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Expo.02 leftovers go under the hammer

Even the Monolith is up for grabs at the two-day auction

(Keystone)

Hundreds of bargain hunters are bidding for pieces of Switzerland's national exhibition, Expo.02, at a special auction in the city of Biel.

Around 30,000 objects - from teepee tents to a rusting monolith - are going under the auctioneer's hammer.

The auction comes just under a month after Expo.02 closed its doors to the public for the last time on October 20 following a five-month run.

Expo organisers have commissioned the liquidation company, Used Market, together with auctioneer house, Troostwijk, to carry out the two-day sell-off, which is scheduled to wrap up on Monday.

International bidders looking to acquire a piece of Swiss history can bid for items over the Internet or by telephone.

By the end of the first day of the sale - attended by more than 2000 people - the auction had raised SFr150,000.

"We are very satisfied with this result," said Expo spokesman, Marcel Marti. "It's much more than we had banked on."

The most expensive item to be auctioned off on Sunday was a photocopier, which was sold for SFr1,800.

Office equipment for sale

Some of the most popular and practical items to have been snapped up include telephones, computers, printers and a variety of office furniture.

One of the most unusual objects to be offered for sale was too big to fit inside the auction room: a giant, rusting cube known as the Monolith, one of the most popular attractions at the Expo.02 site on Lake Murten.

Billed by auctioneers as the "identifying mark of Expo.02", the Monolith is described as a "swimming construction consisting of 100 concrete floats".

The Monolith will be auctioned off to the highest bidder on Monday.

Solar power

Three solar-powered boats, used to ferry Expo visitors to and from the monolith, are also up for auction and are described as being in "excellent condition".

Other quirky objects featured in the auction catalogue - all with only one previous owner - include shopping trolleys, slot machines, conveyor belts, ice-cream machines and "impregnating units".

Anyone looking for a novel way of getting from A to B might like to place a bid for any one of a number of fire-fighting vehicles, fork-lift trucks and road repair vehicles.

An assortment of X-ray machines and dental equipment, meanwhile, is not likely to be of interest to the casual souvenir hunter.

Lovers of the great outdoors are much more likely to be forming an orderly queue to get their hands on no less than 5,000 sleeping bags, a variety of trees and top-of-the-range lawn mowers.

A selection of portable steel units with built-in toilets and urinals are also on offer as part of the auction.

swissinfo

Key facts

Switzerland's national exhibition, Expo.02, came to the end of its five-month run on October 20.
Around 30,000 objects are going under the hammer at the two-day auction in the city of Biel.
Items on offer to the highest bidder include tables, chairs, ice-cream makers, solar-powered boats and a giant rusty cube.

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