Elvis Presley '68 Comeback Special Hagstrom guitar sells at auction

(Image credit: GWS Auctions)

The Hagstrom Viking II electric guitar that Elvis Presley used on his '68 Comeback Special TV performance has sold for $625,000 at auction in the US.

As we reported in March, the guitar was played by Elvis during the opening medley of Trouble and Guitar Man before a performance of Blues Suede Shows from the legend's 1956  self-titled debut album.

The '68 Special TV production marked Elvis Presley's return to live performance after several years focussing on film appearances. The singer didn't own the Viking II and had borrowed it from the guitarist in his backing band for the performance.

"This guitar belonged to Al Casey, a wonderful musician in his own right, who performed in the backing band during the special," says GWS Auctions that hosted the sale. "According to the accompanying letter from Casey, he was asked to let Elvis use the guitar by the producers, as they thought it would look beautiful on camera and with the set. Elvis used the guitar for the opening segment as well as during one of the live 'stand-up' segments. "

Elvis is also pictured with the Hagstrom on the cover of the RCA album, From Elvis In Memphis. 

Bidding for the Viking II started at $250,000 with the guitar attracting 11 bids in total, reaching $625,000 including buyer's premium. A guitar pick owned by Elvis also fetched $1,200 at the auction with sheet music from the Comeback Special fetching $1,400. 

This news article was amended to reflect the total selling price for the Hagstrom Viking II to include the buyer's premium charge. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.