“This is the first-ever auction of love locks in the world,” auctioneer Olivier Collin du Bocage said in a phone interview. The city hopes to rise between 150 000 Euros [$163 000] and 200 000 Euros from the sale, he said. Proceeds will go to charities helping refugees.
Although the origins of the love-lock trend, which started
around a decade ago, are unclear, it became a global phenomenon, with locks
found on the
In the French capital, much to the dismay of Parisians, it
became a tradition for lovers, mostly tourists, to attach metal locks to
bridges, starting with the Pont des Arts, a metal and wooden pedestrian
structure that has linked the Louvre museum to the left-bank
Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighbourhood since 1804. As they ran out of room on the
Pont des Arts, lovers sought out others bridges, rails on the
Much water has flown under
Now, the City of
The charity auction will be conducted by the Credit
Municipal de Paris, a local government-managed bank that offers loans and
funding help to disadvantaged Parisians. Money raised has been earmarked
for the non-profit organizations Emmaus, the Salvation Army and Solipam to fund
aid for refugees as the French capital struggles to cope with an influx of
migrants from poverty and war-stricken countries in Africa and the
The locks are on display until their planned auction at 3 p.m. on May 13, with bids also possible online, according to details on the website of Credit Municipal de Paris.
“Already from our online site, we can see that the auction
is attracting much attention, notably from abroad,” Theo Recoules, a
A 90-page auction catalog describes 165 batches, ranging from straight handfuls of 5 to 20-odd locks to elaborate presentations, some of which include a bridge grid and weigh over a metric ton. While most starting prices are set at 150 Euros to 200 Euros, heftier lock loads are estimated at 5 000 Euros to 8 000 Euros.
“Some of the locks have been set on precious wood, a lot of has been done to clean them up and present them as true pieces of art,” Collin du Bocage said, when asked why some of the locks are so expensive.
Apart from those removed from the Pont des Arts, the batches
on sale will also include locks from the Archbishop’s bridge, which leads to
the island on which the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral stands. In all, the
batches for sale represent around 7 percent of the total weight of the locks
“This is not much but most of the locks have deteriorated during their removal as they spent a lot of time outside,” he said.
Some items feature locks dangling over a “pave de Paris” cobblestones used for paving many streets in the French capital. The stones are a symbol of the city’s three-century long history of revolutionary barricades, during which many of these “paves” were hurled by protesters.
“Online, one can see that many people have tried and zoomed-in on the locks for sale, perhaps to try and see if theirs are a part of the auction,” Collin du Bocage said. “We gave names to the lots according to those that were engraved on the locks. Although we tried to have high-quality definition pictures, it’s difficult to see.”
As for the rest of the locks that have been stored away, city officials say they may be too damaged to sell and too toxic to recycle.
“We will later see what we can do with the remaining locks,”