2011 has offered an embarrassment of riches for memorabilia collectors.
Now you'll have a chance to bid on a piece once worn by the most famous film star of World War I. It can only be Charlie Chaplin, whose 'first' bowler hat is estimated to sell for $24,000 (£15,000) this week.
Bids on the iconic and coveted hat open today (December 12).
According to auctioneer Sotheby's, this bowler hat is particularly special for being Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin's first. It was worn from 1909 as the star developed his legendary "Tramp" persona while still in his native England, and also while touring America.
This Chaplin hat sold for $135,300 from the Debbie Reynolds Collection
Chaplin's hat will auction with a note of provenance from his fellow actor Bert Bailey. Bailey was gifted the rare hat by Chaplin himself, giving this singular memorabilia item great provenance.
In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Chaplin the 10th greatest male screen legend of all time.
The hat will be auctioned by Sotheby's in New York, and will very likely exceed its $24,000 estimate when bidders' excitement takes hold. The last time a Chaplin "Tramp" bowler hat appeared for sale, it brought a whopping $135,300 (from the Debbie Reynolds Collection).
But if you'd like to own a rare and authentic piece of silent movie memorabilia, while avoiding the stiff competition and soaring values of a busy auction room, then we have some alternatives for you here at Paul Fraser Collectibles.
Paul has handled various rare pieces of silent screen memorabilia over the years. Among the most enthralling is this striking photograph of young Chaplin minus his Tramp garb. Chaplin has signed the photograph in fountain pen 'Sincerely, Chas. Chaplin.'
We've already sold that piece. But among our other classic early Hollywood stock items for sale is a matte-finish 10.75" x 14.5" photo of none other than Laurel and Hardy.
The piece has been signed and inscribed in fountain pen in the centre: "OUR KIND THOUGHTS ALWAYS, ELMA & FRED, SINCERELY."
Because Paul Fraser Collectibles is a collectibles dealer rather than an auction house, this piece can be yours for £6,900 - without any competition or soaring auction bids.
Watch this space for more news on Sotheby's auction of Charlie Chaplin's first bowler hat.