Impressive original 23.25 x 36.5 heraldic flag presented to Elvis Presley at the grand opening of his Presley Center Courts Racquetball Club on April 21, 1976. The custom-made gold fabric flag, created to promote a forthcoming Karate studio at the new racquetball club, features a large central embroidered design depicting two tigers facing an incarnation of Presley's TCB (Taking Care of Business) Karate emblem, with sewn text reading: "Elvis Presley Enterprises, Mendenhall at Mt. Moriah, Memphis, Tenn, USA, Faith-Spirit-Disciple, Disciple of Discipline, Tiger, Be Gentle as Lambs and as Strong as Tigers, Matters of Love, Matters of Honor! Karate." Additionally, the flag features two smaller TCB emblems, a decorative pattern with faux pearls and bronze and golden sequin embellishments, golden fringe trim, and golden and silver tinsel lettering to upper and lower portions: "The Beginning" and "Racquetball & Handball Courts, Elvis Presley, Chairman of the Board, April 21st, 1976." In fine condition, with some scattered stains.
In April 1976, Elvis entered into his sole business venture and investment—the Presley Center Courts Racquetball Club of Memphis, Tennessee. Without Presley or Col. Tom Parker overseeing its finances and development, the project quickly began to mount massive debts, and the courts were closed later that same summer, with the flag's proposed Karate club never coming to fruition. Presley's lifelong study of Karate began almost two decades earlier when he was drafted into the Army and stationed in Germany. From 1970-1974, Presley trained under Master Kang Rhee in Memphis, Tennessee, eventually receiving his 8th Degree San Black Belt certificate at a private ceremony on September 16, 1974. Like all of Master Rhee's students, Presley was required to select an animal title by which to be addressed during training; he first chose Mr. Panther, which, due to the political climate, was later changed to Mr. Tiger. A unique piece of Presley memorabilia relating to one of his greatest passions—artifacts from Presley’s lost racquetball club remain exceedingly rare.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.