LONDON (Reuters) - As one of the most iconic images of rock, Algie, the inflatable pig which famously flew over London's Battersea power station for Pink Floyd's "Animals" album cover, was set to be a star lot at an upcoming auction.
But days after British auctioneers Durrants listed it as part of a catalogue of inflatable props its maker was selling, Algie is no longer on offer -- going back to the band instead.
The inflatable, which broke free during the 1976 cover shoot, grounding flights at Heathrow airport, has been withdrawn from sale after props builder Air Artists offered it to Pink Floyd.
"The pig is going back to Pink Floyd. They want it home again," Rob Harries, owner of Air Artists, told Reuters.
Durrants had listed Algie among Air Artists' works, used in music concerts and promotions but now being cleared out, for its Sept. 5-15 sale drawing coverage from numerous media outlets.
"We made a list of all the inflatables that we weren't going to store anymore ... and the auctioneers jumped the gun a bit and started publicizing the most iconic one," Harries said.
"I felt I'd better talk to Pink Floyd, which I duly did and they duly wanted it back, unsurprisingly."
Harries said Algie, which has a "big split" but could be repaired and displayed, would be returned to the group's management company. "There's often lots of talk of a Pink Floyd exhibition maybe this will be a spur for it to happen," he said.
Inflatables still in auction include Herman, the pig's head from Roger Walter's 1990 "The Wall" concert in Berlin, and Freddie Mercury and Brian May caricatures for Queen's 1986 "The Magic Tour". Dominic Parravani of Durrants said the auctioneers had "no idea" how much the items would fetch.
Air Artists, whose work has been used by AC/DC and Rolling Stones, is selling the items as Harries, after some 40 years of inflatable-making, now focuses clay and wax sculpture.
Editing by Jeremy Gaunt