This Man Sold The Eiffel Tower Twice

Victor Lustig was no ordinary man. A name of horror but secretly admired all around the world during the early ...

7 years ago
This Man Sold The Eiffel Tower Twice

Victor Lustig was no ordinary man. A name of horror but secretly admired all around the world during the early 1900s. This ‘storybook character’ as described by the Milwaukee Journal lived a lavish life and dressed as an idol for the US. The not so ordinary man in fact crossed all the limits of being extraordinary. Even after cheating several tradesmen with his excellent confidence and brilliant tricks, the man had thirst for more. He sold the Eiffel Tower and not once but twice. 

His personality was such a charm that even New York Times wrote about him.

He was not the hand-kissing type of bogus Count-too keen for that. Instead of theatrical, he was always the reserved, dignified noble man.

Here is the story of this man from USA

Meet con artist Victor Lustig

Lustig had mastered almost every card trick in his childhood and by the adulthood; he could make the deck of cards act according to him.

His Criminal Records are Pretty Mysterious

Victor Lustig said in some of his prison interviews that he was born on January 4, 1980 and brought up in Hostinne, an Austrian-Hungarian town. When his school records were checked, no child of his name ever admitted into that school.

His parents were poor peasants

While some men boasted his father to be a Burgomaster or the town mayor, few said that they were poor peasants.

But Lustig decided to be BIG

Enough practicing with small games and frauds, Lustig thought of the biggest -


Lustig had links with artists who would prepare fake government documents. Combining his talent with theirs, Lustig prepared a fake circular for selling Eiffel Tower secretly. 

In the appearance of a French Government official, Lustig invited scrap metal industry’s top businessmen to one of the most expensive hotels of Paris then, Hotel de Crillon for carrying out this affair.

They Got Caught In His Trap

The tradesmen were notified, "Because of engineering faults, costly repairs, and political problems I cannot discuss, the tearing down of the Eiffel Tower has become mandatory." 

The scrap material would be sold to the highest bidder, announced Victor. This brought in competitive vibes among all of them. They were asked to submit their bids the next day and shall not disclose this since the government did not want to make this a high profile case. 

But he was suspected by the wife of one of the businessmen, Andre Poisson. He met Lustig again for the matter and such a con man he was, he asked for a bribe and ran away with both the bid money and the bribe.

Poisson, out of shame, did not reach the police

Soon Victor Lustig decided to sell the monument once again. But it wasn’t very smooth this time.

Rumanian Money Box

Rumanian Money Box is the most iconic scam of Lustig. The small box made of cedar wood was claimed by Lustig to be a money producer. How? 

When two bills were inserted in it, the machine would produce $100 bills after 6 hours. The machine was bought for a whopping $30,000 by many US citizens. But before the buyers realized the fact, Lustig flew away to some other place.

A counterfeit $5 note

This counterfeit would even pass the bank owners.

Ten Commandments by the Con Artist Victor Lustig

Finally, the Secret Service caught hold of the artist

After the much tiring cat mouse game of FBI and Victor, they finally caught him. But he escaped.

He used his bedsheet as a rope and a day before the trial, he escaped from the jail. When the escape went public, he covered his face by the handkerchief and pretended to be a glass cleaner. And as always, he ran away clean but they could catch him.

And Guess What Happened After That

Victor died few days later after being caught again.

What Occupation did they mention in his Death Certificate

“Apprenticeship Salesman and Counterfeiter”


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