Piano played in Casablanca going under the hammer

Also at the auction are passports, a final draft screenplay, signed photographs of the cast etc.


News Desk July 22, 2014

An iconic piano featured in Rick’s Cafe Americain in the 1942 Hollywood classic Casablanca is expected to be the highlight of a sale of film memorabilia in New York in November, Bonhams auction house said on Monday, reported Reuters.

The upright piano is one of two from the film in which actor and singer Dooley Wilson sang As Time Goes By, the signature song for lovers played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.



The instrument from the Casablanca cafe owned by Bogart’s character Rick is expected to sell for seven figures when it goes under the hammer as part of the sale by Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on November 24 in New York.

The piano that was shown in flashback scenes in Paris in the film fetched $602,500 when it was sold at auction in 2012, below Sotheby’s then estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million. The auction house expects the piano to sell for seven figures.

Other lots include passports and transit papers created for the film, a final draft screenplay, signed photographs of the cast and production memos.

“Bonhams is thrilled to represent this remarkable Casablanca collection, certainly one of the most significant film memorabilia collections still in private hands. We have some great pieces from Casablanca,” said Catherine Williamson, director of Entertainment Memorabilia at Bonhams, reported the Guardian.

All of the 30 Casablanca items in the sale are from a private collector. In addition to the piano, the auction will include interior and exterior doors from the Casablanca nightclub where Bogart and Bergman meet again and rekindle their romance.

The sale also features a host of other collector pieces from other films, including a test dress and pinafore designed for Judy Garland for the 1939 production of The Wizard of Oz, a gown worn by actor Rita Hayworth in 1946’s Gilda and Barbra Streisand costumes from the films On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, The Way We Were and Yentl.

The items will go on display in preview exhibitions held in Los Angeles from November 6 to November 9 and in New York from November 20 to November 24.

Casablanca, a film that is considered one of the greatest films of all time, is set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II when an American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications. The Warner Bros movie won three Oscars in 1943 for Best Picture, Best Writing (Screenplay) and Best Director. It is perhaps best known for Bogart’s catchphrase to Bergman “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.

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