November 29, 2012 3:57pm PT by Joshua Stecker
'Casablanca' Piano Could Sell for $1.2 Million
A kiss may still be a kiss, but this piano is not just any piano.
The instrument used to perform the timeless tune "As Time Goes By" in the film Casablanca will be offered up for auction on December 14 in New York City by Sotheby's.
The piano is expected to sell for somewhere between $800,000 and $1.2 million.
The piano is featured in the classic Paris flashback scene where Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) listen to Sam (Dooley Wilson) tickle the ivories over champagne as Rick utters the now famous line, “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.”
While the song may have seemed to emanate from the piano, Wilson sang the words but did not actually play the instrument on screen. Instead, since the music was recorded live to film, musician Elliot Carpenter played behind a curtain and was positioned so Wilson could see him and mimic his hand movements, according to IMDB's trivia page for the film.
The instrument is being put up for auction by a Japanese collector who purchased it for $154,000 at a Sotheby's auction in 1988. The collector is now putting it up for auction in time for the Oscar-winning film's 70th anniversary.
Casablanca, directed by Michael Curtiz, won three Oscars in 1943, including Best Picture.