Back in February, the art world was in an uproar over the potential sale of two Banksy murals. One, titled Slave Labour, had been removed from the wall of a shop in London, and was expected to draw as much as $700,000 at auction.
But the dealer selling the works, Fine Art Auctions Miami, removed the murals from its auction at the last second. Now, Slave Labour is scheduled to be sold in London -- and the drama surrounding the work has only served to increase its value.
London's Sincura Group sold the mural Sunday night, the BBC reports. The final sale price has not yet been announced, but the minimum bid was £900,000, or about $1.3 million.
UPDATE: The New York Times reports that the mural was sold for $1.1 million.
The same drama that played out in Miami just a few months ago is now being revived closer to Slave Labour's original home, a Poundland store in the north London neighborhood of Wood Green. Sincura Group director Tony Baxter claims the sale of the piece is entirely legal, while local politicians like MP Lynne Featherstone are representing the angry residents of the neighborhood from which the piece disappeared.
"I make this direct plea to the owners of the Banksy piece: You have this one last chance to do the right thing," Featherstone told the BBC. "You have deprived a community of an asset that was given to us for free and greatly enhanced an area that needed it. I call on you, and your consciences, to pull the piece from both potential sales and return it to its rightful place."
Bizarrely, six copies of Slave Labour appeared at the work's original site on Saturday night, The Sun reports. One was confiscated by police, while the other five were taken by unknown parties. Locals speculated that Banksy made and distributed the copies in an attempt to devalue the original.
Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.
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