Sam’s piano in the movie classic “Casablanca” sold for $602, 500 last Friday according to Reuters. The 58-key upright hit the auction block for between $800, 000 and $1.2 million. The selling price fell short of Sotheby’s estimate, but still a huge gain over the previous purchase, which was $154, 000 back in 1988. The reason: this piano has been touched by Hollywood movie making magic.
In the Academy Award winning romance drama, Dooley Williams (Sam) plays “As Time Goes By” on an upright piano. It’s the “our song” of the movie’s star-crossed lovers Rick and Ilsa played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. At one point Ilsa says to Sam: “Play it, Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.” Later a frustrated Rick says to Sam: “You played it for her, you can play it for me!”
“Casablanca” won three Oscars, one for Best Picture and the others for Best Director and Best Screenplay. No word yet on who dropped all that dough to take home Sam’s piano.