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AUCTION

Old Eiffel Tower steps sold off at Paris auction

A piece of Parisian history went under the hammer on Monday when a 19-step section of the Eiffel Tower's original spiral staircase was sold at auction in Paris. The steps were expected to fetch around €30,000 but in the end went for a lot more.

Old Eiffel Tower steps sold off at Paris auction
Eiffel Tower steps go for €225,000. Photo: AW Sheffield/Flickr

The iron steps, which once connected the tower's second and third levels, were part of a sale of Art Deco furniture by auction house Artcurial in the French capital.

The steps were expected to fetch between $27,00 and $40,000, but in the end they went for €170,000 ($230,000) to a Portuguese collector, who apparently intends to sell the steps on at a profit. Although the buyer has promisedthe steps will remain in Europe, if not France.

(Photo: On the White Line/Flickr)

They steps stand at around three and a half metres high (12 feet) and weigh 750 kilogrammes (1,650 pounds) and were often used in the winter when the lifts stopped working, recalled architect and historian Bertand Lemoine in Le Parisien.

"These steps were really dizzying, you really felt as though you were between the sky and the ground," he said.

The original steps were removed in 1983 to comply with new health and safety regulations.

They were dismantled and cut up into 24 sections of between six feet and 30 feet, Artcurial said in a statement.

One was preserved at the Eiffel Tower while three went to Paris museums. The other 20 were auctioned off.

Construction of the 1,063-foot Eiffel Tower, designed by engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel, began in 1887 and lasted just over two years. It was inaugurated in March 1899.

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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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