The historic ninth-century castle of Duras - built on a hill in Lot-et-Garonne, France - was sold Jan. 25, for GBP3,650 after a bitterly disputed "candle auction" in the town hall of the neighbouring town of Perigueux.
GV Castle at Duras
LV Castle entrance
TV PAN.. Courtyard and castle
ANGLE V.. PAN down courtyard
LV Potential buyers
CU Sign 'Hotel de Ville' (town hall) Perigueux
SV Crowded interior
SV Auctioneer and assistant light candle
SV Bid is made
SCU Another bidder
CU Man watches
CU Candle is lit
CU Man looks up and bids
CU Another bidder
CU Another candle is lit
SV Bidder takes refreshment
CU Feet by stove
CU Candle flame dies
SV PAN.. from auctioneer to new castle owner
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Background: The historic ninth-century castle of Duras - built on a hill in Lot-et-Garonne, France - was sold Jan. 25, for GBP3,650 after a bitterly disputed "candle auction" in the town hall of the neighbouring town of Perigueux.
Parisian company director Reuben Gravis made the successful bid - after 4 hours of trying - for the dilapidated castle after competing against a local company who wished to convert it into a super hotel for tourists.
At this type of auction, one is able to make bids only while a small candle burns for 30 seconds. Usually the prospective buyers wait until the candle is nearly out hoping to ensure the last bid for themselves. It is lit and relit many times during the sale of each lot.
The candle was out and smoking when the local company made their final bid. They have pleased to the authorities that the candle was not "properly out" and hoped to be allowed another chance to bid within ten days.
Duras Castle - which would need about GBP15,000 to restore - was until 1813 the residence of the Dukes of Durfort-Duras. Victor Hugo Duras, born in America, bought the castle after having served in the American Embassy in Paris before world war one. In 1943, the Germans forced him to leave France. He died that year in Washington leaving no heirs.