Diamond merchant Ronald Winston paid $398,500 for a 50-pound chunk of movie history: the Maltese falcon sought by Humphrey Bogart and Sidney Greenstreet in the 1941 film.

"I thought the sense of intrigue and the search for something valuable fit in very much with our company," Winston, president of the Fifth Avenue jewelry concern Harry Winston Inc., said after Tuesday's auction. He wouldn't say what his plans are for the black bird.Other top sellers at Christie's sale of movie memorabilia included the best director Academy Award given to Victor Fleming for "Gone With the Wind," which sold for $244,500, and the best screenplay Oscar given to Howard Koch for "Casablanca," which sold for $184,000.