Bonhams has issued a press release to announce they will auction off the 1929 De Havilland DH 60GMW Gipsy Moth bi-plane flown over the Kenyan savanna by character Denys Finch Hatton (played by Robert Redford) in “Out of Africa” – the seven-time Oscar-winning 1985 film. Moreover, the aircraft is in excellent condition with a permit to fly and it still has its yellow-and-black livery seen in the movie with the registration G-AAMY in homage to pioneering English aviatrix Amy Johnson.
In the movie, character Finch Hatton would take Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (the real name of the book’s author, Isak Dinesen), played by Meryl Streep, flying over her farm and other parts of Africa (Dinesen herself would describe the flights as “the most transporting pleasure of my life on the farm”). However and when her affair with Finch was likely over for good, he is killed when the Gypsy Moth crashes after takeoff at the Voi aerodrome.
So where has the Gypsy Moth been since “Out of Africa” was filmed? Late last year, someone under the user name of EnoAeroPics on FlightGlobal found her in back of the hangar of the Flying Museum at Seppe airport in The Netherlands (EHSE). EnoAeroPics also snapped this picture of her:
The Gipsy Moth itself measures 24 ft long by nearly 9 ft high (7.3 meters by 2.7 meters) with a 30ft (9 meter) wingspan and its capable of a maximum speed of 105 mph (169km/h). It will go on sale at the Bonhams auction during Rétromobile week (from February 6-7th) at the Grand Palais in Paris where bidding is expected to be in excess of €150,000 (£120,000 or $180,000).
(And let’s hope whoever buys the aircraft chooses to not keep it parked in the back of a hangar somewhere…)