Elvis Presley Paid Shockingly Little for the Graceland Property

Elvis Presley’s Graceland property is still his biggest money maker decades after his death. The late music icon died on Aug. 16, 1977, and his estate earns millions every year. He makes so much money post-mortem, in fact, he’s the fifth highest paid dead celebrity of 2020. But how much did the king pay for Graceland, exactly? And what would the cost be if he were to buy it now?

Rock and roll singer Elvis Presley strolls the grounds of his Graceland estate circa 1957 | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Rock and roll singer Elvis Presley strolls the grounds of his Graceland estate circa 1957 | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Elvis bought Graceland early in his career

The star bought the Graceland home and property in the early years of his music career. The young icon had experienced a whirlwind of a year in 1956 with a slew of now famous network performances, live shows, and his film debut in Love Me Tender.

Just 22 years old at the time, Elvis bought the mansion and property in 1957, according to the Graceland website. The house was already named Graceland when he bought it, as it was named after a family member of the previous owners.

The property was originally a farm owned by the S.E. Toof family and spanned 500 acres. The mansion itself was built in 1937, when the niece of Grace herself, Ruth Brown Moore, and her husband had it built. The mansion became well-known by Memphis residents before Elvis moved in, but of course, it’s now known for being the home of The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Elvis Presley's house, Graceland, circa 1970 | Mick Hutson/Redferns
Elvis Presley’s house, Graceland, circa 1970 | Mick Hutson/Redferns

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How much did Graceland cost?

When Elvis bought Graceland, he got the house and the then 13.8-acre property, according to History.com. While it certainly wasn’t a measly sum, the 22-year-old star only spent $102,500 buying the Graceland mansion and its property as well as a $1,000 cash deposit.

Of course, $102,500 in 1957 is much different than $102,500 in 2020. When accounted for inflation, the $102,500 Elvis spent on Graceland would be $954,341.85 now. It’s hard to imagine any A-list celebrity buying a home for less than $1 million nowadays. He later spent $500,000 on land surrounding the grounds of the home and for things within the house, so he definitely invested a lot into Graceland. But he just didn’t pay as much as one would think upfront.

Graceland is worth much, much more to Elvis’ estate, however. According to Forbes, he is the fifth highest-paid dead celebrity of 2020 thanks to the money Graceland brings in. The outlet reports that his album sales and visits to his former home-turned-museum makes up the majority of his estate’s earnings, which came out to $23 million in 2020.

The outlet reports that the museum accounts for about $10 million of the late star’s yearly earnings, although the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused the museum to close for two months. It is now reopened at reduced capacity. Thanks to Graceland and his continued music sales, the rock star earns more now than he did when he died. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Elvis was only worth $5 million when he died of a heart attack in 1977, which is far less than he earned in his life.

Ahead of the musician in post-mortem earnings are Arnold Palmer ($25 million), Charlie Brown creator Charles Schulz ($32.5 million), Dr. Seuss ($33 million), and Michael Jackson ($48 million).