valuable insert associated with elvis presley’s “my boy” may be bootleg!

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 grey 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.

•  There Is a Spe­cial Export-Only Pressing of My Boy” ad­dresses RCA 2458EX, which was man­u­fac­tured by RCA in the US ex­clu­sively for sale in the UK.

•  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.

 

Valuable Insert: front cover of THE INCREDIBLE HULK by Jack Kirby from 1962.
This the cover for the first issue of THE INCREDIBLE HULK, cover-dated May 1962. Jack Kirby drew the newest ad­di­tion to the Marvel Comics line with a nod to­wards the Franken­stein mon­ster from the Uni­versal Pic­tures movies of his boyhood.

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: copy of 2458EX, Elvis Presley's "My Boy," in company sleeve.
This is the record RCA 2458EX, My Boy / Loving Arms, with grey la­bels (which re­mind me of the orig­inal Hulk). The au­then­ticity of this item has never been in doubt.

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:

•  Elvis UK by John Townson, Gordon Minto, and George Richardson
•  Elvis On Record by Paul Alner

The first is sub­ti­tled The Ul­ti­mate Guide to Elvis Presley’s British Record Re­leases 1986-2002 while the latter is sub­ti­tled A Com­pre­hen­sive Guide to UK Record Re­leases – 1956-2017. De­spite these claims for com­pre­hen­sive­ness, nei­ther book even men­tions the in­sert with their listing for 2458, merely stating that the record was not is­sued with a pic­ture sleeve.

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: copy of kelly-green title sleeve insert associated with RCA 2458EX.

Valuable Insert: copy of light-green title sleeve insert associated with RCA 2458EX.
Top: This is what the “au­thentic” in­sert for RCA 2458EX should look like. It is kelly-green and black with “Elvis Presley” in white print and “My Boy” in black. The back of the in­sert is blank. The au­then­ticity of this item has been dis­puted for decades.  Bottom: This is one of the bootleg in­serts. It is all green with “Elvis Presley” in light print and “My Boy” in dark print. The back of the in­sert is blank.

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.

 

Valuable Insert: copy of dark-green title sleeve insert associated with RCA 2458EX.

Valuable Insert: back of dark-green title sleeve insert associated with RCA 2458EX.
This is an­other bootleg in­sert that ap­pears to be darker than the “au­thentic” in­sert. In­stead of a blank back­side, this in­sert has an ex­pla­na­tion for RCA in the US man­u­fac­turing records for sale in the UK.

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.

 

Valuable Insert: cover of Paul Alner's "ElvIs On Record" BOOK.
Front cover to Paul Alner’s Elvis On Record book, pub­lished in 2017. A new, up­dated edi­tion is al­ready in the works.

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.”

 

Valuable Insert: full-age advertisement for Elvis' "My Boy" single in Cash Box magazine (1975).
Fol­lowing the un­ex­pected Top 10 suc­cess of My Boy in the UK, RCA fi­nally re­leased the single in the US more than a year later. This full-page ad­ver­tise­ment for the US re­lease of My Boy ap­peared in the Feb­ruary 1, 1975, issue of Cash Box magazine.

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

 Valuable Insert: photo of Elvis on stage at Auburn University in March 1974.

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.)

 

Valuable Insert: photo of Elvis in gold suit in 1957.

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)

 

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