upright piano made an appearance in the classic 1940's Oscar-winning World War II movie, Casablanca.
It was used in one of the movie's most iconic scenes, when the song "As Time Goes By" was played by Sam (Dooley Wilson). As Sam played, Humphrey Bogart's and Ingrid Bergman's famous characters, the doomed lovers Rick and Ilsa, toast with glasses of champagne.
Then Bogart's character, Rick, pronounces his most famous line, "Here's looking at you, kid."
of the piano marks the 70th anniversary of the classic film, which was largely set in the Moroccan port city of Casablanca, then part of unoccupied French North Africa.
Just before the bidding began, Rachel Kaufman, a pianist invited by Sotheby's, played the famous tune "As Time Goes By".
Kaufman, 43, is a professional pianist, who made her living as a music director and accompanist in the musical theater and cabaret worlds in New York City for 20 years.
said, “It was very emotional to play. I’m still choked up. There’s something magical about this piano.”
The Japanese owner purchased the piano for $154,000 on auction in 1988. At the time, this was one of the highest prices ever paid for a movie prop.
He was hoping to get $1.2 million for the piano, but had to settle for $602,500 when the famous piano went under the hammer to an unnamed owner. Apparently the lot failed to meet the expert's expectations.
December 17, 2012 : updated and corrected the professional information about Rachel Kaufman.