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Mobile Lovers valued at $670.000

June 4, 2014
Ana Bambic Kostov is an art historian with passion for contemporary art.

A mural by the famous street artist will, presumably soon, be sold at auction, helping fund a British boys club that has been thirsty for funding for a while. In this case – selling Banksy cannot be anything but totally OK.

The work in question is Mobile Lovers, a insightful depiction of a couple embracing each other passionately, while each of them is actually not mentally present in the situation, while gazing at their mobile phone screens. Their faces are lit by the soft light of the gadget, drawing the focus onto the real topic of the overall monochromatic piece. This piece was appraised at $670,000 on the Antiques Roadshow TV program recently, brought to the show by the officials from the Broad Plain Boys’ Club from Bristol. The perk about the work is that the current owners are in possession of a letter from Banksy himself, stating they are allowed to keep the mural.

Banksy, Mobile Lovers (2014)
Banksy, Mobile Lovers (2014)

Mobile Lovers of Bristol

Mobile Lovers were seen on the wall very recently, in April, and they have been take down from the youth club side shortly after. Boys’ club notified the public they removed the work intentionally in order to prevent any vandalism or other damage that could be done to it, as was reported by the artnet. Naturally, the club was instantly subject to criticism and the word was they were kidnapping the piece, since, according to their note, everybody was welcome to come and see the piece, but a small donation would be asked of the visitors. Finally, the letter they received from Banksy, supported by the official statement of the artist’s spokesperson, resolved any issues about the mural ownership concerning the said Bristol club.

Banksy, Mobile Lovers (2014)
Banksy, Mobile Lovers (2014)

Broad Plain Boys’ Club

The Boys’ club leader Dennis Stinchcombe did state he has been receiving offers, as high as $1.7 million for the piece since the ownership was resolved by the Banksy note. He also said his thoughts were revolving around selling the work at an auction, but he was worried about choosing the right auction house, the one that would be “respectful of the work”. He is hoping this important sale will fix their financial problems and set the club on the right track financially for the coming period of a few years.

The Boys’ Club manager did hope to not draw such great attention when he brought the Banksy mural piece to the Antiques Roadshow BBC filming, which occurred at Ashton Court in Bristol on May 29, 2014. However, he miscalculated, since the large mural piece with the unique and recognizable style immediately drew eyes of the camera and the crowd alike.

In the end, the guess is that Mobile Lovers mural will end up at auction, but as the estimate is so high, the final price is still to be witnessed. It is known that the record price of a Banksy piece was reached in 2008 for the Keep It Spotless work from 2007, sold at Sotheby’s New York, high above its original estimate of $250/300.000. Mobile Lovers will follow the path of over eleven hundred Banksy’s works sold at auction to this day.

Banksy, Mobile Lovers (2014)
Banksy, Mobile Lovers (2014)