Elvis Presley’s Empty Pill Bottles To Be Sold at Auction

By Victoria Kim 05/12/15

Bottles that once contained muscle relaxers consumed by Presley could fetch a king's ransom.

Elvis Presley
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The King of Rock and Roll’s empty pill bottles, which contained Parafon Forte and Trisoralen, will be sold at auction in New York on May 16.

“Some years ago, we sold the first Elvis pill bottle that a lady found in the trash at Graceland for a considerable amount of money and we started to realize there was a market for this type of thing,” Darren Julien, from Julien’s Auctions, told the Daily Mail.

The bottle of Parafon Forte, a muscle relaxer Presley took to relieve severe muscle spasms, was the last to be prescribed to Presley, the day before his death on August 16, 1977. The bottle was removed from Presley’s bedroom after his death and ended up at the Elvis-A-Rama Museum in Las Vegas before it was sold to a collector.

The other piece of Elvis medical memorabilia is an empty vial that contained Trisoralen, a synthetic melanizing agent he used to enhance his tan. It was discovered by the wife of Presley’s cousin and later sold to a collector in 2002.

The star’s official cause of death was “fatal heart arrhythmia,” or a heart attack, but many at the time were convinced this was a cover up for the true cause of death—a drug overdose—after a postmortem examination revealed significant amounts of 14 different drugs in his system at the time of his death. However, no conclusive determination was ever declared.

Presley’s appetite for prescription drugs was no secret, leading fans to believe it was Presley’s personal doctor, Dr. George Nichopoulos, who was responsible for his death. Nichopoulos prescribed more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines, and narcotics in Elvis’s name in the first eight months of 1977 alone.

“Elvis’s problem was that he didn’t see the wrong in it,” he told the Guardian in 2002. “He felt that by getting it from a doctor, he wasn’t the common everyday junkie getting something off the street. He was a person who thought that as far as medications and drugs went, there was something for everything.”

Nichopoulos, whose license was revoked in the 1990s, has maintained his innocence over the years.

“These items are quite poignant and significant because it was his addiction to these pills that led to his downfall and death. They played a part in both his life and death,” Julien said. “It may seem a little macabre but anything touched or used by a rock icon like Elvis is desirable to fans.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr