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Cowardly Lion costume fetches £1.9m

The Cowardly Lion costume from the classic film The Wizard of Oz and the piano from Casablanca have each sold for more than three million dollars (£1.9 million) at a New York City auction.

The items were among a treasure trove of Hollywood memorabilia sold at Bonhams on Monday.

The big cat outfit, which went for just over three million dollars, has been authenticated as the one Bert Lahr wore in the 1939 film. Its face is a sculpted likeness of the late actor.

A spokesman for costume owner James Comisar said a secondary costume used in the film sold at auction in recent years for close to one million dollars (£638,000).

Mr Comisar also has a trove of TV memorabilia from shows as diverse as I Love Lucy and Lost. He said he plans to use money from the Cowardly Lion costume sale to exhibit his collection.

The upright Casablanca piano fetched 3.4 million dollars (£2.17 million).

The piano features in the scene in the classic 1942 film starring Humphrey Bogart where his co-star Ingrid Bergman's character, Ilsa, says to Sam the pianist (played by Dooley Wilson): "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'."

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