Stairway to heaven? Eiffel staircase expected to smash $120,000 estimate



It has got the better of countless elevator-eschewing tourists over the years and now it's coming to auction.

A section of staircase from the original Eiffel Tower will be sold by Christie's in New York on June 16.

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The 14-foot high section is estimated to net between $80,000 and $120,000.

Designed and built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle in Paris, the tower was originally disliked by critics but has since come to be the city's most beloved and prominent landmark.

This portion of original spiral staircase was replaced in 1980 in an effort to lighten the weight of the structure.

It is one of 24 sections of varying lengths that were removed between the second and third floors.

Three sections were given to French museums, while the rest were auctioned off at the Eiffel Tower in December 1983 to memorabilia collectors and alternative investors.

The sale was a huge success as collectors from all over the world fought for a piece of the structure. Portions can now be found across the globe including the garden of the Yoishii Foundation in Yamanashi, Japan, and next to the Statue of Liberty in New York.

This piece was bought for a US collection in 1983 and could well surpass its estimate. In 2008 another 14-foot section sold for $710,000 at Sotheby's, making a mockery of its $44,000 evaluation, while a piece made $151,000 at Drouot auctioneers in 2009.

The tower remained the tallest building in the world until 1930, when it was surpassed by the Chrysler Building in New York.

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