Banksy work 'Kissing Coppers' auctioned for $575,000 in Miami

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:28pm EST
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By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - A mural created on the side of a building by the elusive British street artist known as "Banksy" sold for $575,000 on Tuesday, along with dozens of other graffiti-style works at a Miami auction being closely watched due to the soaring value of street art.

"Kissing Coppers," a black-and-white stencil of two British police officers kissing in close embrace, was purchased by an anonymous telephone buyer, Fine Art Auctions Miami said. The work originally appeared on the side of the Prince Albert Pub in Brighton, England, in 2005.

The wall is one of several Banksy works removed from their original location and sold to collectors. It was auctioned along with two more Banksy pieces - "Bandaged Heart Balloon" and "Crazy Horse Car Door" - created during the artist's month-long "street residency" in New York City last year.

Those two pieces, priced at $200,000 and $100,000 respectively, failed to reach their asking price. The Banksy piece that did sell had a winning bid of $480,000 plus $95,000 in fees. It had been expected to fetch between $500,000 and


The auction of 54 works also included a sketch by Jean-Michel Basquiat, which sold for $180,000, and a Keith Haring watercolor, "Roger in the Flowers."

Banksy, whose graffiti and stenciled paintings appear as social commentary in public spaces and private property around the world, emerged in Bristol, England, in the early 1990s.

Despite having worldwide notoriety and being featured in the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop," the artist has kept his real name a secret.   Continued...

Paintings titled "Crazy Horse Car Door" and in the background, "Kissing Coppers", by the British street artist Banksy, are seen on display at LMNT Gallery in Miami, Florida February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Zachary Fagenson