A man looking to cash in on what he claimed as an original Banksy stencil was instead delivered a lecture. The man left Antiques Roadshow with a better appreciation for why street art should be left where it’s created after an attempt to value the piece of art proved fruitless. 

Antiques Roadshow Has Seen A Little Bit of everything

Antiques Roadshow is well known for showcasing a wide variety of the strange and the valuable. Some people bring odd looking vases on the show only to be told they’re worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Others bring in intricate and real jewelry to find out it’s practically worthless. A canvas piece by Banksy could well be worth a significant amount of money. 

Per Huffpost, “His depiction of British members of Parliament as chimpanzees sold last year for about $12.9 million. 

Sotheby’s auction house in London will on Wednesday sell his ‘Show Me the Monet’ contemporary reworking of ‘The Japanese Footbridge’ by Claude Monet. It is estimated to sell for $4 million to $7 million.”

Street Art Should Stay on the Street

Banksy stencil

Banksy is well-known for anonymously tagging his art on public spaces like retaining walls, bridges, and other street-side structures. Although Banksy doesn’t sign his street work, the artist does leave telltale marks in both style and content that can clue art-seekers into the fact that he’s behind certain pieces. Banksy is well known for using satire in his work to criticize the current state of modern society. 

While Banksy’s canvas art may fetch a pretty penny at auction, his street art is almost impossible to value out of it’s original context. Many appraisers won’t even apply a value, in order to discourage people from defacing public property to steal the artist’s work. 

Man Hopes to Cash in on Banksy Art from Brighton

HypeBeast writes, “The piece in question is a rat stencil on a steel plate that the owner said he pulled off a wall around 2004 when he was living in Brighton, England. ‘It looked loose,’ he said during the show. ‘[I] went over, pulled it off basically.’

 

The man was hoping to get a high evaluation for the piece and even mentioned that he had applied to get a certificate of authenticity for the work, but was rejected. Expert appraiser, Rupert Maas, explained to him that Banksy oversees a website called Pest Control that allows potential buyers to apply for a certificate. The elusive artist will only give a certificate if the piece is real and not removed from the public. ‘The thing about Banksy,’ Maas said, ‘is that he manages his brand very, very carefully indeed.’

‘I think the message here is that, if you do see a piece of graffiti art out there, leave it, leave it for the public,’ Maas said. ‘I’m not lecturing you. I’m just saying, without that certificate, it’s just very difficult to sell. With it, it might be worth £20,000. Without it, you’re nowhere.’”

Was it All a Set-Up?

Banksy Rat

Some have speculated that the man who brought the Banksy piece to Antiques Roadshow was a stooge. Antiques Roadshow would be ripe for the artist’s ire; Banksy is known for his disdain of how art is valued and treated in society. Perhaps the man with the Banksy stencil was sent to prove a point, or to make a statement.

Whatever the motivation behind the appearance, the controversy surrounding this particular street art is a good lesson for all. Street art is placed on the street for a reason; to enlighten or enrich all who see it. Taken from that habitat and closeted away in someone’s home, the art loses it’s value and the artist’s intention. 

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