20th-Century Isotta Fraschini Model Car
Appraised Value: $1,500 - $1,800
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:39)
Toys & Games
Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
GUEST: I don't know a lot about it. I picked it up at an estate sale. The man collected the most unusual items. He had recently died. His wife had a great story. She said that her husband told her that when he purchased it, he was told that it... uh, had been used as a movie prop, supposedly on a Chaplin film. I have no way to prove that. And that was really all I knew.
APPRAISER: So your feeling is it was a miniature used in a motion picture and possibly "The Great Dictator."
GUEST: That's what they thought-- like for a long distance scene where this would be seen driving across the horizon.
APPRAISER: It really is an absolutely stunning model and amazingly detailed. I can just barely make out on the grill here: Isotta Fraschini, which is a classic Italian car which was really the Rolls Royce of Italy. Now, as to whether or not it was used in a movie, I really think it's the case. When you see movies from the '30s and '40s, sometimes you'll see those shots where all of a sudden this truck is on a mountain road and you know it's a prop.
APPRAISER: It has the level of detail that would work in that kind of a long shot.
GUEST: In that shot, right.
APPRAISER: But I think the giveaway is right here in this little metal hook. They would have created a landscape for it to travel in and probably have a chain drive that would drag it up the road. Now, was it in "The Great Dictator?" I think it just well might have been, because "The Great Dictator" was a satire, or a takeoff on Hitler.
APPRAISER: And even though this is an Italian car, it bears a very close resemblance to one of the big Mercedes cars that Hitler favored. I wish you had the doll of Chaplin sitting in the back; that was probably in the long shot. Now, all you need to do is buy a DVD of "The Great Dictator," look at it very, very closely.
GUEST: Very careful.
APPRAISER: So you paid $300.
GUEST: I paid $300 for it, yes.
APPRAISER: Just as a model of a classic, classic car, I think it would be easily worth $1,500 to $1,800.
GUEST: Oh, that's great.
APPRAISER: So now... but if we could establish that this was actually a prop from a movie as great as "The Great Dictator," and a Chaplin film to boot, I think you're more in the $5,000 to $6,000 range.
GUEST: Wow! I need to watch the movie, then, don't I?
APPRAISER: You need to look at that movie.
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