'Casablanca' piano sold for US$3.4m

Published Tue, Nov 25, 2014 · 09:50 PM

New York

THE letters of transit - "signed by General de Gaulle, cannot be rescinded, not even questioned" - were hidden under its unusual hinged lid.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's 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 US$3.4 million, gum and all. The price included a 12 per cent commission.

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