A coveted 1929 De Havilland Gipsy Moth is ready to fly out of Florida and into your hangar.
RM Sotheby’s is auctioning off the iconic biplane from the Academy Award-winning film Out of Africa this March. The American-made aircraft, which is still in working order, was famously flown by Denys (Robert Redford) in Sydney Pollack’s 1985 masterpiece.
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In the seven-time Oscar-winning flick, Denys takes well-heeled baroness Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) on a romantic flight over the Kenyan savannah. The Gypsy Moth is intrinsic to the memorable four-minute-long scene and also plays a key part in the film’s tragic ending. (Spoiler alert: Denys later crashes the plane and is killed.)
The DH60M, which was inspected for airworthiness in April 2022, was brought to Kenya in 1985 for the film. The plane was flown by renowned RAF Wing Commander Henry Dalrymple-White and contributed greatly to the film’s production. It also showcases a unique steel construction developed to ensure durability in warmer climates.
The aircraft will go under the gavel at RM Sotheby’s auction at the inaugural ModaMiami event in South Florida on March 1 and 2. (Billed as an evolution of traditional Concours d’Elegance events, the multi-day extravaganza will combine world-class cars and luxury experiences.) All proceeds from the sale will be donated to the ZEITZ Foundation for Intercultural Ecosphere Safety to help the nonprofit with its invaluable work securing the future of the critically endangered black rhino. Specifically, the funds will be used for the creation of a rhino sanctuary in Kenya, close to where the flying scenes of Out of Africa were filmed. The black rhino is one of the world’s most endangered species, with approximately only 5,000 remaining in Africa today.
“This important initiative will not only help secure the survival of a critically endangered species but will conserve vital biodiversity and pristine wilderness for future generations,” Redford said in a statement. “The larger plan for interconnectivity with other conservation land will create a vast protected wilderness area and even more positive impact for the people and planet. I couldn’t think of a better way to raise funds for this ground-breaking project than through the auction of one of the most iconic airplanes in history, G-AAMY, the 1929 Gipsy Moth biplane featured in the film Out of Africa, in which I starred as Denys Finch Hatton.”
The Gipsy Moth is expected to hammer down for between $140,000 and $220,000, according to the auction house. If history repeats itself, however, the plane could exceed expectations and break records. In 2013, the aircraft sold for nearly double its pre-sale estimate of €103,000 (approx. $111,400) at a Bonhams auction. The winning bid, the equivalent of about $280,000 at the time, was the most ever paid for a Gipsy Moth.
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