1923 Charlie Chaplin Drawing & Photograph
We have a whole audience out there that doesn't know silent screen stars, and Charlie Chaplin is one of the biggest. So we have this wonderful drawing and this photograph. Tell me, how did you get them?
Well, they were my mother's. She passed away a couple of years ago and left them to me. She was with her family out in California, in Hollywood, in 1923, three-and-a-half years old, staying in a hotel. And Mr. Chaplin was there, as well, and dining by himself in the hotel dining room, and she recognized him, and got down from her chair-- high chair, probably-- and walked over to him. He picked her up and put her on his lap, and he signed the menu, and then on the front he did his little caricature, and signed it. And then the picture was sent to my mother back in Detroit, from Mr. Chaplin, in 1923.
Well, it's a wonderful story and I'm so glad you brought these things in. Mr. Chaplin was born in poverty in England, and when he came to the United States, he popularized a character in 1914 called the Little Tramp. And it was the perfect muse for a silent film star, because you could do a lot of acting and pantomime without using your voice. And we see in the caricature here, the Little Tramp with his signature mustache and eyebrows and bowler hat. It's just the most charming thing. And then later, he sends her this beautiful sepia photograph. By this time, he is one of the major stars in Hollywood. And in fact, in 1919, he, with other silent film stars, started their very own studio, United Artists. He started it with D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Mary Pickford. They had total control over their films. It was really a very special time in Hollywood. And we can see here in this photograph of him in his early 30s, that he was really the kingpin of Hollywood, wasn't he? And we have the wonderful signature. And the date, which is really lovely, because we can tell exactly when it was done. His drawings come up very infrequently, and to have one that shows the Little Tramp is really quite special and very collectible. I think in an auction, we would put a pre-sale estimate of between $2,500 and $3,500, and it could even bring a little bit more than that.
The picture is of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the king of Hollywood. It would be worth a little less, because he's inscribed it to her-- because people like to buy things that are signed that they think were to them. But the picture would be between $1,500 and $2,500.
Very nice-- thank you.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Summer Night Concerts
Relax with four amazing concerts from the Vienna Philharmonic and special guests.