Art collectors are invited to take a look at a piece that may or may not be the work of iconic street artist Banksy.
The stencil-on-concrete creation shows a version of the artist’s heavy weapons design, an elephant with a bomb strapped to its back, and it will go under the hammer in Folkestone on Saturday.
However, buyers should be aware that at this stage the provenance of the work has not yet been certified Banksy by the Pest Control organization which authenticates his work.
An authenticated version of Heavy Weaponry, spray-painted on canvas, has already been sold by auction house Sotheby’s for £315,000.
The ‘Banksy’ up for sale in Folkestone this weekend is owned by the town’s former mayor, Cllr Jackie Meade, who is contributing it to a wider auction in aid of three chosen charities.
“My partner gave me ‘Banksy’ for my 50th birthday, who bought it in London in 2010,” she said ahead of the sale.
“He was said to be from Roberta Street in East London.
“After breaking my toes several times on it, we put it away…”
“I had it in my hallway for several years because, being a large slab of concrete, it was too heavy to hang.
“After breaking my toes several times on it, we put it in storage and upon becoming mayor we decided that instead of hiding it, we could use it to raise money for charity.”
Cllr Meade says she has submitted the work to Pest Control for verification, but has yet to receive confirmation one way or the other.
The artist’s most expensive work to date, Love is in the Bin, sold for £18.5million.
It caught the world’s attention as supposedly the first artwork in history to be created live at an auction, when its previous artwork Girl with Balloon was shredded seconds later. have been sold.
Asked about the likelihood of the work being the real deal, Cllr Meade said: “We know several people who are supposed to be Banksy experts, they’ve seen it, they think it’s real.
“But of course we have to sell it as a ‘Banksy, is it or not? because I don’t have that final certification, but even as a work of art that we can talk about, it’s a brilliant work, so we hope to raise some money.”
A total of 36 lots will be auctioned during the sale at Leas Cliff Hall on Saturday, with proceeds going to the Rainbow Centre, FYP Youth Charity and Living Words.
The auction was scheduled for spring 2020, but was delayed for two years by the pandemic.
Folkestone is home to a room that is certainly the work of the artist. Banksy’s Art Buff – which shows a woman wearing headphones looking over an empty plinth – is set up in the Old High Street for all to see.
And on the road to Dover, an EU flag appeared on a building in Townwall Street in 2019 and disappeared again soon after.