Elvis Presley's fingerprints up for auction

Is that the outline of a gun or was he just pleased to see the audience?
Is that the outline of a gun or was he just pleased to see the audience?

Elvis Presley's fingerprints are up for auction on Thursday (4 September) alongside a king's ransom of rock 'n' roll memorabilia including John Bonham's last Led Zeppelin drum kit, a torched Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster and the piano that The Beatles used to record Hey Jude.

Appearing on The King's application for a concealed gun permit, the prints are thought to be the only set in existence. Stamped 30 October 1970, the application notes that Elvis was applying for a permit for a Colt revolver and a Beretta automatic pistol.

Elvis was renowned for carrying a piece whenever he left the house and he would even go onstage with a small Derringer in his boot. Over the past 15 years over 300 of his hand guns and rifles have come to auction in the USA.

To obtain a firearm, The King would have had to apply for a license in every US state that he travelled through. In normal circumstances these written licenses and full set of fingerprints would be filed until the owner died at the local sheriff's office. After the death of the licensee, the documentation would be shredded.

Somehow this set of prints escaped the shredder, and experts expect it to fetch around £50,000-75,000 at Thursday's It's More Than Rock 'N' Roll auction, which takes place at the Idea Generation Gallery in London.

Maybe the existence of these prints will finally dispel the rumour that The King is alive and well and selling ice cream in Iowa. Someone should track down that impersonator, take his fingerprints for comparison's sake and settle the matter once and for all.

Chris Vinnicombe worked with us here on the MusicRadar team from the site's initial launch way back in 2007, and also contributed to Guitarist magazine as Features Editor until 2014, as well as Total Guitar magazine, amongst others. These days he can be found at Gibson Guitars, where he is editor-in-chief.