Charlie Chaplin's walking cane to auction at Christie's
A cane used by silent comedy icon Charlie Chaplin is set to hit the auction block at Christie's this week.
Chaplin used the cane on-screen in the classic 1936 film Modern Times, his final appearance as The Tramp, one of the most iconic characters in cinema history.
Chaplin first donned his 'Tramp' costume in the 1914 film Mabel's Strange Predicament, picking an ill-fitting suit, derby hat, floppy shoes and walking cane from the wardrobe department at Keystone Studios. As he wrote in his autobiography:
"I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born."
Maurice Bessy, a French film critic and close friend of Chaplin, wrote: "The character of Charlie is not a comic character. His shabby clothes are those of a man who is down on his luck. The cane is a mark of snobbishness. It is the sole remaining personal possession of this unfortunate fellow, and that is why he flourishes it with such pride."
Back in 1947, Chaplin gifted another cane used during the filming of Modern Times to Maurice Bessy, and in December 2004 it sold amongst a collection of his memorabilia for $91,919.
The cane offered at Christie's this week was originally presented by the Chaplin film studio to the Tivoli cinema in London in 1936, to mark the opening of Modern Times. It was displayed in the cinema's foyer for years, before being purchased after WWII by Sir Montague Morris Burton.
It subsequently passed through several notable collections, and was exhibited at numerous museums in both the U.K and France, before being acquired by the English sports journalist and broadcaster Henry Blofeld in 2013.
The cane will be offered with an estimate of £6,000 – £9,000 ($7,752 - $11,628) as part of Christie's Valuable Books and Manuscripts sale in London on July 13.
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