Piano Made Famous In 'Casablanca' Goes On Auction Block

The piano is a constant presence in the Humphrey Bogart film, underscoring much of the legendary bar-room dialogue. Bonhams auction house expects it to sell for over a million dollars.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And that brings us to today's last word in business. You must remember this - the most famous piano in film history is going up for auction.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CASABLANCA")

INGRID BERMAN: (As Ilsa Lund) Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By."

DOOLEY WILSON: (As Sam, singing) You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss. A sigh is just a sigh.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

That's Dooley Wilson playing the upright piano in Rick's Cafe in 1942 film "Casablanca." It's the piano he uses to entertain the customers and to hide the precious letters of transit. And to play as his employer, Humphrey Bogart, slowly gets drunk after seeing his lost love.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CASABLANCA")

HUMPHREY BOGART: (As Rick Blaine) Of all of the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

INSKEEP: So that's the piano, which Bonhams auction house expects to sell for over $1 million.

MONTAGNE: You're winning, sir.

INSKEEP: Oh, thank you very much. Another piano from "Casablanca" sold for just over $600,000 two years ago. That was the piano used in the flashback scenes in Paris.

MONTAGNE: How nice. You remembered. But of course that was the day the Germans marched into Paris.

INSKEEP: Listen, where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of.

MONTAGNE: Oh, come on, we're just saying that it's the Business News from MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep. You better hurry. You'll miss that plane.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CASABLANCA")

WILSON: (As Sam, singing) A case of do-or-die. The world will always welcome lovers, as time goes by.

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