Millennium Post

Casablanca piano sold for $3.4 million

Casablanca piano sold for $3.4 million
The piano, on which Sam (Dooley Wilson) famously plays As Time Goes By at the request of his one-time love Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), was among 200 items from Hollywood's golden age that went under the hammer at Bonham's in New York.

The piano featured prominently in the Oscar-winning 1942 romantic drama, with leading man Humphrey Bogart using it as a hiding place for the letters of transit that ultimately secure his former lover's safe passage to the United States.

Dresses worn by Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Rita Hayworth were also auctioned, as well as a jacket worn by Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind. The Lion costume worn by Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz was also put up for sale.

Auctioneers had declined to estimate the Casablanca piano's likely price, saying only that they expected it to fetch 'the low to mid-seven figures.' Bidding opened at $1.6 million and escalated rapidly before closing three minutes later at $3.4 million including taxes.

The piano was specially adapted to allow Bogart's character to perform his sleight of hand with the transit papers, hiding them in plain sight of the clientele at Rick's. Most likely made in 1927, the piano also has only 58 keys, 30 fewer than a classic piano. 

The piano was offered for sale with a signed photograph of actor Dooley Wilson and a copy of Casablanca, and even came with a wad of petrified chewing gum found stuck beneath the keyboard.

A faint outline of a fingerprint could be seen on the gum, but its owner was unknown. A winner of Academy Awards, Casablanca is ranked as the second greatest movie of all time by the American Film Institute.


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