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'Banksy' auctioneer defends sale of mural

A Miami auctioneer has defended the sale tomorrow of a mural by the grafitti artist Banksy, which was controversially removed from a wall in North London.

He says it belongs to the owner of the wall and he wouldn't be staging the half-a-million dollar sale if it was illegal.

As Ria Chatterjee reports, a new image has now taken the mural's place in Wood Green.

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'Banksy' auctioneer: Brits think they own this artwork

Auctioneer Frederic Thut, who will auction the 'Banksy' on Saturday (February 23) insists that the artwork was acquired legally from the owner of the wall - but that local laws prevent him from revealing their identity.

He has accused local people of assuming moral ownership of something that is not theirs.

The owner of the wall, on which the artwork was stenciled, remains a mystery to local people in Wood Green.

Retailer Poundland, which occupies the building, is only a leaseholder. They say they do not condone the removal of the painting.

Councillor Alan Strickland says that locals see it as an act of theft:

"The feeling in the community here very strongly is that this is piece of art given freely by Banksy to our community. It belongs to our community, and we've really enjoyed having it here.

"It seems quite wrong to take that out secretively and sell it at auction in Miami for half a million dollars. That seems completely counter to the spirit with which Banksy gave it to us," he said.

'Banksy' considered a highlight of Miami auction

Fine Art Auctions Miami, the company that is set to sell the 'Banksy' artwork, is promoting the stencil as a highlight of tomorrow's auction.

They have put it on the front cover of the catalogue and on the home page of their website.

It is estimated that the work will fetch between $500,000 and $700,000.

The 'Banksy' is considered a highlight of the auction of modern, contemporary and street art. Credit: Reuters.
The artwork has pride of place on the home page of the Fine Art Auctions Miami website. Credit: FAAM
The auctioneers predict a sale price of up to $700,000. Credit: Reuters.

'Banksy' auctioneer: prove it's stolen & I won't sell it

An auctioneer in Miami preparing to sell a 'Bansky' street painting taken from a London wall says if anyone can prove the sale is illegal he'll take it off the market.

The 'Banksy' disappeared from a wall in Wood Green earlier this month, and is expected to fetch up to half a million dollars in the sale tomorrow.

Ria Chaterjee has our report: