Frank Sinatra's very first driver’s license from the state of New Jersey went on the auction block recently and sold for a surprising amount of money. While you’d expect anything so personal that was once owned by Sinatra to fetch a great deal of money, you might be surprised to learn it sold for only $15,757. If you look at it another way, it is just an 80-year-old piece of paper, which was worn and yellowed from age, so from that perspective $15,757 is one surprising extravagant expenditure!
According to The SF Gate on June 27, the driver’s license was issued to “Francis Sintra,” which was a typo. This piece of paper was something Sinatra signed and carried around in his wallet in 1934 when he was 19-years-old and living in New Jersey. This was the year before "Old Blue Eyes" would get his big break. It was way before he would go on to be part of the “Rat Pack” rubbing elbows with the likes of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., which were his good buddies later in his career.
The New Jersey issued license has the address of 841 Garden St. in Hoboken. Frank weighed in at 130-pounds and his eyes were listed as blue of course. He wasn’t a very big man at only 130-pounds, but he became a huge man in name! This driver’s license was issued long before pictures appeared as part of the ID.
According to the Washington Times today, the driver's license was part of a package deal at auction that also came with a letter. That letter was a demand-letter of sorts, that was penned by a lawyer and addressed to the State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles in New Jersey. This lawyer requested that Frank’s license be revoked.
The lawyer was representing a man who apparently was involved in a crash with Sinatra and he wanted the crooner's license revoked until Frank paid up. This seems to indicate that the crash was Sinatra’s fault. That letter was written in 1940.
In 1940 if the "Young Blue Eyes" was at fault in a car accident, he may still have been struggling financially at the time, as this was early in his music career. His first recorded records were in 1939. He had recorded “The Lamp is Low,” “Melancholy Mood” and “Our Love,” along with other songs. The crooner's nationwide future groupies were probably just starting to hear his songs.
It wasn’t for another few years that his name became a household word and his music would blare from radios everywhere. When this license was issued, the woman who many thought was the love of Frank's life, Mia Farrow, wasn't even born yet. She would come into this world in another six years, in 1945. When Sinatra carried this license in his pocket, he had his entire life in front of him, and what a life it came to be!
The Boston based RR Auction house conducted the auction and the buyer’s name was not released. This was a great piece of Sinatra memorabilia and considering it was a one of a kind document and more than likely found on Frank's person for an entire year, the money this license went for was a good deal for the buyer.