]... adding, ...and maybe only one every 10 years or so. Pertinent to this collection, we report that each record is in NM or stronger condition (except where noted), and each is accompanied by the non-illustrated, plain brown sleeve. Specifically, Sun 209 That’s All Right/Blue Moon of Kentucky Upon careful examination, we discover that the B-side label has the release number 209 inverted. No other copy of this record is known to exist with that error. We surmise that after this record was pressed, Sam Phillips caught the mistake and immediately rectified it. The unusual error (now likely unique) clearly makes this the rarest copy of Elvis Presley’s first record. Sun 210 Good Rockin’ Tonight/I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine It's important to note that the songwriter credit on the label for Good Rockin’ Tonight, is mistakenly listed as Ray Brown (not Roy Brown). Equally noteworthy, there are no publishing credits listed on the label for Good Rockin’ Tonight. These errors provide verification that this vinyl is probably from the first pressing. Later releases have both the publishing credits and the songwriter credits corrected. Sun 215 Milk Cow Blues Boogie/You’re A Heartbreaker Both sides grade Mint with no visible signs of play. We qualify this record as rare but particularly so since it's stamped SAMPLE on both sides. Sun 217 Baby Lets Play House/I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s


For Immediate Release

Each of the Five Extremely Rare Singles Is Stamped “SAMPLE” by Sam Phillips 
Only Known Set of All Five Elvis Presley Sun Promo Records Goes on Auction Block

The estimated value of this one-of-a-kind set of all five Elvis Sun Promo Records is $50,000 to $100,000, but that figure could be dwarfed by the time bidding is completed September 21 in an auction conducted by American Memorabilia Auction Magazine of Las Vegas.  The significance of this extremely rare set of promos is that it dates back to Elvis’ humble beginnings in Memphis.  These are the actual records – not reproductions – that were played on the air during the 1950s and caught the attention of RCA, which turned Elvis into an international star.

 In 1997, Wanhala started to assemble a car mix tape for his brother’s birthday.  He enjoyed the thrill of the hunt so much that, while searching for the record “Little G.T.O.” by Ronny and the Daytonas, he decided to begin investing in vinyl records instead of the stock market.  During the past nine years, Wanhala has put together a record collection consisting of some of the finest vinyl records ever pressed.  He saw Presley perform in 1970.  “He’s the most charismatic performer I’ve ever seen,” Wanhala said.  “He had that certain magnetism for a great, great show.”  Wanhala purchased his first three Elvis Sun promo records from rare-records dealer John Tefteller, and bought the other two from other Elvis collectors.

Back in the 1950s, in order to promote a talent, Phillips would distribute promo records to various radio stations and promoters throughout the South.  Phillips would hand-stamp “SAMPLE” in red on the A-side of the label and send the record in the traditional brown-paper wrapper.  (Later, Sun Records would use white-label promos.)

Tefteller was quoted in a June 9, 2006 Goldmine magazine article as saying he didn’t know of anyone else who had assembled a collection of all five promos.  “You never see more than one, and maybe only one every 10 years or so,” Tefteller said  

Here’s a quick look at the five Elvis Presley Sun Promotional Records in Wanhala’s collection that are being auctioned:

Sun 209 “That’s All Right”/“Blue Moon of Kentucky.”
  (Graded “MINT” on the A-side and “VG++” on the B-side.)  Tefteller says this is the cleanest copy of Sun 209 known to exist.  The B-side label has the release number “209” inverted, and no other copy of this record is known to exist with this error.

Sun 210 “Good Rockin’ Tonight”/“I Don’t Care If the Sun Don’t Shine.”  (Graded “MINT” on both sides.)  Songwriter credits on the label for “Good Rockin’ Tonight” mistakenly list “Ray Brown” rather than “Roy Brown,” an error that was corrected in later pressings.

Sun 215 “Milk Cow Blues Boogie”/“You’re a Heartbreaker.”  (Graded “MINT” on both sides.)  The “SAMPLE” stamp appears on both sides of this record.

Sun 217 “Baby Let’s Play House”/“I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.”
  (Graded “VG+” on both sides.)  This record was obtained from Elvis collector Richard Consola and is stamped “SAMPLE” on both sides.

Sun 223 “Mystery Train”/“I Forgot to Remember to Forget.”  (Graded “VG++” on both sides.)  This record was obtained from record collector Bob Brennan.  It originated from Florida disc jockey Marvin Lacy, who did not play it because he believed Elvis was corrupting country and western music with his brand of rockabilly.    

Since 1994, we have been aligned with high profile sales and important collections.  The company sold Mickey Mantle’s 500th home run baseball for an undisclosed amount, Mantle’s 1955 game-worn jersey for $100,000 and Babe Ruth’s 702nd home run bat signed by the 1934 New York Yankees for more than $99,000.  As the West Coast’s premiere sports and celebrity auction house, we strive to lead the memorabilia industry by providing the highest quality authentic memorabilia, client satisfaction, industry integrity and trust.

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Early 1930s Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth Signed OAL Ball
Meeting virtually all the requisites that we envision of the ideal Ruth/Gehrig signed ball, this little treasure dates to 1932 or '33. The moderately toned ball holds the simulated signature of then newly-crowned American League president, Will Harridge. Because that stamping appears in the east panel (and further confirmed by the ball's red-and-blue stitching), its vintage is narrowed to those two years. (Harridge ascended the presidency in 1931, but his identity on official Reach balls wasn't effected until '32.) To the entree of this opportunity, now, we expand on the tandem signatures. Oriented precisely to prescription, Babe Ruth utterly commands the sweet spot - a penning that remains “5-6" in quality. To the left (i.e., in the west panel), there radiates the autograph of Lou Gehrig which is about 6". Both signatures are mildly interrupted by surface degradation, yet these signings are equally strong, and fully conspicuous at a comfortable distance. As paired, the linear dimension of the two signatures is less than 180 degrees; as such, the ball may be readily situated for complete visibility of both simultaneously. In conclusion, we report that there are no other writings on this ball. It bears nothing more than the autographs of those two Pinstripe immortals.

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1955 Mickey Mantle New York Yankees Home Flannel Pinstripe

Game Used Jersey.
The Mick's illustrious career in pinstripes really took off in 1954 and 1955, and those two seasons set the stage for his 1956 Triple Crown and back-to-back MVP's in 1956 and 1957. Looking for the coveted #7 home Yankees flannel pinstripe and you are looking for a needle in a haystack. 1960's road Mantle gamers are "findable" and a 1960's home pinstripe comes along once in a New York blue moon. The early to mid '50's?….. well, that's another story entirely. This 1955 home Mantle pinstripe stops one or two trips to the minors short of perfection. The flannel jersey body is perfect (soft and supple) and is devoid of any excessive shoulder and upper back wear, offering a consistent mass of midnight navy pinstriping against off white flannel. The Spaulding tag in the collar with the size 44 mini tag is correct and intact with solid wear. The front has an exact interlocking felt "NY" perfectly placed in size and spec over the original. Faint traces of "FL" for Ft. Lauderdale and "Triplets" for the Yanks' farm club "Arkansas Triplets" can be seen on the front chest upon ultra-close inspection in proper light. Mantle's original #7 in blue felt is still firmly affixed to the verso with its original stitch pattern sitting majestically in the upper middle torso and is perhaps more renowned than any other numbered verso save for Teddy Ballgame's home Red Sox #9. The lower left front tail sports a magnificent identifier "Mantle" atop "55-7" in vintage chain link stitching. On the inside of the tail flap adjacent to the seam is a washing instruction label and a flap tag reading "Set 1 1955". Tail tagging just doesn't come any cleaner or with such majesty as is present here. The jersey was sourced along with an Enos Slaughter home Yankees flannel from a friend of Mantle's back home in Missouri. It comes with a picture book of the two jerseys together at the friend's home in Joplin, Missouri. It may not be total perfection, but it is 100% in terms of its '50's Mantle game-used pedigree, and it does possess startling features with its original "7" plus original name and year identifiers. In 1955, Mantle hit .306 with a league leading 37 homers, 92 RBI's and an astounding 11 triples. He also led the league in on base percentage and slugging percentage, serving notice as to what would be commonplace for him over the ensuing decade. If it can't be Marilyn Monroe, then certainly Elizabeth Taylor will do. Eminently displayable from behind with the front left flap tag folded over.

During my career I wore many hats!

1932 New York Yankees Signed World Series Scorecard
w/Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri et al. ("Called Shot" Series)

A positively glorious keepsake from the fabled World Series of 1932. The Yankees, as we all know, made short work of the Chicago Cubs in that Fall Classic. And in the process, one of the game's most memorable tableaux was registered when Babe Ruth gestured his imminent home run against Chicago's Charlie Root in Game 3 of that Series. One enthusiast from that World Series carried this rather austere scorecard which then used to summon the autographs of ten Yankees stars. The medium is in substantially reduced condition. When opened to its full dimensions, it measures 6 x 6-1/2. The piece was quarter-folded, which has induced a separation at the vertical fold. It is printed on both sides - the front announcing New York Yankees Batting Order, and the reverse details the season's pitching performance summaries for the Cubs and the Yankees. The spotlight of this piece, of course, is the composite of magnificent autographs on the front. With one exception, these signers placed their fountain pen identities adjacent to their printed sequences. And as is evident in our photo for this treasure, it is signed by Ed Wells, Danny MacFayden, Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Ben Chapman, Frankie Crosetti and Red Ruffing. The Ruth signature is somewhat obscured by the folds in the medium, yet it is abundantly legible. However, the utterly mesmerizing quality of the Gehrig and Lazzeri signings are above reproach - either worthy of 8-9.

The Beatles Signed Baseball From Their Final U.S. Tour
On the evening of August 15, 1966, The Beatles were to play the fourth city of their North American Tour. The venue was DC Stadium (today RFK Stadium) in Washington DC. This was an idle day for the Senators who used DC Stadium for their home games. For this particular day the ballplayers were asked to remove all their personal belongings so The Beatles might use the locker room in preparing for their performance. The only member of the Senators organization authorized to occupy the area was the teams equipment manager, Fred Baster. As the story goes, Mr. Baster asked The Beatles to sign three baseballs for him before the concert. His recollection of the evening is that they graciously consented. Two of the baseballs signed that night were for the Baster family. The third ball was signed for Mike McCormick, a Senators pitcher (who, incidentally, would later claim a Cy Young award). Prior to the The Beatles arrival, Mike asked Mr. Baster to have them sign a baseball for him.

The ball that The Beatles signed is a Joe Cronin Official American League baseball. Recently, Steve Grad, Zach Rullo, and Roger Eperson of PSA/DNA, the nation’s leading autograph authenticators, examined this baseball, and unanimously agreed that the signings are positively authentic. The provenance of the baseball is iron-clad as well. The consignor is former major league pitcher, Mike McCormick, and the ball is contemporaneous to the period. Aside from the Letter of Authenticity issued by PSA/DNA, the ball is attended by a signed letter directly from Mike McCormick.

Beatles autographs solicited during the 1966 tour were prohibitively difficult to obtain, and this tour marked the last time they traveled collectively in America. The tour was grueling for them. They were under such tight security in Japan, they were ushered like prisoners in a foreign land. In the Philippines, they snubbed the president and his wife, whereupon they were spurned from the country. On August 11, 1966, the eve of the North American Tour, The Beatles hosted a press conference at the Astor Towers Hotel in Chicago. The result of unrelenting attacks from the press forced John Lennon to make a public apology for his previous comment that “We’re more popular than Jesus.” This five word statement appeared in Datebook Magazine (July 29, 1966). Though quoted out of context by interviewer Maureen Cleave, John accepted full responsibility for the statement. This comment had a ripple effect that was especially seen throughout America’s Bible-belt. Clergymen, public officials and disc jockeys throughout the South urged their listeners to gather at select locations for public burnings of Beatle albums and commercial mementos. The Ku Klux Klan, in full force, rallied in protest outside their concerts. The Beatles also received anonymous threats. Security was at its greatest wherever they performed or lodged. But since they were committed to complete the tour, they continued on through America. The final stop was San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, on August 29, 1966. That night, after they finished playing, they took one last bow, and were whisked away to a waiting vehicle. Little did anyone suspect they had just witnessed the end of an era.

We detail this closer look at the 1966 Beatles American tour to underscore the absolutely unyielding security barrier that separated the group from the public. The four autographs, in unison, simply weren’t attainable. Here, however, is the sharp exception. Not only were the penning’s captured against impossible odds, but the medium is the consummate symbol of America. And, as if to a blueprinted request, the baseballs four panels ideally provided one surface for each of the adulated megastars - all of them graciously and conscientiously penning their identities to this baseball. A minimal top coating has been applied to preserve the strength and quality of each signature.

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1960s Mickey Mantle Game-Worn Yankees Helmet ​w/Military Stencil Logo
In the major league ranks, we believe it was Pittsburgh who introduced batting helmets. From card issues dating as early as 1954, many Pirates are imaged wearing them. Across both circuits, however, ballplayers were slow to warm to these safety measures - real men of sporting chivalry stepped to the plate undaunted by a 95-mile-an hour missile passing in such perilous proximity. (Today, of course, batsmen shamelessly take their turn protected by a whole kit of safety accessories - helmets with ear flaps, elbow pads, instep guards and the like - generally enough to endure a direct grenade assault.)

But in those early days, most ballplayers would sooner wear a tu-tu with pink daisies than face Bob Gibson (along with 20,000 fans and television cameras) wearing a batting helmet. It just ain't John Wayne. On the other hand, no hitter wants a beaning - especially with nothing more than a light wool cap to cushion the impact. Indeed, takin' one in the head hurts like hell (at best); it can interrupt or even terminate a career (not to mention the lamentable Ray Chapman tragedy).

For many franchise rosters, a compromise solution seemed acceptable. Forthwith, a helmet of sorts became vogue - one that provided skull protection in the form of indestructible fiberglass, but covered on the exterior with a material masquerading as a woolen cap. So durable were these "helmets" that, in many instances, they'd survive several seasons of the harshest abuse. Problem was, the applied covering quickly degenerated. One quick remedy was to peel the fabric surface off in its entirety, then paint the helmet's exterior in the standard team-color (hoping to maintain the visual similarity to wool), and somehow affix the proper logo to the front of the crown. 

Typical were those adopted by the Yankees and, in recent memory, such helmets once used by Roger Maris, Berra and Elston Howard have traded in our industry. Now, for the reader's indulgence, is one tracing to Mickey Mantle. It's in wonderfully compromised condition, victimized by extensive use and on-field torment. The original "wooly" surface is completely gone, and the outer crown has been thoroughly painted (perhaps more than once) in flat Yankee black. That this helmet has served duty is evidenced by broad, but light, chipping across most of the visor's edge. (There are no cracks in the crown or the visor.) Most convincing, however, is the state of this helmet in its internal aspects. The texture of the leather-cushioned head band demonstrates plenty of use and, as seen in our photo, a 2 1/2" section is now missing. Further, a wide application of woven adhesive tape remains at the rear side of the internal crown. Though heavily impregnated with soil and perspiration, "7" and "Mantle" are clearly discernible. At the top of the crown (again, internally) is the standardly affixed circular cushion. "7" is printed on its surface, suggesting that the manufacturer was instructed to designate specific helmets for each of the rostered Yankees. The manufacturer's label is also affixed internally. Made by American Baseball Cap, this helmet is indicated as a size 7 1/4 and, helpful in determining the vintage, we note that ABC (of Media, Pennsylvania) is indicated with a Zip Code, thereby demonstrating the helmet's making to a date later than 1963.

Finally, and perhaps the most profound feature of this piece is its stenciled Yankee logo. Such was the solution found by the Yankee equipment staff - after painting the crown and visor, the interlocking "NY" logo was applied by a burst of white paint against a fabricated stencil. Do note in our illustration for this listing that a photo of Mantle is provided - one depicting him (during the 1964 World Series) wearing just such a stenciled batting helmet.There's a profound legacy in this piece - once a vital accessory in the professional effects of Mickey Mantle.

During my career, on the way up the ladder, I wore many hats. Sometimes it was necessary to switch hats during the same day. One hat in particular I really enjoyed wearing and that was my Copywriter hat. After spending a morning conjuring up creative ideas, revving-up my creative team, reviewing all the prior days photo shoots and layouts, possibly designing a few covers, updating my flow charts, and tying up any other looses ends. I found it very rewarding to sit down and write some copy. It always varied from press releases, item descriptions, to some advertising copy or to feature articles or record reviews.

On this page you will find some writing examples of past work. 

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