Statue of Liberty cast valued at up to $1.2m in New York sale

A small-scale cast of Liberty Enlightening the World (best known as the Statue of Liberty) by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi is to auction with an $800,000-1.2m estimate at Sotheby's.

Statue Lbierty Bartholdi
The Statue of Liberty is one of America's greatest national symbols

The lot will headline a sale of artworks and artefacts from and about New York.

Bartholdi, a renowned French sculptor, made his preliminary designs for the statue during the 1860s and built the first model in 1870.

This specimen was cast in 2010 from the original moulds, which are housed in the Musee des Arts et metiers in Paris, and stands at a height of just under three metres. It's one of 12 copies made.  

In 1871, Bartholdi travelled to America, with the blessing of the Franco-American Committee, to make his pitch. He met with a number of notable figures, including President Ulysses S Grant - who proved receptive to the idea.

Construction began in 1876, with the Liberty's arm and torch exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Paris that same year. In 1878, the head was completed. It was almost 10 years before the statue was finally assembled on its pedestal on Liberty Island.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans turned out for the dedication. Today, the Statue of Liberty is perhaps the most potent US national symbol and certainly New York's greatest icon.

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