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Vandalized Banksy piece worth up to $620,000 is whitewashed over

July 06, 2012|By Jamie Wetherbe
  • A Banksy piece in London was vandalized by graffiti crew Team Robbo.
A Banksy piece in London was vandalized by graffiti crew Team Robbo. ( )

A defaced stencil by the elusive street artist known as Banksy -- which might have quadrupled in value after being vandalized -- has been cleared from a London neighborhood.

The artwork of a boy blowing bubbles that spell out the name “TOX,” a prolific tagger jailed last year for his handiwork, appeared last August on a wall along Jeffrey’s Street in the city’s northwest neighborhood of Camden Town.

The wall was later smeared with black paint as part of an ongoing turf war in Camden between Banksy and the graffiti crew known as Team Robbo.

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Apparently, this added value: Urban art dealer John Brandler said the rival tagging increased the estimated price of the piece from $155,000 to as much as $620,000.

"It carries marks of at least two artists, so becomes more valuable," he recently told London 24.

Bhupen Raja, who owns the house where the Banksy piece was painted, spent more than $4,600 to protect the work with a screen and a surveillance camera (which the vandals eluded).

The Camden Council, however, said the area had become "unsightly" and the piece wasn't worth saving. Raja was ordered to remove the protective screen in June for painting.

Raja said he planned to appeal the decision, but had a change of heart after learning it would cost an estimated $1,500 in legal fees.

“I thought, they’re just going to get good lawyers and then it will all be worth nothing, and they’ll win anyway," he told the Camden New Journal. "So on Thursday I got someone to take [the screen] down."

The wall has since been whitewashed by the city.


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