ByMark Newton, writer at Creators.co
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

Bonham's auction house has recently held a major auction of some of the silver screen's most iconic props and costumes. At the top of the bill was the original piano played by Sam in film noir classic, Casablanca.

The piano - which was a central story element to the film - managed to fetch a rather impressive $3.4 million after a frenzied three minute auction.

As I'm sure you all know, the piano was a prop which sat in Rick's Cafe, a major iconic location in Casablanca. Not only was it used to play the film's theme of "As Time Goes By," but it was also used by Rick (Humphrey Bogart) to smuggle letters of transit for his former lover, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman). In order to do this, the piano was specially adapted to allow Bogaert's character to perform a sleight of hand.

The piano, which was most likely made in 1927 and has since been restored, also has some other odd additions. Unlike a standard standing piano, which has 88 keys, the Casablanca piano only has 58. Furthermore, included in the price was a signed picture of Sam actor Dooley Wilson and a piece of petrified crewing gum that was stuck under the keyboard. The gum, which has been there for an unknown amount of time, does feature a faint fingerprint, although no one has been able to identify its owner.

The piano wasn't the only Casablanca prop to be sold. An original screenplay for Casablanca - then titled Everybody Come to Rick's - fetched $106,250, while the doors of Rick's Cafe sold for $115,000. The letters of transit went for $118,750, while a single chair from Rick's Cafe racked in another $5,000.

Other classic cinema items included in the auction were the Lion costume worn by Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz, Clark Gable's Gone With The Wind jacket and dresses worn by Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Rita Hayworth.

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