James Dean’s iconic ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ jacket up for auction

Rico Baca, auctioneer and co-owner of Palm Beach Modern Auctions, points out features on a jacket worn by actor James Dean in the film “Rebel Without a Cause.” The jacket, privately owned since Dean wore it in the 1955 film, will be publicly auctioned in Florida on March 3. (AP)
Updated 27 February 2018

James Dean’s iconic ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ jacket up for auction

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida: James Dean’s cherry-red jacket from “Rebel Without a Cause” is expected to bring up to $600,000 when it goes up for auction this week in Florida, offering fans a rare chance to own something linked to the actor who died at 24.
The bomber-style jacket still looks cool at Palm Beach Modern Auctions, where it was displayed recently on a mannequin dressed in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, similar to Dean’s signature style in the movie.
The nylon windbreaker is worth an estimated $400,000 to $600,000, auction house co-owner Rico Baca said.
That sounds pricey, but Baca said the jacket is as important to 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 just represents a really significant period of our culture in the 1950s,” Baca said.
Dean died in a car crash in September 1955, about a month before the premiere of the film that cemented his status as an icon of teen defiance. Because he died so young and starred in only three movies, collectibles tied to him are scarce, Baca said.
The dress Monroe wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy sold at auction for $4.8 million in 2016. One of Jackson’s white gloves was auctioned for nearly half a million dollars in 2009, and one of Presley’s rhinestone suits sold for $250,000 last year.
“There’s a great deal of interest in these types of items, and I expect to have the same sort of interest in this jacket” at the Saturday auction, Baca said.
Michael Scott of Hobe Sound has had the jacket since the 1980s. A friend whose uncle got the windbreaker from men’s wardrobe supervisor Leon Roberts at the end of filming left it to Scott in his will. The actor had been a hero to Scott and his friends, who were in high school when the film premiered.
“We were called greasers,” Scott said. “We were going through some of the same kind of torment that he was living in the script.”
The garment has a Bud Berma tag sewn into its lining, a cigarette burn on the left sleeve and stitching to take in its elasticized 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’s unclear how many were on set, Baca said.
Scott’s documentation includes a 1962 letter from Roberts asking his friend’s uncle to donate “the red jacket worn by the late actor James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause” to the Hollywood Museum.
“You have a letter from him asking for the jacket back. I don’t know how it can be construed any other way than this is the jacket that came from the set,” Baca said.


Solid gold toilet stolen from English stately home

Updated 14 September 2019

Solid gold toilet stolen from English stately home

  • Toilet was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and estimated to be worth around £1 million
  • A 66-year-old man was arrested following the burglary at Blenheim Palace

LONDON: A gang of thieves on Saturday stole an 18-carat gold toilet from Britain’s Blenheim Palace, police said, causing flooding that damaged the world-famous stately home.
The fully-functioning toilet, dubbed “America,” was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and estimated to be worth around £1 million.
A 66-year-old man was arrested following the burglary, which took place before dawn at the 18th-century estate near Oxford, southern England.
The toilet was one of the star attractions in an exhibition of Cattelan’s works that opened on Thursday at the palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors were able to book time slots to use it — but only for three minutes each, to limit the queues.
More than 100,000 people used the loo during the year it was on display at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.
“The offenders broke into the palace overnight and left the scene at about 4.50am (0350 GMT). No-one was injured during the burglary,” police said in a statement.
Detective Inspector Jess Milne of Thames Valley Police said she believed “a group of offenders used at least two vehicles” — and left a mess behind them.
“The piece of art that has been stolen is a high-value toilet made out of gold that was on display at the palace,” she said.
“Due to the toilet being plumbed into the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding.”
Blenheim Palace said it was “saddened by this extraordinary event, but also relieved no-one was hurt.”
It closed on Saturday but said it would reopen on Sunday.

The palace is home to the 12th duke of Marlborough and his family, and was also the birthplace of British wartime leader Winston Churchill.
The duke’s brother, Edward Spencer-Churchill, who founded the Blenheim Art Foundation, said last month he was relaxed about security around the gold toilet.
“It’s not going to be the easiest thing to nick,” he told The Times newspaper.
“Firstly, it’s plumbed in and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate. So no, I don’t plan to be guarding it.”
He added: “Despite being born with a silver spoon in my mouth I have never had a shit on a golden toilet, so I look forward to it.”
Cattelan, who is known for his provocative art, has previously described the golden toilet as “one-percent art for the 99 percent.”
The Guggenheim had offered the loo on loan to US President Donald Trump, but he declined.
The Italian artist’s exhibition at Blenheim runs until October 27 and includes a taxidermied horse hoisted onto the ceiling of an ornate reception room.
Blenheim has previously hosted exhibitions of work by Ai WeiWei, Yves Klein, Jenny Holzer, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Lawrence Weiner.
Police said they were looking at CCTV footage to help them in the search for the gold toilet, adding that nothing else was believed to have been stolen.