January 30 - Elvis Guitar Belongs To National Museum

The debate has been going since July 2014 but now a federal judge ruled this morning that a guitar played by Elvis Presley rightfully belongs to the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota and not a Memphis-based memorabilia collector.

The decision means that the museum will not have to turn over the guitar to collector Larry Moss, who sued both the museum and Robert Johnson, a broker who negotiated the deal that led to the museum acquiring the guitar.

Moss argued that he had a deal in 2008 with Johnson to purchase the Martin D-35 guitar, which the rock icon played on his final tour in 1977. The guitar was damaged during a show in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Presley gave it to a fan. He died six months later. But the guitar, one of several instruments negotiated between Moss and Johnson, was never delivered to Johnson. Nor did money change hands for that guitar, although Moss did pay Johnson $70,000 for two other guitars.

Based on correspondence between the two, Schreier ruled that the D-35 was one part of two separate deals negotiated between 2007 and 2010 – one for the two guitars Moss did receive and the other which included the Martin D-35 that was never completed.

The museum hoped Elvis’ broad appeal would help attract visitors. Knowing the ownership history of the objects entering Museum collections is becoming ever more vital, not only for the educational value of that information, but for legal, ethical, and moral reasons. “As a non-profit organization,” he added, “of course, we were pained by the expense required to protect this important instrument in our collection, but we’re thrilled that our further investment will allow the Elvis guitar to remain in the public’s eye at the NMM for the learning and enjoyment of our future visitors.”

(Source: Elvis Information Network)

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