Lot 225

Miami 2024

1929 De Havilland DH60GM Gipsy Moth "Out of Africa"


$527,500 USD | Sold

United States | Coral Gables, Florida



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  • Offered to benefit the creation of a new rhinoceros sanctuary in Central Kenya
  • Prominently featured in the Academy Award-winning movie Out of Africa
  • Desirable all-metal frame, American-built DH60GM, one of the most iconic craft of its era
  • Beautifully restored example, long maintained in excellent flying condition
  • Looked after by the noted De Havilland Moth specialist Henry Labouchere
  • A marvelous piece of both Hollywood and aviation history
Addendum: Please note that post auction dismantling, transport and storage with CARS will be at buyers expense.

One of the most famous models of aviation’s cradle era, the De Havilland Gipsy Moth occupies the same space in its category as the Model T Ford in automobiles—a dependably engineered, reliable vehicle, that brought its mode of transportation to more people than any other before it. Hundreds of examples were built and were flown by several significant aviators of the era, including the noted British aviatrix Amy Johnson, who in 1930 became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in her Gipsy Moth, “Jason.”

According to the owner, this Gipsy Moth, a later production model with an all-metal frame, was built under De Havilland license by the Moth Aircraft Corporation of America in 1929. It was later one of the first American Moths to be brought to the United Kingdom, where it flew for a time while still on its American registration, “N585M.” It was eventually registered in the United Kingdom using its present number, “G-AAMY,” honoring Amy Johnson, in May 1980.

Then-owner Cliff Lovell supplied the aircraft in early 1985 for the filming of Out of Africa, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in the epic love story of the Danish countess Karen Blixen and British aviator Denys Finch-Hatton. Reportedly Mr. Lovell rebuilt the aircraft’s engine before the plane was dismantled and shipped in two crates to Frankfurt, then flown in a German cargo plane to Nairobi, Africa, where it was reassembled and re-rigged for filming. Flown by Lovell and Jens Hassel, it appears prominently in numerous scenes within the film, for which it was temporarily re-lettered as “G-AAMT.”

Many of the film’s most memorable images are of this majestic aircraft in-flight, both in Nairobi and in Tanzania’s Serengeti Game Park. It was also utilized at Shepperton Studios and Walkeridge Farm for close-up sequence shooting, making it one of the few “hero” vehicles to have been used for both action and close-up shots. Out of Africa would go on to win several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography—the latter an award that the late David Watkin specifically attributed to his work with the Gipsy Moth.

In the late 1980s, the Gipsy Moth was acquired by well-known Moth aficionado and historian, Roger Fiennes, then passed in the early 1990s to noted automobile collector Evert Louwman, who continued to maintain it well and in fully airworthy condition and used it regularly for various events, including a De Havilland rally in New Zealand. Powered by a De Havilland Gipsy II engine uprated to 135 horsepower for operations in Africa, for which parts are more readily available, with propeller made by Hercules to an original design, it is recounted by the owner as having 1,525.1 hours on the airframe and 27.1 hours on the engine since its last overhaul. The original undercarriage and spoked wheels will be offered alongside G-AAMY in Miami.

G-AAMY has continued to be maintained by the De Havilland Moth guru, Henry Labouchere, who has cared for the airplane for decades. Mr Labouchere can be contacted via the RM Sotheby’s office in advance of the sale and will also be on-site in Miami to advise any interested parties. Furthermore, Mr. Labourchere is happy to offer his services to the new owner of G-AAMY, with all post-sale assistance at the buyer’s expense. Service files and log books back to 1981 will accompany the Gipsy Moth.

G-AAMY is sold today on behalf of the owner to raise awareness and funds for the creation of a vast new rhinoceros sanctuary in Central Kenya, returning critically endangered rhino to the Segera Conservancy as part of the Zeitz Foundation’s effort to create one of the largest such sanctuaries in the world; 100 percent of the hammer price will go towards the formation of the sanctuary. Robert Redford, star of Out of Africa, has provided a signed letter of support for the sale, noting that “raising funds to help protect one of Kenya’s last remaining wilderness areas and save a species would be the perfect next chapter in G-AAMY’s incredible story, and I am honored to join the Zeitz Foundation in this endeavor.”

A vintage aircraft of unusual historical significance and with a rich history, this is among the finest surviving Gipsy Moths, as well as an icon of modern Hollywood filmmaking familiar to any moviegoer—and one that can still be enjoyed by its new owner!