Be the first to know about
the latest online auctions.
Please enter a valid email address (name@host.com)
Sign Up »
PS: We value your privacy
Thank you!
Want to learn more
about online auctions?
Take a Quick Tour »
Invaluable cannot guarantee the accuracy of translations through Google Translate and disclaims any responsibility for inaccurate translations.
Show translation options

The Auction at Graceland - October 29, 2016

by The Auction at Graceland

29 October 2016, 15:00 CST

Memphis, TN, USA

Live Auction

Lot 25: Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's "That's All Right"

Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's
  • Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's
  • Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's
  • Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's
  • Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's
  • Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's
  • Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's
  • Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's
Starting bid: $15,000(0 bids)
Your max bid:
Leave Bid

(Enter more than $15,000)

Estimate: $30,000 - $40,000


From a New York State Collection

CLICK HERE to read more about this collection which includes The Record Stampers for Sun 209 and a group of Sun Record Co. Checks - LOTS 25–30.

What is a record "stamper"?

The simplest explanation is that these are the actual "plates" that were used to produce the records in the factory. In a bit more detail, the stamper is the culmination of a process that starts with a song's acetate, or master disk, that is created after recording. Acetates have an aluminum core that is coated with vinyl. The core makes acetates more rigid and heavy, but at a glance, they appear to look like a normal record. The acetate is then coated, or "plated," with silver and nickel, and this plate is in turn separated from the acetate. The resulting plate is called the "father" or "master plate." The original acetate gets destroyed in this process. The father is then plated again, creating a metal version of the original acetate. This "mother" plate is an exact copy of the acetate, and can be played to confirm quality. From this mother plate, another plate is created that becomes the stamper, while the mother is put aside for making future stampers. Stampers would normally only be good for creating a relatively small number of records, perhaps several thousand depending on the production plant's procedures. When the stampers wear out, a number of others can be made from the mother plate, and when the mother wears out, the whole process starts over again from a new master acetate.

That the offered stampers were saved at all is a stroke of luck, to be sure. After their tenure in the record plant, they would have been returned to Sun, but they had no functional use, and would have been filed away, if not discarded. There are many stories of record collectors stumbling upon stampers strewn among stacks of old, unsold stock years later, but generally no one gave them much thought. The offered artifacts would be considered incredibly rare, if not terribly important, even if they were just any old songs from a source as important as Sun Records. But because of the fact that they are responsible for pressing what many consider to be the first record in rock and roll history, their significance to music history cannot be overstated.

YOU ARE BIDDING ON: Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's "That's All Right"

The offered metal stampers were used to produce some of the very earliest pressings of Elvis Presley's first 45 RPM record release with the songs "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky." The recording of these two songs is widely considered by many to be the birth of rock and roll. When Elvis exploded on the Memphis airwaves, changing popular music forever, Sam Phillips charged into the future and had his records on the shelves only days later, on July 19, 1954. The initial copies were pressed by Plastic Products in Memphis, and Elvis himself is said to have visited the plant to watch the record being made. There is no way to know for sure if these stampers were part of the initial production run in mid-July, but pencil notations on the storage sleeve indicate that they were in use no later than August 1954. Either way, some of the first records Elvis fans ever played were pressed from these very stampers. They pressed together upon the waiting "hot wax" and, one copy after another, helped change the world forever.

Key attributes of the stampers include the matrix numbers visible in what would be the "dead wax" portion of the final pressed records, the "Audiodisc" logo around the center circles, and, of course, the three small indentations around the center holes. The matrix numbers, which read, in reverse, "U-128-45" on "That's All Right" and "U-129-45" on "Blue Moon of Kentucky," match exactly to the matrix numbers which appear on the period copies of Sun 209. Both numbers are also followed by "72" a short distance away. (See photos presented above.)

The three 1/4" indentations, used to hold the stampers in place by connecting with three opposing pins during pressing, are what created what are known to collectors of early Elvis records as "delta" marks. They form a triangle (or the Greek letter "delta") of marks on the Sun labels. These marks are the tell-tale sign that a record is a "delta pressing," pressed at the Memphis record plant. Copies pressed at other plants in Philadelphia or Los Angeles do not have these marks. The marks appear on all of Elvis' Sun 45s except for his final release, "Mystery Train." By the time of that release in 1955, the stamper production method had been adjusted.

The original paper sleeve in which the stampers were stored, which is included with THIS LOT, the "That's All Right" stamper, has handwritten pencil notations on one side, including "Sun 209" and "45-U-128," which is a slightly transposed version of the final record's side A matrix number, U-128-45. Most interesting, though, are what appear to be notations of nine different pressings of the record between August 1954 and November 1955, with the earliest listed as August 27, 1954, mere weeks after the record's release. The complete list reads as follows, with indecipherable entries listed with (?):

8/27/54 - 400
10/26/54 - 300
1/31/55 - 250
6(?)/28/55 - 100
8/(?)/55 - 100
9/(?)/55 - 150
10/13/55 - 100
11/3/55 - 150
11/25/55 - 200

It is certainly possible that the stampers were employed prior to the first date that was written on the sleeve, but there is no way to tell for sure. Additionally, the final date is interesting, because it likely represents the very last copies of Sun 209 to be pressed. Just four days earlier, on November 21, 1955, Sam Phillips had sold Elvis' contract to RCA. The deal stipulated that Sam was to turn over all recordings of Elvis and stop all sales and distribution of his records by the end of the year. In fact, RCA started selling their own pressings of Elvis' Sun singles only weeks after the signing, but not before the offered stampers made one last run at pressing just a little more history.

At this writing, only one other stamper for "That's All Right" has ever been seen offered publicly, and that copy was discovered together with a stamper for "Mystery Train" in the late 1960s. These are held in a private collection in England. To our knowledge, no stamper for "Blue Moon of Kentucky" has ever surfaced, and the one offered here may be the only one in existence. Furthermore, that the stampers offered here, for both sides of Sun 209, were discovered stored together in the same sleeve with notated pressing dates and quantities from the first few weeks of distribution is an indication that they are in a special category all to themselves. A truly remarkable and undeniably historic offering. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

YOU ARE BIDDING ON: Original 1954 Record Stamper for Sun Records 209, Elvis Presley's "That's All Right"

Condition Report: The stamper shows expected signs of wear and use. Excellent condition.

Live bidding may start higher or lower
Terms and Conditions
By submitting your bid, you agree that:
  • You have read and agree with the Auctioneer Terms and Conditions below and the Invaluable Terms of Use Agreement
  • You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

The Auction at Graceland Shipping Terms
Although shipping is the responsibility of the purchaser, we would recommend the following shippers to assist with arranging for packing and transport of any lots won in the auction. They are specialists in the field and can work directly with you to make full arrangements. They are happy to provide preliminary shipping estimates so please feel free to reach out to them directly.

UPS Store #0869
6025 Stage Road, Ste 42
Bartlett, TN 38134
T: (901) 385-8701
Contact: Robert Brown

Lisa Fisher-Wood
Fine Arts Coordinator
Mallory Alexander International Logistics
4294 Swinnea Road, Memphis, TN 38118
Phone: Ofc) 901-370-4303 Cell) 901-493-6596.

LR International Inc.
3720 River Road | Suite 300
Franklin Park, IL 60131 USA
T: 630-350-7100
F: 630-350-7101
Contact: Jerry Pohlman

All items for this auction are located at Graceland Archives Warehouse in Memphis, TN. Auction A Circle, LLC does not ship. As a buyer, you are responsible for the pick up or shipment of the property you have purchased. As a courtesy, Auction A Circle, LLC has made arrangements with a variety of third party shippers to provide shipping quotes for buyers. Please note that shipping remains the responsibility of the buyer and it is highly recommended that you get quotes prior to the auction for large, fragile, or heavy items so you can consider the shipping costs before bidding. Under no circumstances will Auction A Circle, LLC be held responsible for items entrusted to a third party shipper. Purchaser agrees that packing and shipping is done at the purchaser's risk and that the purchaser will pay for all packing expenses, materials, carrier fees and insurance charges. Auction A Circle, LLC will have no liability for any loss or damage to shipped items. If any employee or agent of Auction A Circle, LLC is requested and agrees to pack or transport the merchandise, it is fully at the risk, responsibility and expense of the purchaser and Auction A Circle, LLC shall not be liable for any loss or damage that may be caused by such employee or agent. The purchase price and all fees must be paid in full before items will be released to the buyer or their agent.

Shipping small items by common carrier (UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS): Auction A Circle, LLC has engaged shippers to pick up several times a week from Auction A Circle, LLC's facilities. Auction A Circle, LLC's recommended shippers for small items are LR International, Mallory Alexander International Logistics and UPS Store #0869. Once Auction A Circle, LLC received your payment and the completed shipping form authorizing the release of your property to the shipper, Auction A Circle, LLC will add your lot(s) to the list for the next pick up. You will receive a shipping quote for you approval within 48 hours after the shipper has picked up your lot(s). If for any reason the quote is unacceptable to you, your property will be returned to Auction A Circle, LLC so you can make alternate arrangements.

Shipping larger items by freight (e.g. furniture, bulky or odd shaped items, etc.): Auction A Circle, LLC can provide assistance in arranging for delivery by freight for items that exceed allowable dimensions or weight restrictions of UPS, Fed Ex and similar carriers. Depending on the location, Auction A Circle, LLC can recommend a variety of third party shippers. Auction A Circle, LLC is also happy to work with the freight company of your choosing. Please keep in mind that delivery of these types of items can be an expensive proposition and Auction A Circle, LLC urges you to consider this before bidding. Please remember that it is your responsibility to pay for all deliveries.
All property should be removed from the premises within 30 days unless prior arrangements have been made with Auction A Circle, LLC. Purchased items not picked up from the auction facility within 30 days of the auction will be assessed a storage and administrative fee of 1% per month of the total purchase price from the 30th day after the sale until its removal, and a minimum fee of 3% of the total purchase price for any property not removed within 90 days after the sale. Alternatively, for any property not removed within 180 days after the sale, the property may be resold without reserve and the proceeds remitted to the purchaser less all applicable charges, premiums and fees due and owing to Auction A Circle, LLC.
Accepted Forms of Payment
Personal Check, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Visa, MasterCard, Wire Transfer, Paypal


Invoices will be emailed within 48 hours of the close of the auction. Payment for all winning bids must be settled within 15 days of sale, unless otherwise agreed upon in writing. Payment may be made by cash (In House Only), bank wire transfer, certified funds, credit card, check or PayPal. Auction A Circle, LLC reserves the right to require payment by bank wire transfer or certified funds. Where permitted by law, a convenience charge of 3.5% will be reflected in the final purchase price for the use of a credit card.
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)
Lot title
$0 (starting bid)