A miniature model of Banksy has sold for £1million at auction.
The model, which is a tiny thatched-roof building with the words “Go Big or Go Home” written on it, first appeared at a model village in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, as part of its Great British Spraycation last year.
The anonymous Bristol-based graffiti artist posted a video last August in which he could be seen spraying a number of new artworks around the seaside resorts of Norfolk and Suffolk.
Now the thatched-roof building model that was part of that event has been sold to a bidder over the phone at an auction in Newcastle.
The piece sold for £800,000, but with commission and the artist’s fee added, the figure is estimated at just over £1 million.
As auctioneer Julian Thomson of Aderson and Garland knocked down the hammer at the auction, he said: “Well that was exciting, please stick with us as we have some more affordable works of art to switch to now.”
Introducing the model, he said he was “excited to bring the artwork to the North East” and it was a “great honour” to bring it to market for the first time. .
One of the model’s owners, Frances Newsome, told the BBC: “The Banksy saved our lives because we had to close so much because of the pandemic.
“We hope the sale will secure the future of the village.”
The model went unnoticed for two days until a visitor pointed it out. He was later confirmed as Banksy by ‘Pest Control’, which authenticates his works.
In other news, Banksy recently pledged to raise millions to buy Reading Prison so it can be turned into an arts venue.
The artist painted a mural on the building last March that showed a prisoner – resembling notorious inmate Oscar Wilde – escaping using a rope made from sheets tied to a typewriter.
Banksy later confirmed that the piece was his own creation. He has now offered to sell the stencil he used on the Grade II listed building to match the asking price of £10million.
The prison has been derelict since 2013 and was put up for sale by the government in 2019. Reading Borough Council has submitted a new bid to buy the site as an arts venue, after the sale of the jail last November. A spokesperson for Banksy told the BBC that the commitment was conditional on the award of the tender to Reading Borough Council by the Ministry of Justice.
Banksy said: “Oscar Wilde is the patron saint of bringing together two contrasting ideas to create magic. Converting the place that destroyed him into a haven for art seems so perfect that we have to.