RCA 2458EX IS AN ODD RECORD, one of the oddest in the vast catalog of Elvis records. It was manufactured in the US expressly to be exported to the UK and sold there in 1974. Instead of the usual creamsicle orange label that was the standard for RCA records at the time, this weird record had labels that were as gray as the Incredible Hulk was in 1962! And a mysterious, valuable insert is associated with the record.
RCA Victor 2458EX, Elvis Presley’s My Boy / Loving Arms, has attracted a lot of attention from collectors since it first appeared in a price guide years ago, where it was listed as a rather rare record with an absurdly inflated value attached to it. Decades later and confusion still surrounds aspects of this record. Especially confusing are two paper products associated with it: a generic company paper sleeve and a paper insert sheet.
Many collectors believe the insert associated with 2458EX is legit while others doubt its authenticity.
This is one of four articles that address the export-only singles of 1974. The other three are:
• “Why Did RCA Have to Export David Bowie Records to England in the ’70s?” addresses the ten records known to have been manufactured in the US exclusively for sale in the UK, focusing on three by David Bowie.
• “British Pressings of Elvis Presley’s My Boy Are Common in the UK” addresses the various versions of RCA 2458 manufactured by or for RCA in England at the same time they were importing copies from the US.
There is some overlapping and redundancy of the information in these articles. The generic company sleeve was addressed in the second article above; the special insert is addressed in the article that follows.
About the export insert
Copies of 2458EX are not rare and can be found on the internet for sale regularly although the prices paid for these records are all over the place. It’s not the record that makes the record a Big Deal among some collectors but rather a special insert associated with the record.
This insert is a single piece of paper with a green border around a black field with “Elvis Presley” in white letters at the top and “My Boy” in black letters below it. The back of this insert is blank. While this insert can be found listed in some price guides with assigned values in the hundreds of dollars, the authenticity of this insert has been disputed for decades.
In fact, I could not find any information on the internet regarding its origin that was backed with verifiable facts. All I could determine was that many experienced and informed collectors believe it’s the real deal while many other equally experienced and informed collectors believe it’s just a bootleg.
Here are four theories regarding its origin.
Valuable insert is authentic
There are two possible theories regarding its origin as a legitimate product of RCA.
1. Made in the US by RCA
The first theory states that the insert was legitimately manufactured in the US by RCA and included with shipments of the records to the UK in early 1974. Unfortunately, there is nothing printed on the insert that identifies it as a product of RCA:
• The insert does not have “Ptd. in U.S.A.”
• The insert does not have an RCA identification number.
• The insert does not have “TMK(S) ® by RCA Corporation.”
There is nothing that resembles “hard” evidence that suggests that RCA in the US was responsible for this item.
Nonetheless, if it’s true that this insert was manufactured in the US by RCA, then it is among the rarest record-related Elvis items manufactured in the US for commercial purposes in the ’70s! That would justify the high values assigned to it in the aforementioned price guides.
2. Made in the UK by RCA
This theory states that the insert was manufactured in the UK by RCA and included with individual records when shipped to distributors and shops. If true, then the insert should be widely available, which it is not.
At this time in 2020, there are two “authoritative” discographies of Elvis’s UK records:
The first is subtitled The Ultimate Guide to Elvis Presley’s British Record Releases 1986-
There is nothing that resembles “hard” evidence that suggests that RCA in the UK was responsible for this item.
If it’s true that this insert was manufactured in the UK by RCA, then it’s among the rarest record-related Elvis items manufactured in the UK for commercial purposes in the ’70s. That would justify the high values assigned to it in the aforementioned price guides.
Valuable insert is not authentic
There are two possible theories regarding its origin as an unauthorized product of RCA.
3. Made in the US without RCA’s authorization
This theory states that the insert was manufactured in the US without RCA’s authorization or awareness years after the actual record was released. That is all the inserts were manufactured years after the release 0f 2458EX for the collector’s market—probably no earlier than the 1980s.
If it’s true that this insert was manufactured in the US by someone other than RCA, then it’s a bootleg made for the collectors market and nothing else. Its value would be a fraction of that published in the price guides and would mostly be of interest to collectors of bootlegs.
4. Made in the UK without RCA’s authorization
This theory states that the insert was manufactured in the UK but not by RCA or with RCA’s authorization. The insert may have been made by a distributor of RCA products in the UK and supplied to various stores in England or by a single shop owner and sold only to that shop’s customers.
If it’s true that this insert was manufactured in the UK by someone other than RCA, then it’s a bootleg, regardless of the manufacturer’s intentions. Its value would be a fraction of that published in the price guides and would mostly be of interest to collectors of bootlegs.
The quality of the reproductions
Even if there is an authentic insert, reproductions exist, and the quality of these reproductions vary from excellent to simple photocopies. Even those who believe the insert to be a bonafide RCA Victor product acknowledge that the vast majority of the copies on the internet are reproductions. There are several variations on this insert:
• Inserts on thin, semi-glossy paper
• Inserts on thick, non-glossy paper
The inserts on thin, semi-glossy paper that are similar to a standard RCA picture sleeve of the time are believed to be the real ones by those who believe the insert was made by RCA. The inserts on thick paper are known to be fakes, reproductions, or bootlegs.
Elvis on record
I sent the final draft of this article to several people, asking for corrections and suggestions. Paul Alner, author of the aforementioned Elvis On Record, responded via email (February 8, 2021) with these statements (and emphasis added by me):
“I am currently working on a new book that covers every variation, demo, etc., issued in the UK However, I won’t again be including the insert as I do not believe it has anything to do with RCA and more to the point [there isn’t even] any link to 2458EX.
Why there was even an export copy of this 45 is a mystery [as] the single made the Top 10 in the UK and there are at least three variations of UK-pressed copies widely available. Why then do an insert for an imported copy? The UK copies didn’t have picture sleeves anyway so it was unnecessary.”
The Avid Record Collector
While RCA 2458EX is hardly a rare record, it is difficult to find outside of the UK. Popsike lists more than thirty copies as having sold on eBay since 2007. That is a minuscule amount, averaging about two sales per year. On Discogs it’s better, but not by much: Nine copies have sold in 2020, averaging less than one per month.
Finding the insert—even an obvious reproduction—is even more difficult!
The only evidence
The only evidence I found regarding this item is collectors who told me that they got their copy of the insert in 1974 from a source within RCA or from a source that told them it was from RCA. In a courtroom, it would be eyewitness testimony. Just as such testimony can sway many jurors, it may sway many readers.
Until someone comes forward with some kind of paperwork or documentation—Hell’s Belles, even a line or two in a 1974 publication mentioning it as either an RCA product or a bootleg—this is also the best evidence I have found.
Tempering my stance
In my last Elvis price guide, A Touch Of Gold – The Elvis Presley Record & Memorabilia Price Guide, published a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I said this about 2458EX: “All picture or title sleeves or inserts for this catalog number are bogus.”
Thirty years later, I am willing to temper my stance a bit a little by taking a wishy-washy position: If I declare that all inserts for 2458EX are bootlegs and that eventually proves incorrect, then my readers might fail to spend a few dollars on a real rarity.
On the other hand, if I declare that some of the 2458EX inserts are authentic and that eventually proves incorrect, then my readers might go out and blow hundreds of dollars on what might prove to be a bootleg only worth a few dollars.
So, regarding the authenticity of the 2458EX insert, I have to say, ” I don’t know and the buyer should be wary . . .”
The export version of the Elvis ‘My Boy’ record (RCA 2458EX) had a vastly inflated value assigned to it in some price guides, which also listed a high-priced bonus insert that may be a fake! Click To Tweet
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of Elvis on stage at the Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum at Auburn University, Alabama. It was taken on March 5, 1974, and also features drummer Ronnie Tutt. “For at least one day, President Philpott [of Auburn University] ceased to rule the campus and east-central Alabama became a monarchy. The King was here.” (Photo by Larry Parker.)
POSTSCRIPTUALLY, I want to thank the following people for contributions to this article, both large and small:
Frank Daniels (Friktech)
Paul Dowling (Worldwide Elvis)
Felix Gübeli (Bootleg Elvis)
Craig LaPine (collectaire extraordinaire)
Dave Reynolds (Elvis Rare Records)
Bernard Roughton (collectaire extraordinaire)
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)