Elvis Presley Worn Karate Gi-Tiger Claw – Provenance Kang RheeGo Back
Winning Bid: $10,382.96
Winning Bid: $10,382.96
Auction ends: December 2, 2017 8:00 PM
Total price with Buyers Premium: $12,459.55
Bids count: 12
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Elvis was passionate about his Karate practice. Karate was one of Elvis’ emotional outlets. He adored Kang Rhee and his instruction with him. Kang Rhee special ordered several karate GIs for Elvis Presley; some for routine practice, other more elaborate uniforms for demonstrations and exhibitions.
Presley kept uniforms at all three locations of Kang Rhee’s school and at Graceland; Rhee also kept some at his home. When Rhee traveled with Elvis in the early 1970s, he was assigned to carry Elvis’s uniforms so that the King could exercise at his convenience. This uniform is the rarer “demonstration” GI. There were only a few actually ‘worn’ and “used” by the King and this is one of them. Coming directly from Mr. Karate himself, Kang Rhee.
This GI is accompanied with two letters of provenance Rhee’s letter stating:
“I Kang Rhee, sold to my very good friend Steve Black a Karate GI worn by Elvis Preseley. I Kang Rhee do hereby certify that this is an actual uniform and black blet worn by Elvis Presley. Elvis kept this uniform at my studio for an extra uniform to be worn for private lessons. This custom made Elvis Presely Karate GI was made in white canvas and trimmed in red satin. it is a “Tiger Claw” (size 5). The bottom has red, white and blue “frog” enclosures. It is also a “Tiger Claw” (size 5).
The Eighth Degree black belt was made with red satin and is monogrammed in gold with Elvis Presley’s name and symbolic characters of PaSaRyu Association on one end, and on the other end are 8 stripes in red satin for 8th degree with “Tiger” monogrammed in gold, which is Elvis’ animal name in Karate.”
It is a white sailcloth cotton jacket with red satin trim to lapel and hem, with labels reading “Tae Guck” and “Size 5 made in Korea,” with “TCB Faith Spirit Discipline” patch over left breast, crown/fist patch on left wrist, and “Kang Rhee” patch to back. Also of note, there was another original patch on the back but it was removed at one time. It simply came off from wear. Remnants of the area from which it was placed is visible upon inspection. The original patch is included to bring the outfit to full completion.
Lastly added to the karate outfit are his white cotton sailcloth pants with drawstring waist, size 5, with labels reading “Tiger Claw” and “Made in Taiwan R.O.C.,”. The flared legs are secured with three braided buttons in red, white, and black, flare vent and cuffs trimmed in black and red piping, minor soiling. Red satin obi, with black cotton ends, with embroidered “Elvis Presley” to one end and “Tiger” with Korean and Chinese Characters to the other, in very fine condition. The patches are original from the 1970’s.
The GI shows tremendous wear with malleable fabric, tagging and some visible pilling in the front area. This is indicative of wear from use and from cleaning. Overall, tremendous sourcing is key to this collection. The GI demonstrates the extent of Presley’s love of martial arts in the wear as well as his respect for his teacher in Kang Rhee for letting him keep it. They were ready to revolutionize the sport together but alas The Kings life was cut short too soon.
Authentication: Provenance Letter from Kang Rhee