A piece of the Eiffel Tower just sold for R2.6m

A part of the Paris landmark's original 1889 staircase was snapped up by a buyer from the Middle East at a recent auction

02 December 2018 - 00:00 By Elizabeth Sleith

A piece of the Eiffel Tower's original staircase was sold this week at auction for €169,000 (R2.6m) - roughly three times the pre-sale estimate. The piece, which came from a private collection in Canada, was part of the staircase that once connected the top two floors of the tower, built between 1887 and 1889, according to architect Gustave Eiffel's design.
But when lifts were installed in 1983, making the helix staircase obsolete, it was cut out and divided into 24 sections.
One of these is still displayed at the Eiffel Tower, while three others are in museums - the Musée d'Orsay and the Cité des Sciences in Paris, and the Musée de l'Histoire du Fer (the Iron History Museum), in Jarville-la-Malgrange in northeastern France.
The remaining 20 pieces were sold to private collectors around the world, and it is one of these that went under the hammer this week in Paris at the Artcurial auction house on the Champs-Élysées.
The sold section of the 129-year-old iron landmark measures 4.3m in height, weighs about 900kg and includes about 25 steps.
The successful bidder was an unidentified collector from the Middle East.
Other sections of the staircase can be found in sites such as the Yoishii Foundation gardens in Japan, near the Statue of Liberty in New York, and in Disneyland in Florida.
This was the third time Artcurial has auctioned a piece of the tower.
In 2013, an original section measuring 3.5m went for €220,000 and in 2016 another went for €523,800.

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day, Financial Mail or Rand Daily Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.