Cowardly Lion Costume, Piano from Casablanca Fetch over $3 Million at Auction
Neither price is a record, though both were at the upper end of pre-sale estimates
The costume that the matchless Bert Lahr wore as the Cowardly Lion in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz and the piano Dooley Wilson played in 1942’s Casablanca have each been sold by Bonham’s auction house for more than $3 million.
And while neither result is a record, both sale prices were at the higher end of pre-auction estimates.
The Cowardly Lion costume, which had been owned by Los Angeles TV museum founder James Comisar, went for $3,077,000, which includes a buyer’s premium of $477,000.
The outfit – which is made of real lion’s skins – had been rescued from an old MGM building by a junk dealer cleaning out the abandoned lot back in the 1970s. Though several costumes were made for the film, Comisar says extensive analysis of its fur indicates this one was screen-worn.
Casablanca‘s piano fetched $3,413,000, including a buyer’s premium of $513,000. Likely built in 1927 and then memorably played by Dooley Wilson in the beloved wartime romance (as well as in a few other films), the piano was owned for years by an anonymous collector in L.A.
The record auction price for a movie prop is $4,085,000, for a Maltese falcon (from the film of the same name, also starring Humphrey Bogart) at a Bonham’s auction last year.
The overall record is $4.6 million for the Aston Martin driven by Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger.