Auctioning Costumes of Silver Screen Icons – Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin

In the forthcoming fine arts, antiquities, and collectibles auction hosted by NCM Auctions, two remarkable pieces have seized the spotlight – Marilyn Monroe’s original swimsuit and Charlie Chaplin’s iconic ‘Tramp Suit.’

The enigmatic allure of Marilyn Monroe’s past is encapsulated in her original black swimsuit, now poised for auction. Accompanying this elegant relic are three exquisite pieces of jewelry, gifts bestowed upon Monroe by her husband, Joe Dimaggio. The collection also boasts a final script from the 1952 film ‘Clash By Night,’ and two autographed letters from the luminary, believed to originate from the latter part of the 1950s.

For enthusiasts of Charlie Chaplin’s timeless charm, this auction holds an equally enthralling treasure – the inaugural ‘Tramp Suit‘ dating back to around 1910, which Chaplin donned in his portrayal of ‘The Little Tramp.’

Interestingly, this garment was originally lent to Chaplin by Billie Ritchie during their shared performance in ‘The Mumming Birds.’ Initially slated to play the role of the suave gentleman, Ritchie, and the part of the Tramp, Chaplin objected to the casting. Remarkably, the shoes provided were too capacious, prompting Chaplin to don them on the wrong feet, thus birthing his iconic persona.

The ensemble, comprising baggy trousers, a snug-fitting coat, a bowler hat, oversized footwear, and a cane, became indispensable to Chaplin’s on-screen identity, enduring until his formal retirement of the character in the 1936 production ‘Modern Times.’

Subsequently, following the unfortunate demise of Billie Ritchie in a filming accident, the original suit was returned to the United Kingdom by his widow, Winifred. This historic attire made appearances in numerous museums and venues across the country, yet, over the years, the pieces became separated. Astonishingly, they were fortuitously reunited at an auction in 2005 by the current proprietor.

The ‘Tramp Suit’ also includes a copy of the publication titled “Chaplin: His Life and Art,” delving into the captivating narrative behind Charlie Chaplin and Billie Ritchie’s sartorial legacy. Accompanying this is a Bonhams catalogue from 1996, cataloging the previous sale of the suit, and pertinent newspaper clippings.

Alex McCormick, representing NCM Auctions, expressed his sentiments, saying, “As you can imagine, these items have generated a lot of interest, and rightly so. We’re thrilled to have such prestigious pieces in our latest collectables auction, each with a fascinating history.

These are once-in-a-lifetime finds, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to own a significant part of film history. I’m sure they’ll make excellent additions to any collection, keeping Monroe and Chaplin enthusiasts very happy.
We expect interested bidders to keep their cards close to their chest, but we’ll be watching on auction day with bated breath and expect some records to be broken.”

Anticipation runs high as the auction day approaches, with bidders expected to play their cards close to the vest. NCM Auctions eagerly awaits the outcome, with the prospect of setting new records firmly in their sights.

The comprehensive catalog for NCM’s latest auction encompassing Fine and Decorative Arts, Jewelry, Watches, Antiques, and Collectibles is now available online at

Bidding will conclude at 7 pm on Thursday, October 26th.

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