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Showing posts from September, 2017

Victor Lustig, the Con Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower

Victor Lustig, who preferred to be called Count Lustig, in spite of having no claim to the title, was an early 20th century confidence man. To hear some tell it, he was one of the greatest con artists of all time. He was always smooth and composed–the antithesis of the fast-talking con man. It was this poise combined with a knack for swindling that earned him a reputation as the man who sold the Eiffel Tower twice. While not exactly true, he did earn a pretty penny running scams.

The 81-story wrought iron Eiffel Tower was designed and constructed for the 1889 World's Fair. Even before construction began, there were people who hated it. One group even called it a monstrosity. It was quite an unusual structure for Paris at the time. It would definitely stand out, but construction commenced anyway. Victor Lustig was born the January after construction on the monument ended.

Lustig got the idea for his most famous con while reading about the Eiffel Tower in 1925. He learned that the ru…