A youth club given a Banksy has been offered more than £1MILLION for the piece – because it also comes with a rare letter from the artist.
The Bristol youth club became involved in a row with the local council after removing the artwork put on a public wall near their base.
Banksy’s piece, called Mobile Lovers, was then removed from the Broad Plan Boys’ Club and put on display in Bristol Museum.
But the artist waded into the argument by writing a letter to Dennis Stinchcombe, the club’s owner, giving him his “blessing” to do what he felt was right with the art.
The owner now says he has had offers in the region of £1 million for the piece – with bidders all around the world getting involved.
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Dennis Stinchcombe said: “We have had big offers from as far away as Beverly Hills.
“But I am concerned about choosing an appropriate auctioneer and one which is respectful of the work.
“I seen Banksy be critical of some of these auctions for the types of his art they sell so you have to be sensitive.
“For now it is in the gallery for everyone to see but we are hoping to pin down an auctioneer this week some time.
“Some of the offers we have had have been in excess of £1 million and the letter we have from Banksy is also thought to be very rare.
“It’s all great news for the club and we hope to sell it for as much as possible to settle our finances and secure our future over the next few years at least.”
The painting was first discovered at the club in St Jude’s, Bristol, on April 15 after Banksy posted a picture of the new design on his website.
Just hours later it was crowbarred off the wall by staff, who began to charge people to come and see it.
The cash-strapped youth group insisted Banksy wanted them to have it and planned to sell the work to fund the future of the club.
Bristol City Council said it was not “100 per cent sure of the ownership” of the wall the artwork was attached to, and just days later it was removed and taken away.
It was put on display at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery while its ownership was decided and more than 10,000 people viewed it over the Easter weekend alone.
But on May 6 Mr Stinchcombe found a letter – giving the cash-strapped boys club permission to sell it.
Then the following day Bristol’s elected Mayor George Ferguson received a similar letter from Banksy confirming it was genuine.
It is thought the letter from the artist has helped significantly increase the value of the piece which was initially estimated to be worth up to #400,000.