Banksy ‘Love Rat’ art set to sell for £50k at auction today 

After going under the hammer at a Newcastle auction house today, a Banksy piece failed to sell.

A screenprint of his famed ‘Love Rat’ was projected to sell for £30,000 to £50,000, but it didn’t even reach the lower reserve price.

The’sky was the limit’ for the Bristol street artist’s sought-after print, according to auctioneers Anderson and Garland.

They sold ‘Merrivale Stable’ by the anonymous street artist in January for a record breaking £1million earlier this year.

The ‘Love Rat’ piece, originally created in Liverpool in 2004, is one of 600 prints which had not been signed by the anonymous street artist, with 150 also in circulation which are signed.

In May of last year, Forum in New York auctioned off an unsigned ‘Love Rat’ print for £69,680.

When the Tate Ward Auction in 2020 put a signed edition of the same print up for auction, it fetched £137,500.

The print, numbered 335/600, was part of The Modern Art and Design Auction, which took place today.

A spokesman for the auction house confirmed to MailOnline that a number of offers on the piece were still being considered.

Alongside the screenprint, ten smaller Banksy-related lots were available as part of the auction.

They included items collected from a temporary art project organised by the artist in the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare, in 2015, as a take on Disneyland.

A set of two Bansky prints on cardboard also sold above the expected price of £250, and were purchased for £360.

In total the four lots of the ‘Dismaland’ collection sold for a total of £525, with the majority selling for over the lowest guide price.

It is not the first time that a piece of art by the graffiti artist has failed to sell when put to auction.

His ‘Turbozone Truck (Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge)’, which he created before he was famous, was tipped to sell for between £1million and £1.5million.

The 17-tonne circus lorry was authenticated by the artist, and did not meet the reserve price.

Bonham’s, who were auctioning the piece, said at the time that they were considering a number of offers which had been made after the sale.

In December 2017 three pieces of a 40-strong Banksy lot at Forum in New York didn’t sell, with another ‘Love Rat’ print also failing to reach the guide price.

‘Choose your Weapon’, expected to fetch upwards of £42,000, ‘As did I Fought the Law’, estimated at £4,000-£6,500 and ‘Watchtower’, estimated at £32,000-£49,000, were all unable to find a buyer.

His ‘Turbozone Truck (Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge)’failed to reach its estimated auction price of £1million when it went under the hammer in 2019

Speaking before the auction Julian Thomson, managing director of Anderson & Garland, said: ‘This exciting piece carries an estimated price of £30,000 – £50,000, however as one of the most sought after and iconic of Banksy’s designs, the sky really is the limit.

‘Following the successful launch of our Urban Art Department earlier this year, and the fantastic result achieved with the sale of Banksy’s Merrivale Stable in January, we’ve really put out name on the map with Urban Art collectors.’

Banksy’s identity has never been confirmed with critics saying his art, however skillfully executed, should be classed as vandalism.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie once commissioned him to create a mural for their private gallery at their estate in the south of France.

The artist famously sold his ‘Girl With Balloon’ in London in 2018, but immediately after the conclusion of the auction it partially shredded itself.

The canvas was passed through a secret shredder hidden in the large Victorian-style frame, leaving the bottom half in tatters and only a solitary red balloon left on a white background in the frame.

The painting, re-titled Love Is In The Bin after the shredding, sold for £1.1million at the original auction.

But when it was put up for sale again at Sotheby’s last year it resold for £18.6million, a record for the artist at auction.