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Elvis collection built on stolen fees to go on sale

- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 10, 2007

LONDON — There are Elvis records, Elvis cards, Elvis books and Elvis dog tags. Tickets for a concert he never made it to, an Elvis pinball machine and even an Elvis Russian doll.

The largest private Elvis collection ever seen in Britain, and possibly the world, goes on sale today.

The 8,000 items used to belong to Julie Wall, who stole more than $980,000 in car parking fees to fund her addiction to buying Elvis gear.

Miss Wall, a town hall cashier, was jailed in 2005 for three years, but the forfeiture of the collection she spent years amassing is unlikely to worry her too much — she didn't open most of what she bought.

"It's the most remarkable collection I have ever seen," said James Lewis, of Bamfords auctioneers in Derby in central England. "When the [truck] turned up, it was a seven-tonner. There was just box after box after box."

Miss Wall, 47, spent 10 years creaming off money taken at North Kesteven District Council parking lots in Lincolnshire, northeast of London. Her job was to count the money from the cash boxes of eight parking lots in the town of Sleaford, where she lived with her parents. She repeatedly held back hundreds of dollars from each box and used the money to buy Elvis memorabilia.

Although Miss Wall spent more than $980,000 on the collection, Mr. Lewis is expecting to raise less than $100,000, which will go back to the council.

"The price of a lot of it was artificially inflated because buyers would know she would pay what they asked," Mr. Lewis said. "Once she was jailed, the market collapsed, so a lot of this stuff isn't worth what she paid for it."