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Banksy Artwork Spy Booth Valued at Million Pounds is Now Worth Nothing

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March 28, 2016
Web journalist, coffee junkie and art fanatic. Cares about the environment, writes for Widewalls. Alias of Milica Jovic

Soon after it was painted on the wall of a house in Fairview Road, Cheltenham, England, Banksy’s masterpiece Spy Booth drew the attention of local residents and art experts alike. Almost immediately, Robin Barton, an expert in the work of the famous British artist estimated the value of the piece at one million pounds. Unfortunately, it also drew the attention of vandals and the intricate artwork has been attacked several times. Due to the repeated attacks and a poor state of the wall where it was painted, instead of seeing a rise of the monetary worth of the celebrated mural, the value of the piece has plummeted – to nothing. Art dealer specialized in the anonymous artist’s works that once appraised it at one million pounds now claims that the artwork is worthless due to its “dilapidated state”.

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Banksy, portrait

Since Banksy Created the Spy Booth it was Vandalized Twice

Since it was created in 2014, Spy Booth, art piece by the prominent artist has caused a lot of controversies. First, in April 2014, the art piece was vandalized for the first time when vandals used white paint to cover the faces of the spies on the mural. Luckily, white paint was quickly removed and the artwork recovered. Then, the UK property legislation and the determination of the local residents saved the artwork from being sold to a London art gallery in July 2014. Several months later, vandals attacked the spies again when the entire mural was tagged with red and silver paint.

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Banksy’s  Spy Booth Was Tagged by Vandals

From Million to Zero

When the house in Fairview Road, Cheltenham, where the piece was created, went up for sale, property owner David Possee naturally turned to a Banksy expert for the appraisal of the piece. To his surprise,  Robin Barton, an art expert who initially valued the piece at over one million pounds now believes that the mural is worth – nothing. “It is my professional opinion that the dilapidated state of the mural and the listed status of the flank wall that the work has been applied to has resulted in the work having no viable commercial value.” – Robin Barton stated in his report. Apparently, repeated vandal attacks and the natural process of deterioration have devastated the wall significantly and damaged the artwork beyond repair.

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Art Expert Says that Banksy’s Artwork is Beyond Repair, photo via Bristol Post

What will Happen to the Spy Booth?

Street artwork that depicts three spies listening on the conversation inside of a phone booth appeared soon after the Edward Snowden scandal who blew the whistle on the GCHQ, the National Security agency and the numerous global surveillance programs. Created in humorous and thought-provoking manner, the artwork by Banksy was immediately marked as a masterpiece and was praised by the community as a unique gift and a local attraction. Maybe that’s why both the owner and the local community aren’t ready to give up on the artwork just yet. Despite the unfavorable appraisal, the owner of the house in Fairview Road, David Possee plans to renovate the property and restore the piece. And he has two options. “The first is to renovate the property myself and the second is to offer it to local businessman Hekmat Kaveh, who has made me an offer to purchase the property and restore the Banksy for the benefit of Cheltenham,” David Possee stated for Bristol Post. Who knows if he succeeds in his intention, maybe Spy Booth will recover its million pound value once again.

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Featured image: Banksy – Spy Booth, 2014. Photograph by Ben Birchall/PA. All images used for illustrative purposes only.