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Casablanca director Oscar to fetch €2m in auction

MICHAEL Curtiz's best director Oscar for the movie classic Casablanca is going up for auction this week and is expected to fetch €2m to €2.4m, auctioneers Nate D Sanders said.

The Academy Award won in 1943 by the Hungarian-born Curtiz, who died in 1961, will be sold on June 28 by the Los Angeles-based company. Online bidding, which opened last week, had already reached more than ¤295,000 earlier today, well past the reserve price that was not disclosed.

Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and set in the Moroccan city during World War II, is one of the most enduring romances in American cinema. In 2007, the Los Angeles-based American Film Institute named it as the third best film of the past 100 years.

Curtiz's Oscar for directing the movie was previously sold by Christie's in 2003 for ¤185,000 to US magician David Copperfield.

Sanders said the market for Academy Awards has more than tripled in the past 10 years.