The most famous piano in movie history has been sold at auction for $3.4 million—complete with a "petrified chewing gum wad stuck to underside of keyboard." The piano that featured heavily in Casablanca was the star of a sale of movie memorabilia at Bonhams in New York City yesterday, reports the BBC. The piano, one of two used in the classic film, was being sold by Los Angeles dentist Gary Milan, who also owns the statuette from The Maltese Falcon. Milan, who has loaned the piano to the Warner Bros. Museum, says he tried to find out whether the gum was left there by Dooley Wilson, who played Sam, but "nobody had his fingerprints that I could get hold of."
The director of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams tells the New York Times that the piano is so important to collectors because it is "central to the plot and it also has an awful lot of screen time." In the movie, Humphrey Bogart's character uses the piano as a hiding place for illegal transit papers. "They're under there while Sam plays; they're there for all of the activity that happens in the cafe," the Bonhams director says. "The piano is there. It represents the way out for them. That's what made it so important." The letters were also on sale and fetched $118,750, while other items in the sale included the Cowardly Lion costume from The Wizard of Oz, which sold for just over $3 million. (Read more memorabilia stories.)