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Sotheby’s expects to fetch up to $1.2 million for Casablanca piano

One of two pianos played by Dooley Wilson in Casablanca will be auctioned at Sotheby’s today. It’s expected to fetch between $800,000 and $1.2 million—less than Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, which sold for $2 million last year, but more than the Rosebud sled from Citizen Kane, which  Steven Spielberg bought for $60,500 in 1981.

This is the second time the piano is going up for auction at Sotheby’s. In 1988, a Japanese collector purchased the instrument for $154,000.

David Redden, vice chairman of Sotheby’s, told CNN, “The piano is a star of the film. The music is so emotive, so moving, and the piano really becomes a symbol of the love story between Bogart and Bergman.” From the Sotheby’s catalog:

Casablanca was released with great patriotic fanfare in November of 1942, coinciding with the Allied invasion of Morocco. It is a movie of its time–replete with careful war propaganda and characteristic banter—and yet timeless. Over the past seventy years it has become one of the most beloved movies ever made and the song so deeply entwined with it, “As Times Goes By,” has reached a similar immortality. The song becomes an orchestral leitmotif through the movie, coloring Rick and Ilsa’s romance –played, of course, by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman–but it’s most important appearance is when it is sung by Dooley Wilson at the piano.

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