Photo sent to Charlie Chapman by a young fan called George and the actor's letter in reply. Both items are on offer at Vectis Auctions on February 28 estimated at £400-600.

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The fan was a young boy called George and he must have helped his chances of getting a response by the photo he also sent – showing him dressed as Chaplin in 'Little Tramp' style.

More than 100 years later the letter has made its way to British saleroom Vectis Auctions in Thornaby, Teesside, where it is estimated at £400-600 on February 28.

Chaplin’s letter to his young fan is hand-written in black ink on Charles Chaplin, Los Angeles, California (embossed in dark blue) headed notepaper. Chaplin wrote the letter from Los Angeles after completion of his famous film The Little Tramp. He worked for Essany Studios during this time.

The boy used to dress up as Chaplin. The 5 x 8.5in (13 x 22cm) letter states: Oct 20/15. Dear Little George, Received your little card and your picture is very good, thank you. Sincerely Charlie Chaplin.

The photo itself measures 5 x 3.25in (13 x 8cm).

The Vectis vendor is actually the little boy’s grandchild and a hand-written letter of provenance comes with the lot.

Vectis told ATG: "The lady who consigned the letter had a small collection of toys, to which she added this letter. It has been in her family since 1915 and passed down through the generations. The boy in the picture is her grandad and he died before she was born in 1955.

"Her grandma then passed it to her brother who was an avid theatre and cinema fan, and upon his passing in 2016 she inherited it. Although a sentimental piece of family history, she would like the letter to go to someone who is more appreciative of the actor and his work."

Road to stardom

Chaplin (1889-1977) was born in London and made his mark in films after initially joining a dance troupe.

His character as The Tramp – which his young fan George imitated, complete with bowler hat, cane and moustache – was one of the most recognisable of the silent film era.

According to biography.com: “In 1914 Chaplin made his film debut in a somewhat forgettable one-reeler called Make a Living. To differentiate himself from the clad of other actors in Sennett films, Chaplin decided to play a single identifiable character, and ‘The Little Tramp’ was born, with audiences getting their first taste of him in Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914).

“Over the next year, Chaplin appeared in 35 movies, a line-up that included Tillie's Punctured Romance, film's first full-length comedy. In 1915 Chaplin left Sennett to join the Essanay Company, which agreed to pay him $1250 a week. It is with Essanay that Chaplin, who by this time had hired his brother Sydney to be his business manager, rose to stardom.”

During his first year with the company, Chaplin made 14 films, including The Tramp (1915). “Generally regarded as the actor’s first classic, the story establishes Chaplin’s character as the unexpected hero when he saves the farmer’s daughter from a gang of robbers.”