Michael Curtiz's best director Oscar award for the Hollywood classic "Casablanca" could fetch up to $3 million when it goes under the hammer next week, organizers said.
"'Casablanca' is one of the most popular and beloved movies worldwide," said Nate Sanders, owner of Nate D. Sanders Auctions. "It's only one of a handful of films from the Golden Age of Hollywood that everyone has seen and is immediately recognizable."
The golden statuette will be auctioned June 28 in Santa Monica outside Los Angeles, where it is expected to sell for between $2.5 million to $3 million, according to the auctioneers.
"Casablanca" (1942) won Academy Awards for best picture, best director and best screenplay for the devastating love story starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, whose would-be union must be sacrificed for the sake of fighting against the Nazis.
Curtiz's golden statuette was previously sold to US magician David Copperfield for $231,500 in 2003. But the auctioneers would not reveal who currently owns the award.
Born in Budapest in 1886, Curtiz died of cancer in 1962 at the age of 75.