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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Chaplin tramp suit fetches 3,100
Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin's tramp suit became his trademark
The original tramp suit that launched Charlie Chaplin to fame fetched 3,100 at auction in Devon on Wednesday.

The iconic scruffy black suit, sold with a bowler hat and boots, was used in the 1914 movie Kid Auto Races.

John Cabello, 46, said he planned to put the suit on display in his shop in Plymouth, along with one of Nazi Hermann Goering's uniforms.

A bamboo cane, signed by Chaplin in 1952, sold to a Texan bidder for 1,900 at Plymouth Auction Rooms.

Mr Cabello, who outbid the Texan and another American for the suit, said he was not a Chaplin fan but thought he had got a bargain.

He said he had no plans to sell the suit, but added: "Everything has a price, but if it draws people into the shop I'm happy."

Mr Cabello will now prepare a glass case at his shop, Parade Antiques, which will probably contain the Goering uniform and Chaplin suit alternately.

Chaplin boots
The boots have holes in the heels to help Chaplin balance
Chaplin was unhappy with the country squire act he was playing when Scottish comedian Billie Ritchie offered to lend him the suit.

The famous Little Tramp was born when Chaplin found the boots were too large for him and put them on the wrong feet to make them fit.

After making the seven-minute film he returned the suit to Ritchie.

Until recently, the suit, owned by former collector William Forbes-Hamilton had been on display in Exeter, Devon.

Mr Forbes-Hamilton bought the Chaplin items for 4,500 about 20 years ago when he ran a museum in Truro, Cornwall.

He said: "I am getting on a bit and the suit needs someone to look after it. It's a big responsibility owning it."

The boots in the auction are fitted with holes in the heels which were used to insert screws so that Chaplin could balance more easily on high objects.

Auctioneer Paul Keen said: "It's a unique opportunity, something that we're not likely to do again.

"Most people selling such an item would take it straight to London and we are thrilled that Mr Forbes-Hamilton has given us the opportunity to promote them."

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