Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information


A unique and comprehensive collection of the signatures of early Hollywood and British film stars from the golden years of the 1920’s and 30’s has been discovered in a local property.

The collection comprising thousands of autographs of well known and some lesser known Hollywood greats from the silent era 1920’s and the ‘talkies’ of the thirties are the lifetime’s work of one remarkable lady.

Florence Clark, (or Florrie as she was affectionately known) lived in Smethwick near Birmingham. It would appear that from a young age she had a zest for the movies and set out to obtain the actual signatures of her favourite stars of stage and screen. Documentation in the collection shows that she wrote to the studios in Hollywood and UK requesting the autographs which were duly sent back to her, sometimes with a letter and a good luck note.

Illustrated is a small selection of autographs with a photo of Florrie wearing round glasses in the centre

Contained in the vast collection are the autographs of well known actors and actresses of the inter-war period such as Ivor Novello, Norman Wisdom, Rex Harrison, Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Gracie Fields, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, George Formby, John Gielgud etc etc.

Horror movie fans will be delighted to know the autographs of legends Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone are also represented. Florrie even became friends with Hollywood husband and wife Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon and communicated well into the 1950’s, even exchanging Christmas cards and meeting up, (photos show a proud Florrie with Bebe and Ben)

Female icons of the very early days of film, ie the silent era are also included such as Mary Pickford (1892-1979) who was one of the silent eras most important performers, Esther Ralston, Fay Compton, Binnie Hale and Sybil Thorndike to name a few.

Richard Winterton Auctioneers of Lichfield are handling the sale and Fine Arts Manager Adrian Rathbone comments:

‘Florrie’s fantastic collection was discovered amongst the contents of a local routine house clearance. A suitcase of paperwork and photographs was presented to me and I had an idea that there may be some interesting signatures inside. What I did not realise until I began the two-day task of collating the signatures was the sheer quantity and that many were from the very early days of film – the silent era 1920’s and the talkies which became fashionable in the early thirties. It reminded me of the recent multi Oscar winning film The Artists. Some of the autographs are in small albums but most are on signed photographs of the stars themselves. Some even come with letters from the celebrities, such as a letter from Esther Ralston and numerous notes from Bebe Daniels. The collection is a fitting tribute to Florrie’s passion for collecting signatures and is an important and intriguing insight into the very early days of cinema’.

Although Florrie was clearly primarily concerned with Hollywood and UK film stars, there are two other important signatures to mention, those of the famous Aviators Amy Johnson CBE (1903-1941) and her husband Jim Mollinson (1905-1959).

The collection will be offered for auction in Richard Winterton’s Fine & Decorative Art Sale to be held at The Lichfield Auction Centre on Thursday 1st November. The auction goes on public view the day before, (31st October from 11am to 6.30pm). For further details contact Richard Winterton Auctioneers on 01543 251081 or visit