PARIS: The first auction house to sell prints by Banksy since THAT auction two weeks ago does not anticipate another stunt like the one that shredded half a picture moments after the hammer fell. But, hey, if something were to happen? Great!
"Are we expecting it? Not really. Perhaps we are hoping for it," said auctioneer Arnaud Oliveux of Artcurial auction house in Paris, which is selling three Banksy prints next week. "I would love it if something happens."
The British artist has done more to cultivate his mystique in the two weeks since a print of one of his best known works, "Girl With a Balloon", slid half way through a shredder embedded in its frame moments after it was sold at Sotheby's in London.
Banksy released a new video this week that suggested the partial-destruction was a malfunction: it showed an identical print in the same frame being entirely shredded, with the caption "in rehearsals it worked every time".
Oliveux said if Banksy was planning another stunt for the next auction, it probably wouldn't involve a secret shredder.
"Banksy never repeats himself. Here, you see the frame, there's nothing at all hidden in the structure. But perhaps we could imagine a different stunt."
The auction house said it cannot predict how high the bidding will go for its three prints, but it expects the extra attention from Banksy's last stunt will have an impact on prices. All the seats are taken at the auction and the international media are showing up.
Bidding on a print of "Stop and Search", depicting Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" being searched by a policeman, starts at just 30,000 euros (US$35,000), a bargain compared to the million pounds "Girl With a Balloon" fetched moments before it self-destructed.
(US$1 = 0.8700 euros)
(Reporting by Michaela Cabrera; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Peter Graff)