Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By Leslie Bridgers email@example.com
WINDHAM - Elvis' watch is in the building.
This watch once owned by Elvis Presley is on sale at a jewelry store in Windham for $24,000.
Photos by Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer
A letter signed by Vester Presley, Elvis’ uncle, attests to the authenticity of the watch being sold at Windham Jewelers.
Through Saturday, a watch worn by Elvis Presley will be on display for sale at Windham Jewelers on Route 302. Asking price: $24,000.
"I think it's pretty reasonably priced," said Kathy Byrnes, the store's owner.
For its annual estate jewelry sale this week, Windham Jewelers has on display a collection of pieces once owned by the rich, famous and infamous, including an onyx cross owned by Cher, June Carter Cash's cameo and a bangle once owned by convicted Ponzi-scheme operator Bernard Madoff.
There's an 18-karat gold box that Yul Brynner once gave to Mia Farrow, and a golf-themed tie clip and cuff links from Bob Hope's estate.
But Elvis' watch is the show-stopper.
Byrnes said people have been flocking to the store to see it, touch it and even try it on. Some people have been kissing the watch, she said, and one woman cried when she held it.
Jane Nason of Harrison didn't know the watch was on display at the store until she got there Thursday, but it immediately brought back memories of watching Elvis movies as a girl.
"It's really amazing," she said after seeing the piece up close.
The Hamilton watch, with a 14-karat-gold-framed face, razor-cut crystal and black leather strap, was given to Elvis by the founder of the Tankers, one of his first fan clubs, according to a letter written in 1981 by Elvis' uncle, Vester Presley. It was a gift for Elvis when he returned to Memphis, Tenn., from the military.
The engraving on the back reads, "Welcome Home Elvis from the Tankers," and is dated March 7, 1960.
About six months later, the watch stopped, Vester Presley wrote. He said Elvis gave it to him to get fixed, and later told him to keep it.
About six weeks ago, The Singer Collection, a New York City-based buyer and seller of antique and estate jewelry, purchased the watch from a Los Angeles auction house. Rebecca Lantz, a sales representative for The Singer Collection, said she's been taking the watch and other items to jewelry shows throughout the country.
Byrnes has a feeling the watch has made its last stop.
There's a special connection between Elvis and Maine, she said. Thirty-four years ago next Wednesday, he was scheduled to start a 12-day tour with a concert at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland. He died the day before, Aug. 16, 1977.
"I get goose bumps," Byrnes said about looking at the watch. "It's my favorite piece."
Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: