“Lost” Banksy Mural is Restored and Placed for Auction


Banksy Holywell Row Happy Chopper Stencil Auction

Photo courtesy of Anderson & Garland

A Banksy mural that a building owner painted over has been restored and is coming up for auction. Auctioneers Anderson & Garland will place Holywell Row Happy Helicopters on the auction block this month. According to the Newcastle-based auction house, the work is expected to fetch anywhere from £500,000 to £700,000 ($637,00 to $890,000).

In 2006, Banksy painted the stencil of the Apache choppers adorned with pink on the side of a building in London's Shoreditch neighborhood.  Also known as Happy Choppers, the work caused an immediate buzz when it appeared on the side of an office building. Crowds gathered to photograph the stencil, and their daily presence caused the security lights to turn on continuously. The building owner became increasingly frustrated after the disturbance began affecting the workers' performance, so he covered Banksy's work with black paint. A year later, he sold the building.

The current building owner wasn't aware of the valuable artwork below the black paint. It wasn't until years later, when he picked up his son's Christmas present—a book about the location of Banksy's art in London—and leafed through the pages that he realized that he had a Banksy on his building.

When he went to look, he simply saw a mass of black paint on the wall where the mural was meant to be. But, upon closer inspection, he noticed a black propellor at the top of the wall. This discovery sparked a journey to restore the piece. Specialists eventually determined that the best way to do so was to remove the work piece by piece, and now, Happy Choppers will take center stage at the Spring Fine Art Auction at Anderson & Garland on March 20.

But first, the public can get one last glimpse of it, as the Banksy will go on view in its city saleroom on March 15, 16, and 18.

h/t: [Robb Report]

Related Articles:

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Banksy’s Largest Painting Is Up for Auction and Expected to Sell for Over $2 Million

Banksy’s Version of Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’ Expected to Earn Up to $6.5 Million at Auction

Banksy Painting Immediately Self-Destructs After Being Sold at Auction for Over $1.3 Million

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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