Banksy collection could bring in half-a-million at London auction
A COLLECTION of paintings by Bristol graffiti artist Banksy could fetch around £500,000 when it comes up for sale later this month.
The anonymous artist has proved popular with collectors following his breakthrough into the art establishment in 2007 when his works starting to attract big bids from major art collectors.
The record paid so far for a single Banksy work was £288,000 for a piece Space Girl & Bird which sold for 20 times the estimated price.
His exhibition at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery was one of the most successful displays held at the building and attracted and more than 300,000 visitors. Last year Banksy's profile soared even higher when he was nominated for an Oscar for his film Exit Through The Giftshop.
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The coming auction has been arranged by Bonhams in London and it remains to be seen whether the filmmaker, political activist and street artist has maintained his popularity with collectors.
Traditionally works by the secretive artist have attracted bids of up to more than 20 times their reserve price.
The Urban Art Sale is being held on Thursday, March 29, and includes 17 high-profile Banksy pieces.
The one expected to attract the most attention is called Leopard and Barcode. The painting was bought at an exhibition in Los Angeles and it has been signed on the back by the artist. It has been valued at between £60,000 and 80,000.
Another highlight is the piece called Girl and Balloon which is valued at £25,000 and has been sprayed on to the cardboard backing of an Ikea frame and is inscribed 'Quality' by the artist on the retailer's label.
Other pieces include Bomb Hugger valued at £60,000 and Love is in the Air also worth £60,000, both were acquired from the Existencilism exhibition in Los Angeles. There is also a screen print of supermodel Kate Moss which is expected to fetch £50,000.
Alan Montgomery, Urban Art Specialist at Bonhams, says: "Banksy's popularity still goes from strength to strength, with the market for his work certainly following suit.
"We are excited to be offering this group of works, which includes some of his best known and most sought after images. It seems that the public just can't get enough of him, and his continued anonymity, even following last year's Oscar nomination, only adds to his enigma.
"Increased international interest means that he is no longer just collected in the UK, but now has a truly global following."