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APARTMENT

France set to sell lavish New York apartment

France is set to sell off its luxury duplex apartment at a legendary address in Manhattan, New York, in another cost measure announced just two weeks after the Elysée Palace revealed it was to sell its presidential wine collection.

France set to sell lavish New York apartment
France is set to sell its apartment at the legendary 740 Park Avenue complex (left), next to New York's Central Park (right). Photo: Ed Yourdon/America's Roof/Wikimedia

It appears the French government is doing some spectacular belt-tightening as it continues to struggle through the economic crisis and reduce public deficit.

The state plans to sell off its luxury duplex apartment, on the 12th and 13th floors of 740 Park Avenue – known as ‘The World’s Richest Apartment Building’ – according to US-based online magazine French Morning.

Since 1978 the swanky, two-storey abode has served as the residence of France’s Ambassador to the United Nations, whose headquarters are in New York.

The apartment could go on the market for $35-40 million (€27-31 million), according to a real estate agent consulted by the website.

At present, a team of concierges, doormen and maintenance staff costs the French exchequer $10,000-$20,000 (€8,000-€15,000) every month.

Built in 1929, the apartment building has a rich history, in every sense.

It was the childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy, whose grandfather built it, and has played host to fashion designer Vera Wang, industrialist David Koch, and numerous businessmen, notably from early American giant Standard Oil.

France originally bought a second-storey apartment for the country’s ambassador to the UN, in 1949, before ‘moving up in the world’ to a duplex on the 12th and 13th floors, in 1978.

This is not the only sale of luxury assets the French government has announced in recent weeks.

Two weeks ago The Local reported how a selection of wines from the French presidential cellar at the Elysée Palace would be auctioned off in Paris at the end of May, with 1,200 bottles on offer.

The estimated value of the various wines up for auction ranges from a modest €15 to €2,200 ($2,800) for a Petrus 1990, auctioneers Drouot said in a statement.

Earlier this week the French government was told by spending watchdog the Cour des Comptes that it would have to cut the size of the Republican Guard, the elite unit that provides the pomp and ceremony on state occasions.

The guard, which includes the last cavalry unit of the French army, has 2,859 civilian and military staff and costs €280 million a year to run.

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AUCTION

Tintin print signed by Aldrin triples estimates at Paris auction

A print from a classic "Tintin" comic book signed by American astronaut Buzz Aldrin fetched 33,800 euros ($37,250), triple the auction house's estimate, at a Paris sale on Saturday.

Tintin print signed by Aldrin triples estimates at Paris auction
The print was signed by several US astronauts including Buzz Aldrin. Photo: Artcurial
The image from “Explorers on the Moon”, a 1950s adventure where the Belgian reporter becomes the first human on the Moon, features an inscription from Aldrin: “First moonwalkers after Tintin.”
   
Aldrin was famously the second man to walk on the lunar surface after Neil Armstrong during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission.
   
Interest in Tintin memorabilia has only strengthened since author Herge died in 1983 — an original drawing for a first edition was sold for $1.12 million in June this year.
 
Earlier this week in Paris, an original page from another Tintin book “King Ottokar's Sceptre” sold for 394,000 euros, far above its reserve price.   
 
However, the star item at Saturday's Paris auction failed to sell.   
 
The Paris auction house Artcurial valued a Tintin drawing from “The Shooting Star” adventure at €150,000 to €200,000, but no bidders were forthcoming.
   
More than 200 million Tintin books have now been sold worldwide, translated into roughly 70 languages.
 
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