One of the earliest and rarest Charlie Chaplin posters to ever come to market, produced in 1913 when Chaplin was still a vaudeville performer and aspiring young comedian, sold for $12,810 in a live online auction held March 14th by Appraisal & Estate Sale Specialists, Inc. The poster was the top earner of the 633 lots that came up for bid.
“We were very pleased with the outcome of this auction,” said Dan Wilson, a co-owner of Appraisal & Estate Sale Specialists, Inc., along with Suki Hilger.
“The market is picking back up and we are seeing items achieve higher prices. The Charlie Chaplin poster exceeded past auction results and all expectations. It went to a collector who will cherish it and take care of it forever.”
The poster was a 42 inch long by 14 inch wide broadside advertising Fred Karno’s London Comedy Company and a show called “The Wow Wows”, starring Chaplin and other comedy performers. It was held at the Empress Theatre in San Diego, with performances on Feb. 17, 1913. It also marked one of Chaplin’s last-ever appearances in vaudeville.
“The Wow Wows” was a 29-minute show, performed in three scenes, the premise being Chaplin's character was told he would be initiated into a secret society, when in fact the others were getting revenge on him. The comedy debuted in 1910 in New York. Included in the lot were a few playbills that had some great advertising from the San Diego area.
The poster was made even rarer and more important by the inclusion of another cast member, a then-little-known comedian named Stanley Jefferson, who less than two years later would change his stage name to Stan Laurel and go on to form half of one of history’s greatest comedy teams: Laurel and Hardy, along with partner Oliver Hardy.
Here are additional highlights from the auction, which attracted 9,800 registered bidders on LiveAuctioneers.com. The catalog was packed with fine art, jewelry, antiques, furniture and more than 100 lots of Hollywood memorabilia, spotlighting dozens of major stars from stage and screen. All prices quoted in this report include a 22 per cent buyer’s premium.
The auction featured an early art collection for Burt Procter (Calif./N.Y., 1901-1980), who was close friends with the consignor. Procter was a commercial artist who painted horses and portraits of Native Americans, but he once remarked he “refused to be classified as a Western artist”. Bidders were captivated by his vivid depictions, which including these:
- An oil on canvas painting titled Noon, of three horses hitched to a post in midday, signed lower left and titled on verso, in a 27 inch by 32 inch frame ($7,015).
- An oil on canvas painting titled The Big Country, depicting two riders on horseback in a Western setting, signed, titled verso on a label and framed ($3,172).
- An oil on board painting titled On the Watch, showing a Native American in an outdoor setting with a stick, artist signed, 18 inches by 24 inches ($2,928).
- An oil on canvas painting of cacti, signed lower right and nicely framed ($1,586).
- A framed montage of memorabilia from the classic movie Dirty Harry, featuring an autographed photo of the film’s main star, Clint Eastwood, plus the very Ray Ban sunglasses Eastwood wore in the film, all in a 23 inch by 35 inch frame, brought $7,320.
- A framed montage commemorating U.S. Army general George S. Patton, including original photographs and an army hat signed by the World War II hero, extremely rare and beautifully contained in a 37 inch by 38 inch frame, found a new home for $3,050.
- A lithograph in color by Rufino Tamayo (Mexico/N.Y., 1899-1991), titled Hombre en Fondo Verde, 21 ½ inches 30 inches (sight, less frame), signed lower right and inscribed “H.C.” in white pencil and numbered 13/25 lower left as well, knocked down for $1,708.
- A pair of antique Chinese cloisonné lucky horse statues, each with overall scrollwork and dragon designs on an aqua ground, with gilt manes, bridles and hooves, went for $4,758. Each horse was on a rectangular removable carved wooden base and was 23 inches tall.
- An impressive vintage Waterford (English) Adare cut crystal six-arm chandelier, with the radiating scrolled arms having babiches and hanging crystal pendants, signed on the post (“Waterford”) and in perfect condition, 24 inches high (minus chain) rose to $4,880.
- A stunning, authentic Alaskan 22kt three-piece gold nugget jewelry set, including gold nugget stud earrings, 1-inch gold nugget drop earrings and a bracelet filled with Alaskan gold nuggets, the set weighing a total 45.6 grams of 22kt gold, knocked down for $2,440.
- A vintage, circa 1950 Northumbria (English) sterling silver flatware service in the “Cello” pattern, 81 pieces in all in a service for ten, less one coffee spoon but together with a large Gorham silver-plated serving spoon, all in a fitted wooden case, hit $1,952.
Appraisal & Estate Sale Specialists, Inc. has two auctions lined up for May. The first, on Sunday May 2nd, at 12pm Pacific time, will feature a large collection of railroadiana, trains (scale model and toy trains), vintage toys, signed sports memorabilia and a nice collection of Invicta watches.
The second auction, on Sunday May 30th, also at 12 noon Pacific, will contain a fine selection of artwork from around the world, to include collections of Japanese woodblock prints, Asian antiques, antiquities, ethnographic art, mid-Century items and European antiques and paintings.
To learn more about Appraisal & Estate Sale Specialists, Inc., visit www.estatesalemandan.webs.com.