After Bidding Frenzy, Stairs from the Eiffel Tower Sell for Over Half a Million Euros
The auction of the staircase "unleashed passion" among bidders in Paris.
A portion of the original stairs from Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower have sold for €523,800 ($556,000) after a major bidding frenzy at the French capital’s auction house Artcurial.
Estimated at €40,000 ($42,193), the bidding rose fiercely and dramatically, leaving the €20,000 ($21,096) starting point in the dust. The 14 steps, were eventually awarded to an Asian buyer, bidding over the phone.
“The battle over the phone and in the auction room for the stairs showed the profound attachment there is for a monument that is so emblematic of French culture,” said auctioneer Francois Tajan.
The winding staircase totals a height of 8.5 feet, and was once the connective piece between the tower’s second and third floors. They have since been replaced by an elevator.
Other parts of the monument’s staircase can be found in museums, by the Statue of Liberty in New York, at Walt Disney World in Florida, and at the Yoshii Foundation in Japan.
Artcurial sold a larger 3.5-meter section of 19 steps for 220,000 euros in 2013, according to AFP. “[I] am particularly moved by the sale, having watched the first sale of the staircases in 1983 which was presided over by my father Jacques Tajan,” the auctioneer told AFP.
The stairs date back to 1889, when Gustave Eiffel first built the 1,063-foot structure as the centerpiece for the 1889 World Fair. The Tower soon became an icon of the City of Light, and stands today as a globally recognized landmark on the city’s skyline.
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