What must surely be the ultimate Parisian souvenir – a segment of the Eiffel Tower's original spiral staircase dating from 1889 and estimated at €40,000 to €60,000 – goes under the hammer at Artcurial's biannual art deco auction in Paris on November 27. This is the third Artcurial auction featuring a section of the spiral staircase. In 2013, a similar piece measuring 3.5m high fetched €220,000, and in 2016, a piece numbered 13 – which similarly connected the second and third floors – exceeded its estimate tenfold, selling for over €500,000.
The current piece – from a private collector in Canada – is numbered 4 and, at 4.3m, is the tallest ever to be auctioned by Artcurial. The segment originally linked the Eiffel Tower's second and third floors and remained in service until the installation of a lift in 1983. It was then that the Dame de Fer’s iron staircase was disassembled and cut into 24 sections, ranging in height from 2m to 9m. One of these remains on exhibit on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower and three were donated to French museums: the Musée d'Orsay, La Villette and the Museum of Iron History, in Nancy. The remaining 20 segments were sold to private collectors, and pieces are now installed across the globe – alongside the Statue of Liberty in New York, in the Yoishii Foundation gardens in Yamanashi, Japan, and in Walt Disney World, Florida.