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Salvador Dalí's famous moustache remains in a ideal state, witnesses to the surrealist artist's exhumation for DNA testing have revealed.

Nearly three decades after the surrealist artist's death, forensic experts were thrilled to discover Dali's iconic moustache looking exactly the same as during his lifetime.

Officials said Friday that the artist's mummified remains were so well conserved that even his famous moustache had survived the passing of time and remained in "its classic shape of ten past ten", referring to the positions of the hands on a clock.

The operation to remove Dali's remains began at around 8 p.m. local time, with an hour and a half needed to lift the 1.5 tonne slab of stone sealing the grave before the artist's coffin was removed.

If Ms Abel's claims are proved right, she could claim a quarter of Dali's estate which was bestowed to the Spanish state.

After two decades of court battles, a Madrid judge last month granted Abel a DNA test to find out whether her allegations are true. She has fought for the exhumation because she wants legal proof that the artist was her biological father after an alleged affair between her mother and Dali.

Martinez is believed to have brought the claim because of her hard financial situation and she likely hopes to get part of Dali's estate. There are no current estimates of the value of that fortune. Married for 55 years to Elena Ivanova Diakonova, better known as Gala, it was assumed that the marriage was never consummated.

Undertakers take a casket inside the Teatre-Museu Dali (Theatre-Museum Dali) after the arrival of forensic examiners for the exhumation of Salvador Dali's remains in Figueras on July 20, 2017.

"I asked my mother if Salvador Dali was my father because I said he was a little bit ugly", Ms Abel said.

Abel's court litigation started in 2015 when she sued the Ministry of Finance, as the trustee of Dali's estate, and the Gala Dali Foundation that was created to administer it. Abel said a desire to honor her mother's memory was motivating her paternity lawsuit.

The 61-year-old has said her court bid to secure the paternity test was to "know who I am".

Ten years ago she performed a DNA test in Madrid using hair and skin fragments that she obtained from one of the painter's mask, but the results were not conclusive. Extra measures were taken to prevent images being taken of the process, including raising a marquee inside the museum's glass dome to avoid any possible photography or video taken from drones.