Lot 28: Sun Record Co. Check to Dewey Phillips for $500 (10/5/56) Signed by Sam Phillips and Dewey Phillips
29 October 2016
Memphis, TN, USALive Auction
From a New York State Collection
Dewey Phillips was a key player in the legendary launch of the career of Elvis Presley and the seismic shift in the landscape of popular American music that followed. It was Dewey who couldn't stop playing the still-warm copies of "That's All Right" that Sam Phillips handed to him that fateful night in July of 1954. And it was Dewey, after the studio phone blew up with kids clamoring to hear the song again and again, who got the young singer in the studio for a quick interview, in which he made sure to ask him what high school he had attended to let his fans know his race. Dewey was also one of the few people close to Sam Phillips, whom Sam socialized with on a regular basis. They could often be seen together after hours around Memphis, knocking back some refreshments or getting a late meal and letting their hair down.
The offered Sun Record Co., Inc. check no. 1918 for $500 written to Dewey Phillips on October 5, 1956 is signed on the front by Sam Phillips and on the reverse by Dewey. It represents an unprecedented opportunity to acquire two of the most sought-after signatures from the era, from the two men responsible for lighting the match that became a wildfire. And on a Sun Records check, no lessâit couldn't be a more fitting canvas. Dewey Phillips' tragic decline in the years that followed led to his death in 1968 at the age of only 42, making his signature incredibly rare. As to what the sizeable payment was for, let the conspiracy theories begin! As close as Sam and Dewey were as friends, it's not very likely that a payola check was necessary, but the notion is enticing! Regardless of the circumstances, we are fortunate to be left with an artifact that captures the signatures of two seminal figures in the history of rock 'n' roll. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.
Condition Report: The check is very clean with few distresses, the expected cancellation holes and stampings notwithstanding. Near Mint condition.