NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The King's first home is now another man's castle. A ranch-style Memphis home that Elvis Presley bought in 1956 as his career was taking off has sold for $905,100 on the online auction service eBay.
Peter Gleason, a New York attorney and retired firefighter, posted the high bid in the final seconds before the 8 p.m. deadline Sunday.
Gleason said Monday that he is a partner in a group that includes Israeli psychic Uri Geller. Their interest in the home is in restoring it to its 1956 luster, down to the original wallpaper and floor coverings, and eventually opening it to the public.
"The present owners have done a phenomenal job starting that process," he said. "We want to piggyback on that and take it to the next level by turning it into a museum-quality piece of Americana."
The most recent public appraisal for tax purposes valued the house at $261,000, said Stephen Shutts, who facilitated the eBay sale.
The current owners, Mike Freeman and Cindy Hazen, paid $180,000 in 1998.
Lance Cowan of LCMedia, a Nashville firm that publicized the auction, said more than 225,000 hits were recorded and 71 bids posted since bidding began April 14.
Presley, then 21, bought the four-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot house at 1034 Audubon Drive with his early song royalties. The singer, his parents and grandmother lived there for a year before moving to a two-story colonial house already known as Graceland, the house that Elvis would make famous.
A month after moving into the Audubon Drive home, "Heartbreak Hotel" hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts, ultimately ending any privacy Presley had in the neighborhood. Fans lined the suburban street and police frequently had to be called in.
A Life magazine article from August 1956 had pictures of teenage girls sitting with their ears pressed to his bedroom wall and picking through the grass in his yard for souvenirs. The commotion became so intense that Elvis moved his bedroom to the back of the house.
Gleason will use photos from the era to help restore the home to its original appearance, a project he estimates will cost $500,000 to $750,000.
Despite the eBay sale, the home, which was built in 1953, still must go through the standard steps of a real estate transaction, a process that could take several weeks.