Play it, Sam: Casablanca piano expected to fetch $1 million at auction

The instrument is being auctioned by Sotheby's on the 70th anniversary of the film's release

Casablanca fans have the chance to play As Time Goes By again and again with the piano from the classic Humphrey Bogart film set to go up for auction, although they may have to pay over $1 million.

Sotheby’s is to auction the piano on the 70 anniversary of the Second World War film’s release and have estimated the price at between $800,000 and $1.2 million.

The instrument is played by Sam, portrayed by Dooley Wilson, in a flashback scene set at La Belle Aurore in Paris before the arrival of the German army.

Bogie’s character Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman plan to escape the city, and the iconic actor utters the line: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Casablanca, which premiered on Thanksgiving Day in 1942, won three Oscars, for best picture, best writing and Michael Curtiz was named best director.

David Redden, vice chairman and director of the special projects department at Sotheby’s, said: “How can anything say ‘I love you’ better than the piano from Casablanca?”

The film spawned a series of memorable quotes from Bogart but “Play it again, Sam” is not one of them. He said: “You played it for her, you can play it for me… If she can stand it, I can. Play it.”

The piano was sold to a Japanese collector for $154,000 in 1988, who outbid Donald Trump for the prize. The record price paid for a piece of movie memorabilia was the $5m paid for Marilyn Monroe’s dress from The Seven Year Itch.

Earlier this month, as story emerged that a sequel to Casablanca was in the works, dubbed Return to Casablanca.