Rare Elvis record found in South Island secondhand store and donated to museum

music news 12/05/2019

One of Elvis Presley's extremely rare 64-year-old records had somehow made it's way to a South Island secondhand store, lost in a pile of records. 

Oamaru musicologist Dr Ron Newton, who has a PhD in NZ organ history and a museum of pipe and reed organs was the one to discover the record: Elvis's the original New Zealand-pressed E-Z Country Programming No. 2 LP from 1955.

Dr. Newton was originally tempted to the the valuable piece of vinyl away until he did some research:

"Then I looked it up and discovered it was sought after by collectors all around the world, and I thought, this record needs to go to a museum," Newton said.

It's a copy of the first 12" vinyl LP recording of Elvis's music ever made and is sought by collectors because of two featured tracks: "Mystery Train" and "I Forgot To Mention To Forget".

The E-Z Country Programme was number two of three pop albums released by HMV in New Zealand and included songs from other artists such as Chet Atkins, Eddie Fisher and Dinah Shore. 

Newton thought he would be posting the record to the United States, until he found that New Zealand has it's very own Elvis Presley museum in Hawera, South Taranaki. And it just so happened he was heading that direction himself to tune pipe organs ahead of the Easter weekend this year. 

The museum, which is run by 70-year-old Kevin David 'KD' Wasley (pictured below), houses thousands of items of memorabilia that form New Zealand's only private Elvis Presley museum. Wasley said he was thrilled when Newton arrived with the record as it was one he had never seen before.

"I couldn't find this one; it's new to me. It didn't come up on the computer, but that's made it more unique,"

He wasn't sure how much this album was worth, but he had another pair of rare NZ-made Elvis records that were valued at $3500.