The helmet, sold to raise fund for the Wings for Life charity, was one of three to bring exceptional prices.
10) Portobello Road mural - £208,100
A Banksy mural painted on a wall on London’s Portobello Road was sold in an eBay auction in 2007. The mural featured a stencil of a traditional painter adding the finishing touches to a pink tag of Banksy’s name.
It sold for a final price of £208,100, under the condition that the buyer would also pay to have the external wall removed (and presumably replaced).1
9) Laugh Now - £228,000
In 2002 the Brighton nightclub The Ocean Rooms commissioned Banksy to create a mural for their club. The resulting work, featuring a series of monkeys wearing sandwich boards which read “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge”, measured six metres in length and covered an entire wall.
The mural, which was created and displayed on three boards, was sold in February 2008 during a Bonhams auction for a price of £228,000.
8) Ruined Landscape - $385,000
Banksy contributed several of his works to a RED charity auction held at Sotheby's in New York in February 2008. The first of these was ‘Ruined Landscape’, featuring a traditional English landscape painting in a gilt frame, tagged with a large stencil which reads “This is not a photo opportunity”.
The work was sold for a price of $385,000.
7) Insane Clown - £241,250
The 2001 spray paint stencil on Hessian sold for £241,250 ($480,960 at the time of the sale) at a Phillips de Pury sale in June 2008.
The work, which features a gun-wielding man in a jester’s hat, later sold for $386,500 at a Phillips de Pury auction in November 2009.
6) Queen Victoria - £277,250
In an image which unsurprisingly angered the Daily Mail in 2008, Banksy’s work ‘Queen Victoria’ depicts the monarch in a lesbian clinch with a prostitute. Several versions of the work have been sold, including a copy bought by the singer Christina Aguilera for £25,000.
The most expensive version ever sold appeared at auctionin October 2008 at Sotheby’s in London. It sold for a price of £277,250.
5) Space Girl and Bird - £288,000
In April 2007 the record price for a Banksy work was broken during a Bonhams auction in London. The work was ‘Space Girl and Bird’, featuring a small girl dressed in a Parka jacket and a deep-sea diving helmet holding a small yellow bird.
The image had originally been commissioned as part of the cover artwork for the 2003 Blur album ‘Think Tank’, and sold for a then-record price of £288,000.2
4) The Rude Lord - £322,900
Banksy’s style of ‘corrupting’ existing traditional paintings brought him another record sale in October 2007, at a Sotheby’s sale in London.
His work ‘The Rude Lord’ features a version of a 1776 portrait by the English painter Thomas Beach, altered to include a hand casually raising a middle digit. It sold for a price of £322,900.3
3) Vandalised Phone Box - $605,000
The second of Banksy’s sculpture’s ton appear on the list is perhaps one of his most famous. ‘Vandalised Phone Box’ features a traditional red phone box, lying contorted with pain, bleeding and impaled with a pick axe.
Just one of a number of works by the artist to feature iconic red phone boxes in various states of distress, the sculpture sold during the RED charity auction in New York in December 2008 for a price of $605,000.
2) Simple Intelligence Testing - £636,500
In February 2008 the five-part oil-on-canvas work ‘Simple Intelligence Testing’ broke the sales record for the artist’s work when it reached £636,500 at a Sotheby’s sale in London.
The piece features a chimpanzee subjected to an intelligence test to find bananas in safes, which quickly uses its initiative to stack the safes and escape through an air vent above.
1) Keep It Spotless - $1.87 million
The most expensive Banksy work ever sold is in fact a corruption of a piece by one of Britain’s most controversial contemporary artists, Damien Hirst.
Keep It Spotless features one of Hirst’s famous ‘spot’ paintings, adapted by Banksy to feature the maid sweeping up which first appeared on his ‘Sweeping it Under the Carpet’ mural in Camden. The maid, a portrait of a Los Angeles hotel maid named Leanne, appears on the work pulling up Hirst’s piece to expose a brick wall behind it.
The work was sold during a Sotheby's Charity auction in New York in December 2008 for a record price of $1.87 million.4
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