Authenticating the 1956 EPE Elvis Record Player

RCA’s 1956 Elvis Signature 45 RPM Phonograph 7-EP-45
The forgoing is a guide to assist the buyer of what to know and look for when purchasing these record players. The information has been derived from my own personal experience and the collective knowledge from members of the 45 RPM Phono Gazette.
In 1955, RCA Victor introduced a portable, 2-tone, vinyl-covered fiberboard 45 rpm record player to augment its existing line of plastic/bakelite players. There were three versions of these “EY” series players:
* 6-EY-3A Brown vinyl with a cream/brown tweed pattern lid,
* 6-EY-3B Green vinyl with a light green tweed pattern lid,
* 6-EY-3C Dark Blue vinyl with a light blue tweed pattern lid & front face.
All used the RP-190 record changer with a gray tonearm & matching spindle top, and the amplifiers were of the two or three tube type with finger wheel volume & tone controls. Another identifying item was the round brass RCA medallion logo located on the front top center.
The Elvis Signature 45 Player
In 1956, RCA offered the 7-EP-45 Elvis Signature record player, commemorating RCA’s recording contract with Elvis, and his recording hit “Blue Suede Shoes”. RCA also produced an Elvis multi-speed player (7-EP-2) at the same time, which will not be discussed in this writing.
The 7-EP-45 differed from the earlier EY series as to the speaker grill cloth, color scheme, and the Elvis Presley’s signature in gold on the top front right corner. Also the round brass RCA medallion is absent. The case color is dark blue with a light blue tweed lid. The interior is all white, with white volume & tone finger wheels. The record changer color and amplifier remained the same as the 1955 EY series.
Useful Information
All these players came with a gold sticker designating the model and serial number of the unit.
(CLICK HERE TO SEE THE STICKER) They were either placed on the lower right side corner of the tube access panel, or on the inside back part of the lid. The tube location chart was glued on the inside bottom of the case, so you can only see it after removing the tube access panel and record changer board (6 oval-head Phillips brass wood screws). The RCA script located on the front is black on the 6-EY-3A & B models, and white on the 6-EY-3C and 7-EP-45 models. The carrying handle on the 7-EP-45 was clear plastic.
The Bogus Elvis Players
RCA enjoyed a high volume of sales on their EY record players, while not doing as well with the EP models. Thus, the Elvis Signature players are scarce today and highly valued to the collector, especially the Elvis fans. In recent years, a number of faked Elvis players have hit the market. By observation, here’s what I’ve found:
1. The model/serial number gold tag is missing.
2. The Elvis Signature is bright gold and larger than the original.
3. The color of the player is not the color combination of the 7-EP-45 version. It is usually the EY version.
There are no accounts from the RCA archives (now the Sarnoff library) of RCA Victor producing different Elvis player color variations. If there were variations, then a suffix A, B, C, etc. would follow the 7-EP-45 model number, as in the earlier EY series.
The Restored Elvis Player
Restoration of these players can add value to them, so long as a competent technician does it. Replacement of capacitors, resistors, tubes, and power cord, along with rebuilding the record changer will add years of enjoyment. Make sure that you know the restorer, and if they offer a warranty prior to purchase.