Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Heritage to Auction James Dean Signed Registration for His Tragic Final Race

Dallas, TX – Everyone knows that James Dean entered the realm of the Hollywood immortals when he lost his life in a car crash on September 30, 1955, but few realize that he was on his way to participate in a race at the time. Now, one of the most significant and important Dean documents ever offered to the collecting public, the hand-signed registration form for the race that Dean would never attend, will be auctioned by Heritage Auction Galleries on April 5, 2008, in Dallas, Texas.

“This is truly the most compelling James Dean document ever to come to auction, priceless in its significance to Dean and his following worldwide” said Doug Norwine, Director of Music and Entertainment Auctions for Heritage. “Dean died en route to the Salinas Road Races while driving the Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed ‘Little Bastard,’ that he had entered in the race, and this form, meticulously filled out in his own hand, is a unique artifact from that tragic event.”

The form, inscribed in black ballpoint pen, bears Dean’s printed name twice. The entry form required a Standard Medical Report, to which Dean wrote: “I have sent all of this to you,” as well as preferred racing numbers. Dean chose numbers 3, 23, and 303, and signed twice at the base of the form as both “Driver No. 1” and “Owner.”

Having raced in three prior events in Palm Springs, Bakersfield, and Santa Barbara, Dean entered the Salinas races with high hopes — he placed third at Palm Springs and Bakersfield, and moved to fourth at Santa Barbara before blowing a piston. The young actor was known on the tracks by other drivers and not always taken seriously – throngs of fans followed him everywhere, hindering Dean’s reputation with fellow racers.

“He had a lot to prove,” Norwine said. “Dean autographed items are exceptionally scarce – not surprising, considering the brevity of his career – and extremely desirable among collectors. Of all the Dean material I’ve handled, this is certainly one of the most important and significant items I have ever seen.”

Now this extraordinary document is available for bidding in Heritage’s upcoming auction, as well as George “King of the Kustomizers” Barris’ recreation of “Little Bastard” (the Porsche 550 Spyder in which Dean lost his life), and Dean’s personally owned screen-worn watch from East of Eden; a James Dean “trifecta ” that should appeal both to racing buffs and film fans worldwide.

More information about this auction, along with enlargeable, full-color images of each lot and complete catalog descriptions, can be found at where bids can also be placed online. For additional information, or to consign material to a future auction, please contact Doug Norwine at 1-800-8782-6467, ext. 1452, or email [email protected].

James Dean’s Signed Registration for His Tragic Final Race: ESTIMATE: $20,000 & up
George Barris’ Replica of “Little Bastard,” James Dean’s Race Car, Used in the Film James Dean: Race with Destiny: ESTIMATE: $125,000 & up
James Dean’s “Lucky” Screen-Worn Pocket Watch from East of Eden: ESTIMATE: $75,000 & up
Heritage Auction Galleries will offer the signed registration form in its upcoming Music and Entertainment Signature auction, to be held on April 5, 2008, at the Heritage headquarters in Dallas, TX.

Prospective consignors and sellers of Entertainment, Celebrity or Hollywood memorabilia are invited to and click on the “Sell Now” tab. Or simply email Doug Norwine at [email protected].

To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Client Services at 1-800-872-6467, extension 1150, or visit to order by email.