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James Dean in ‘Rebel without a Cause’ jacket up for auction

In this, Monday, feb. 12, 2018, photo, Rico Baca, auctioneer and co-owner of Palm Beach Modern Auctions, put on the screen a picture of a jacket worn by actor James Dean in the movie “Rebel without A Cause’ on PBMA in West Palm Beach, Fla. The jacket is in private possession since Dean wore in 1955, the film, the audience will be auctioned in Florida on 3 March. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

James Dean’s cherry-red jacket from “Rebel without a Cause” is expected to be up to $600,000 when it goes on the auction this week in Florida, and offers fans a unique chance to own something linked to the actor, who died on 24.

The bomber-style jacket still looks cool in Palm Beach Modern Auctions, where it was displayed recently at a mannequin dressed in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, similar to Dean’s distinctive style in the film.

The nylon windbreaker is worth an estimated $400,000 to $600,000, the auction house co-owner Rico Baca said.

That sounds pricey, but Baca said the jacket is just as important for pop culture as a dress worn by actress Marilyn Monroe, one of Elvis Presley’s rhinestone jumpsuits or gloves worn on stage by singer Michael Jackson.

“It represents an important period of our culture in the 1950’s,” Baca said.

Dean died in a car accident in September 1955, about a month before the premiere of the film which cemented his status as an icon of teen defiance. Because he died at a young age and played in only three movies, collectibles tied to him are scarce, Baca said.

The dress that Monroe wore to sing “Happy Birthday” for President John F. Kennedy sold at auction for $4.8 million in 2016. One of Jackson’s white glove was auctioned for nearly a half a million dollars in 2009, and one of Presley’s rhinestone suits sold for $ 250,000 last year.

“There is a lot of interest in this kind of articles, and I expect the same kind of interest in this jacket,” the Saturday auction, Baca said.

Michael Scott of Hobe Sound has the jacket since the 1980s. A friend, whose uncle was the windbreaker of men’s wardrobe supervisor Leon Roberts at the end of the filming of links to Scott in his will. The actor had been a hero for Scott and his friends, who were in high school when the movie premiered.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

“We were called greasers,” Scott said. “We went through a number of the same kind of torment that he lived in the script.”
The garment has a Bud Berma label sewn in the lining, a cigarette burn on the left sleeve and stitching in the elastic waist to fit the trim Dean.

“I think it’s in good condition considering the age of the jacket,” Baca said.

The jacket seen in the film was bought off the rack, but it is unclear how many were on the set, Baca said.

Scott’s documentation contains a 1962 letter from Roberts to ask his friend uncle to donate “to the red jacket worn by the late actor James Dean in Rebel without A Cause” the Hollywood Museum.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

“You have a letter from him asking for the jacket back. I don’t know how it can be construed in any way then this is the jacket from the set,” Baca said.

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