Banksy anti-Iraq War protest placards sell for £24,700 in ‘bidding battle’

Bomb Hugger and Grim Reaper
Image caption,Spray paint on cardboard, Bomb Hugger and Grim Reaper were made as part of Banksy’s Wrong War series

Three works by street artist Banksy have been sold at auction for £24,700 after a “bidding battle”.

The cardboard placards were made as part of the Wrong War series for a protest march in London in 2003 opposing the conflict in Iraq.

The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, went to the demonstration and kept his sign as a “cool memento”.

Newcastle auctioneers Anderson and Garland said the works had “grabbed the attention” of bidders around the world.

“After a bidding battle online and on the phones, all three lots exceeded their estimates, selling for a combined total of £32,100 inclusive of fees,” it said.

The body responsible for authenticating works by Banksy, Pest Control, does not issue certificates of authenticity for items deemed to be “street-art” – ephemeral pieces or those designed to be left in situ.

But the auction house said the placards come with letters of provenance.

Happy Choppers - Anti-Iraq War Protest March Placard spray paint on cardboard
Image caption,Happy Choppers sold for nearly double its expected £3,500 – £5,000

The auction house said “very few” of the placards had survived the 2003 demonstration.

Most were either discarded in the streets or confiscated by police, it said.

Managing director Julian Thomson said: “I remember watching the protest on TV in 2003 and following the story as the signs were later accredited to Banksy.

“Banksy’s work is followed and loved by collectors all over the world, and these items have already attracted a lot of attention.”

Happy Choppers and Bomb Hugger were valued at between £3,500 and £5,000 each but were sold for £9,200 and £8,000 respectively.

Grim Reaper was expected to fetch between £2,000 and £3,000 and sold for £7,500.

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