The Casablanca Pianos ($602,500 & $3.4 Million)
The first of two, affectionately known as The ‘Tiny Piano,’ as it has only 58 keys (a standard piano has 88), the green Casablanca piano was seen in the romantic flashback scene at the Parisian café, La Belle Aurore. It is here in which we see Sam playing the instrument while Rick (Humphrey ‘Bogie’ Bogart) toasts Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) with a glass of champagne, saying the indelible line, “Here’s looking at you kid.”
First auctioned by Sotheby’s in 1988 for $155,000 to a Japanese buyer, it was auctioned once again in 2012—this time fetching a whopping $602,500 (though Sotheby’s had anticipated it going for $1.2 million). Interesting to note that the actor, Dooley Wilson, who played Sam, was a drummer and didn’t actually play the piano—he mimed it. The story goes that another piano off-screen was used to accompany his voice, and Dooley would look over at the pianist and mimic his hand movements.
The second prop from the famous film, a rusty-colored piano with a Moroccan pattern, known as The ‘As Time Goes By’ Piano, is assumed to be manufactured by Kohler & Campbell with a Richardson’s of Los Angeles label printed inside.
Like the flashback piano, it too has only 58 keys. First, the piano plays an important role in hiding the ‘transit papers’ given to Rick from Ugarte, performed by Peter Lorre. Second, it was used in the pivotal scene in which Rick sees Ilsa for the first time since she ran out on him years earlier; and in which Ilsa requests Sam to not only play some of the old songs, but especially ‘As Time Goes By.’ Later we see Rick drinking alone and commands Sam to ‘Play it!’ (two words so many have erroneously remembered as ‘Play it again, Sam.’) It is at this time he has the Parisian flashback in which we see the aforementioned piano, and Rick states another oft quoted line: ‘Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine!’
It was auctioned off in 2014 by Bonham’s for 3.4 million, won by an unknown buyer.