AFTER MY FIRST ELVIS BOOK was published by O’Sullivan Woodside in 1985, I was not content with the across-the-board changes that I had made. I wanted more! I had been too conservative—a word rarely associated with me—in adjusting assigned values and wanted a second shot at getting it right. Five years later and I had A Touch Of Gold.
I could have given this book to Krause but chose instead to go the self-publishing route. With my best friend Jack Thuemmler as the business half of a two-person partnership, we launched White Dragon Press to publish an ongoing line of specialized price guides for record collectors. (Our company was named after Ruth, the white dragon in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern stories.)
This was a great idea that, alas, blew up in our faces. Jack and I were beset by one problem after another—each unforeseen, each minor. By the accumulation of minor problems taxed our resources (both capital and personal) and we failed after selling a few thousand copies.
Hindsight shows me that I should have simply given the book to KP and reaped whatever rewards there were to be reaped and moved on. But that’s another story. (The reason for self-publishing was that I had total control of the product, including the retail price of the book. I also stood to male a considerably more money per unit as my own publisher.)
The series of articles about the books I have published have a loose chronology and narrative that makes the most sense if read in this order:
1. Rock & Roll Record Albums Price Guide (1985)
2. Elvis Presley Record Price Guide (1985)
3. A Touch Of Gold – The Elvis Presley Record & Memorabilia Price Guide (1990)
8. Blues And Rhythm & Blues 45s Of The ’50s (2000)
My second Elvis book was graced with one of the first published photos of Elvis by Robert W. Dye. I met his son in 1990 at the annual get-together in Memphis during August to commemorate Elvis Presley’s life. We hit it off and he offered me access to his father’s photos.
Bootlegs, radios, & memorabilia
With ATOG I was able to tweak all the changes that I had made in the 1985-1986 edition of the Elvis Presley Record Price Guide. I again lowered the common records and raise the rare records, bringing the whole within something resembling the reality of the marketplace!
Aside from the thousands of legitimate records issued in the US, I included a few new sections. As the full title of the book was A Touch Of Gold – Elvis Presley Record & Memorabilia Price Guide, I had to have memorabilia! So I included these sections:
• Counterfeit Sun and RCA Records listed all known reproductions of Sun Records and RCA Victor 78s, 45s, PSs, EPs, and LPs.
• Bootleg Records listed every bootleg record known to exist at the time.
• Radio Programs listed syndicated shows shipped to radio stations as either reel-to-reel tapes or LP records.
• RCA Memorabilia listed items manufactured by RCA Victor from 1955 into the ’80s to promote Presley records.
• Sheet Music listed hundreds of printed music for songs that Elvis had recorded.
A Touch Of Gold was well received by those who bought the first printing. When I talk to collectors, I still get told that this was the best Elvis book ever and some of them still refer to it rather than the others that have been published since!
A second edition of ATOG was planned and would have been an even better book: with the assistance of Linda Jones, I was going to include a chapter devoted to the novelties manufactured in 1956-1957 with the approval of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
These charm bracelets, dolls, lipsticks, etc., are the rarest and the most collected and therefore the most valuable of all Elvis memorabilia. (If anyone reading this is in contact with Linda, I would love to hear from her again!)
Twenty-five years late and I still want to finish that second edition of A Touch Of Gold . . .