Saturday, November 29, 2014

Peak Piano: Casablanca Piano Sells For $3.4 Million

From Outside the Beltway:

Casablanca Piano
Perhaps the most famous piano in movie history was sold at auction for more than $3 million dollars:
The letters of transit — “signed by General de Gaulle, cannot be rescinded, not even questioned” — were hidden under its unusual hinged lid. It is golden yellow with touches of green and gold, a surprise to people who know it only from its black-and-white adolescence. It has a wad of chewing gum in a place where a wad of chewing gum really should not be.
It is the stuff that dreams are made of.
It is one of the most famous pianos in the world, the piano Ingrid Bergman was close to when she delivered one of Hollywood’s unforgettable lines: “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’ ” It is the short little upright from Rick’s Café Américain in the movie “Casablanca.”
And it has become the stuff of very expensive dreams. It was sold at auction on Monday for $3.4 million, gum and all. The price included a 12 percent commission.
Of all the auction houses in all the towns in all the world, it had been wheeled into Bonhams on Madison Avenue for a sale of movie memorabilia.
Bonhams did not identify the buyer of the piano, one of two seen in “Casablanca.” The other piano, the one in the Paris flashback scene, sold for $602,500 at Sotheby’s in December 2012. But as some collectors noted at the auction on Monday, that piano was on the screen for only 70 seconds.
And via OTB: