From our December Antiques Sale 2013

A ‘Perpetuum Ebner Musical 5v Luxus’ Record Player.

Owned and used by Elvis Presley during the early part of his army service in Germany. In excellent used condition, complete with original operating instructions. Inherited by the present vendor from his wife, who was given it in person by Elvis Presley.

Given by Presley to Elizabeth (Ellen) Marschhäuser in 1959.

Estimate: £1,500-£2,000

SOLD for £4,400

Elizabeth (Ellen) Marschhäuser lived in Bad Nauheim, Germany. In 1957 she had holidayed in England, fallen in love and become engaged to a young Englishman. She returned to Germany and continued to work as a cashier at the PX on the American Army Base in Friedberg. Her marriage was set for April 1959. In 1958 Elvis Presley arrived in Germany for his National Service. He was stationed at Friedberg and decided to live off base in nearby Bad Neuheim with his father, grandmother and other members of his entourage.

In early 1959 in a chance meeting at the Bad Nauheim Post Office, Ellen assisted Vernon Presley, Elvis’s father. He was struggling with the language and as Ellen spoke fluent English she was able to translate for him. He invited Ellen to visit the Presley apartment as a thank you. She visited on a couple of occasions. On the second occasion there was a party and Elvis played records on the 5v Luxus and also played his guitar through the amplifier of the record player.

Ellen spoke with Elvis over quite a long time and told him she was soon going to London to be married. Elvis expressed an interest in her forthcoming marriage in London stating he was hoping to visit there in the near future. Elvis offered the record player to Ellen as a gift, which she accepted. It remained in her possession until her death in 2010, when it was inherited by the vendor, her husband.

As neither Elizabeth Marschhäuser nor Elvis Presley are alive and able to speak for themselves we wanted to get a clear picture of Ellen’s character and therefore the veracity of her story. Our research into her background reveals a fascinating and charismatic woman.

She was a well-travelled, educated woman of 36 when she met Elvis in 1959. She had been married and had an 18-year-old son. Her first husband (Stanley Marschhäuser) was an accomplished violinist who ran a popular orchestra. During the war, his orchestra was hired to entertain top ranking members of the Gestapo. Ellen accompanied her husband and would have met these officers. Her brother-in-law (Heinz Stouver) was a popular broadcaster & actor on Frankfurt radio. She is unlikely to have been particularly star-struck. She definitely was not an Elvis fan who spent hours waiting on his doorstep to catch a glimpse of him.

Ellen held responsible jobs working for the American army, firstly an office based job in Bad Nauheim and secondly at the PX on Ray Barracks in Friedberg. She spoke excellent English. In later life in England she worked at the Press Club in Fleet St. We have photographs of her meeting the Queen and Queen Mother during her time at the Press Club. Friends and family still living hold her in very high regard.

David Lay Frics have a national reputation for exposing fakers. We take this very seriously. We have carried out extensive research. Our client’s story has been corroborated by sources in England and in Germany. We are entirely satisfied with our client’s honesty and that the item is genuine.

 

An incredibly rare collectors item with a wonderful provenance. Elvis remains to this day one of the most iconic and influential artists of the twentieth century. It is well documented that Elvis was extremely generous to his family, entourage and fans. Although it was an expensive item in 1959 it is not entirely surprising that he would make a gift of it to an attractive and engaging woman who had helped his father.

 

David Lay Frics would like to thank the following for their kind assistance during the research of this item:

Mr & Mrs Ivan Vickers

Marion Marschhäuser

Mariam Katongole