Original Banksy sells for $1.45 million at Auckland auction

An original Banksy artwork sold at an auction in Auckland tonight for $1.45 million.

Banksy’s piece Keep it Real went under the hammer at the International Art Centre in Parnell. Bidding started at $500,000.

The 2003 artwork depicts a chimpanzee wearing a sandwich board inscribed with “Keep it Real”.

The centre’s director Richard Thomson had said earlier he expected the piece to sell for between $600,000 and $1m.

“Banksy is a modern-day art sensation. There is no one quite like him,” Thomson said earlier.

The elusive artist is yet to be publically identified.

“He’s an activist who is deeply concerned about social injustice and inequities and his works carry very powerful and controversial, but often subtle messages.”

Banksy works Choose your Weapon, Morons, Soup Can, Chocolate Donuts and Gangsta Rat also went under the hammer tonight.

Choose your Weapon, which depicts a hooded man walking a dog, sold for $390,000.

Banksy’s Morons is based on the historic sale of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for more than $50m at Christie’s in London in 1987.

The piece depicts the scene of an auction for a large canvas bearing the words in capitals, ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU MORONS ACTUALLY BUY THIS S**T’.

Morons sold in Auckland tonight for $213,000.

Meanwhile, the highest bid for Banksy’s Chocolate Donuts was $150,000.

Banksy’s Soup Can, a play on Andy Warhol’s infamous pop art Campbell’s Soup Cans, sold for $85,000.

Gangsta Rat depicts a rat sitting next to a boombox with the letter IPOW tagged in the background, which the art centre says is social commentary on the ubiquity of Apple products while POW is a reference to Banksy’s print publisher, Pictures on Walls.

Gangsta Rat sold for $60,000.

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