'Wizard of Oz' Cowardly Lion suit, Casablanca piano go for millions

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 25, 2014 12:12 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Cowardly Lion costume worn in the film "The Wizard of Oz," including the sculpted likeness of actor Bert Lahr's face, was auctioned for nearly $3.1 million.

Hollywood memorabilia sold by Bonham's auction house on Monday night also included a piano featured in the 1942 classic "Casablanca," which fetched more than $3.4 million, Bonham's spokeswoman Vyoma Venkataraman said on Tuesday.

The winning bid for the lion costume - worn by Lahr in the 1939 film - was $3,077,000, Venkataraman said.

"It was created from real lion hide," she said.

She said the model for the face mask sold with the costume was actually the late actor's son.

The lion costume sold on Monday was worn more frequently than a second lion suit used during the filming of the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy Gale, played by Judy Garland, and her three friends, played by Lahr, Jack Haley as the Tin Man and Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, in their search for home, courage, love and knowledge.

The upright piano featured in Rick's Cafe Americain is one of two from the film in which actor and singer Dooley Wilson sang "As Time Goes By," the signature song for lovers played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

The piano, which Bogart's character Rick used as a hiding place for illegal transit papers, sold for $3,413,000, Venkataraman said.

The movie's other piano, which was shown in flashback scenes in Paris, brought $602,500 when it was sold at auction in 2012.

Monday night's buyers also snapped up the production house-made letters of transit for $118,750 and the exterior doors of Rick's Casablanca cafe for $115,000.

"They are instantly recognizable," Venkataraman said. "They are the doors through which all of the main characters passed."

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Bill Trott)