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Sales of THE CENTURIES; Oi, mate! Wanna buy a famous landmark? MARION MCMULLEN looks at the price tag of some historic sites as we mark the 40th anniversary of the sale of London Bridge.

THE traditional nursery rhyme warns "London Bridge is falling down" and officials decided it was time to put the historic stone structure up for sale when it was discovered to be in real danger of collapse in the 1960s.

American oil tycoon Robert McCulloch thought the five-arch bridge would be the perfect tourist attraction and forked out $2.46m on April 18, 1968, to move everything brick by brick to the hot climes of Arizona.

It took three years to move the 1,000ft-long structure 10,000 miles from the River Thames to its new home in America.

A total of 10,276 pieces were shipped via the Panama Canal to Long Beach, California, and then transported by a convoy of trucks to Lake Havasu City. It then cost a further $7m to rebuild the 19th century bridge.

At the time it did not even have any water running underneath it at the new America site, but Robert McCulloch arranged for a mile-long channel to be dredged from Lake Havasu to create a waterway for London Bridge again.

It has now become one of the major tourist attractions in the area.

Ancient monument Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, was advertised for sale in Country Life magazine in 1915.

It was part of several lots of real estate in the area that were put up for auction and the famous site was bought on a whim for PS6,600 by barrister Cecil Chubb as a romantic gift for his wife Mary... although she apparently had been hoping for some new chairs and curtains from the auction instead.

He later deeded Stonehenge and its famous standing stones to the nation in 1918 and was made a baronet for his generosity by Prime Minister Lloyd George and given the title Sir Cecil Chubb, First Baronet of Stonehenge.

One of Britain's most famous landmarks, it was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986.

Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner is responsible for saving the iconic Hollywood sign not once, but twice.

The original sign spelled out Hollywoodland and was put in place in the 1920s as a property advert. It was later shortened to just Hollywood, but by the late 1970s the famous sign was looking a bit worse for wear.

Hefner auctioned the old letters at a party at the Playboy Mansion and raised enough money to pay for a new sign. He stepped in again 32 years later when property developers wanted to buy 138 acres near the sign. He donated nearly $1m to the fundraising campaign saying: "It is our Eiffel Tower. It represents, I think more than a city, it represents Hollywood dreams."

Smooth con man "Count" Victor Lustig tried to sell the Eiffel Tower in Paris itself for scrap metal in 1925... twice.

He read a newspaper article about how the Paris landmark was rusting and in need of repairs so sent out officiallooking letters to five businessmen inviting them to bid for the rights to demolish the tower and sell it for scrap.

Cecil One target, Andre Poisson, was so keen he not only "bought" the famous structure of 7,000 tons of iron, but also gave Lustig a healthy bribe. Poisson was too embarrassed to later report that he had been conned to the police but, when Lustig tried the same scam a few months later with another group, the police were alerted. However, Lustig managed to evade arrest and fled to America.

Hugh Hefner He once said: "I cannot understand honest men. They lead desperate lives of boredom."

Former Texas mission The Alamo became a military garrison and was the scene of a bloody 13-day siege by Mexican troops in 1836 as legendary figures like Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie tried to defend it against overwhelming forces.

Bran Dracula's in Romania Part of the historic site was earmarked for demolition in 1903 to make way for a new hotel but heritage group the Daughters Of The Republic of Texas raised $75,000 to save it from being developed.

They were reimbursed by the Texas authorities two years later.

Bran Castle in Romania is commonly known as Dracula's Castle and straddles the regions of Transylvania and Wallachia.

It was the home of Romania's royal family until 1948 and was then confiscated from Princess Ileana by the communist government.

The cliff-top castle was returned to the Habsburg family in 2006 and it was believed it would fetch $135m when it was put up for sale. Maybe it was a lingering fear of resident vampires hungry for blood , but no one was keen to live in Vlad the Impaler's property and the castle is now a museum and a major tourist attraction.

Castle, aka castle


The Alamo

A group of men, most likely surveyors and builders in front of the Hollywoodland sign

Bran Castle, aka Dracula's castle in Romania

Hugh Hefner

Stonehenge c.1870, left, and Sir Cecil Chubb, who bought the site in 1915, pictured above with his wife Mary

The Eiffel Tower

London Bridge, below, and being dismantled ahead of its journey to the United States, right
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Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:Apr 21, 2018
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