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With auction of King's crypt, a fan could get piece of music history for all eternity

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:32 PM EDT, Mon May 28, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Elvis Presley was found dead in his Graceland mansion in August 1977
  • He was first interred at a crypt in a Memphis cemetery, with his late mother
  • Two months later, both were disinterred and buried on Graceland's grounds
  • His original crypt at Forest Hill Cemetery is now being auctioned off

(CNN) -- The King is dead -- or so they say, even though his original crypt is empty.

And one person could soon own the place that served as Elvis Presley's first, but not final, resting place, by being the highest bidder.

Starting the middle of next month, Julien's Auctions of Beverly Hills, California, will conduct the sale of the crypt, which is part of a large granite and marble mausoleum at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee.

This is no fleeting prize: The winner or their loved one can be interred for all of eternity exactly where Presley and his mother were for about two months.

Cultural icon Elvis Presley, pictured circa 1956, has been called \
Cultural icon Elvis Presley, pictured circa 1956, has been called "The King of Rock 'n' Roll."

Unless conspiracy theorists are to be believed -- in which case a 77-year-old Presley may be still snacking on peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches on some secluded isle -- the late legendary singer is currently buried in the meditation garden at Graceland, his Memphis estate.

Presley purchased that home and its 14 acres in 1957, a few years after his career had taken off. In his career, he sold more than a billion records, starred in 33 films, captured 14 Grammy nominations and earned the moniker "The King of Rock 'n' Roll," not to mention the adoration of hundreds of thousands of rabid fans, according to his official biography.

It was in a bathroom of his Graceland mansion that Presley was found dead August 16, 1977, due to what authorities said was an irregular heartbeat.

But after 200 friends and relatives attended his funeral there two days later, he had to leave -- his body was moved about five miles south to Forest Hill Cemetery.

His father, Vernon, wanted to bury Elvis at Graceland, but needed time for the state of Tennessee to grant permission to bury a person on private grounds, according to the Julien's Auctions website. Until then, the late singer was put in the crypt at the Memphis cemetery, soon joined by his mother -- Vernon's widow, Gladys Presley -- who also was disinterred and put in the same mausoleum vault.

The bodies of both son and mother were moved within two months to Graceland, where visitors pay their respects to them to this day.

As to Elvis's original crypt, it has remained empty since the King left the mausoleum, marked by a statue commemorating his weeks there.

The lot up for auction includes Presley's original crypt, the chance to open and close the vault and crypt for burial, an inscription and the use of a small, abutting chapel for a committal service, Julien's Auctions notes.

Those wishing to purchase this eternal piece of music history can't come empty-handed: Bids start at $100,000.

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