If over the Thanksgiving break you for moment felt an inexplicable and unsettling shudder, it was doubtlessly a result of worldwide nerd pheromones billowing into the atmosphere at the news that one of the prop Maltese falcons from the eponymous movie sold at auction for a tad over $4 million. All the major news outlets picked up on the story that the 45 lb. chunk of toxic lead left Bonham’s for the cost of a roomy Los Feliz bungalow (minus refrigerator) or, in a bit of Morissetteian irony, over 10 times the value of the fictional Maltese falcon, inflation included.
Buried in the thrill of fictional metallurgic ornithology was the more interesting news that the same auction saw the sale of another Bogart-fondled prop: the 1940 Buick Phaeton Limited 81C that carried Rick and Ilsa to the airport in Casablanca. The Yoo-Hoo-brown convertible sports suicide doors, a 302 straight eight, three on the floor, and a face like Rich Uncle Pennybags. It’s a beauty regardless of its provenance, though its dreamy interior, upholstered to match your Great Aunt Rose’s sofa, is enhanced by authentic cigarette burns from Mr. B. himself.