Banksy ‘Love Rat’ screenprint that was tipped to sell above reserve price gets NO successful bids

A Banksy artwork failed to sell at auction today after going under the hammer at a Newcastle auction house.

A screenprint of his iconic ‘Love Rat’ was expected to sell between £30,000 and £50,000 – but the piece did not even meet the lower reserve price.

Auctioneers at Anderson and Garland said the ‘sky was the limit’ for the Bristol street artist’s sought-after print.

They sold ‘Merrivale Stable’ by the anonymous street artist in January for a record breaking £1million earlier this year.

The ‘Love Rat’ piece, originally created in Liverpool in 2004, is one of 600 prints which had not been signed by the anonymous street artist, with 150 also in circulation which are signed.

The screenprint of the Bristol artist’s original graffiti in Liverpool failed to reach the reserve auction price at the auction house in Newcastle

Auctioneers initially said the 'sky is the limit' for the sought-after print which is numbered 335 out of 600 other prints.  Pictured: Banksy's 2004 screenprint 'Love Rat' at a 2018 exhibition of the British street artist in Milan

Auctioneers initially said the ‘sky is the limit’ for the sought-after print which is numbered 335 out of 600 other prints. Pictured: Banksy’s 2004 screenprint ‘Love Rat’ at a 2018 exhibition of the British street artist in Milan

An unsigned ‘Love Rat’ print went for £69,680 when put up for auction by Forum in New York, in May last year.

A signed version of the same print received was £137,500 when put up for sale by the Tate Ward Auction in 2020.

The print which went on sale today was numbered 335/600, and was part of The Modern Art and Design Auction.

A spokeswoman for the auction house confirmed to MailOnline that they were still considering a number of offers on the piece.

Alongside the screenprint, ten smaller Banksy-related lots were available as part of the auction.

They included items collected from a temporary art project organized by the artist in the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare, in 2015, as a take on Disneyland.

A set of two Banksy prints on cardboard also sold above the expected price of £250, and were purchased for £360.

They included items collected from a temporary art project organized by the artist in the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare, in 2015, as a take on Disneyland.

In total the four lots of the ‘Dismaland’ collection sold for a total of £525, with the majority selling for over the lowest guide price.

It is not the first time that a piece of art by the graffiti artist has failed to sell when put up for auction.

His ‘Turbozone Truck (Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge)’, which he created before he was famous, was tipped to sell for between £1million and £1.5million.

The 17-tonne circus lorry was authenticated by the artist, and did not meet the reserve price.

Bonham’s, who were auctioning the piece, said at the time that they were considering a number of offers which had been made after the sale.

In December 2017 three pieces of a 40-strong Banksy lot at Forum in New York didn’t sell, with another ‘Love Rat’ print also failing to reach the price guide.

‘Choose your Weapon’, expected to fetch upwards of £42,000, ‘As did I Fought the Law’, estimated at £4,000-£6,500 and ‘Watchtower’, estimated at £32,000-£49,000, were all unable to find a buyer .

His 'Turbozone Truck (Laugh now but one day we'll be in charge)'failed to reach its estimated auction price of £1million when it went under the hammer in 2019

His ‘Turbozone Truck (Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge)’failed to reach its estimated auction price of £1million when it went under the hammer in 2019

Banksy's 'Merrivale Stable' piece was sold for a huge £1million earlier this year by the same auction house.  A selection of other items by the artist were also on sale today

Banksy’s ‘Merrivale Stable’ piece was sold for a huge £1million earlier this year by the same auction house. A selection of other items by the artist were also on sale today

Speaking before the auction Julian Thomson, managing director of Anderson & Garland, said: ‘This exciting piece carries an estimated price of £30,000 – £50,000, however as one of the most sought after and iconic of Banksy’s designs, the sky really is the limit

‘Following the successful launch of our Urban Art Department earlier this year, and the fantastic result achieved with the sale of Banksy’s Merrivale Stable in January, we’ve really put out name on the map with Urban Art collectors.’

Banksy’s identity has never been confirmed with critics saying his art, however skillfully executed, should be classed as vandalism.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie once commissioned him to create a mural for their private gallery at their estate in the south of France.

The artist famously sold his ‘Girl With Balloon’ in London in 2018, but immediately after the conclusion of the auction it partially shredded itself.

The canvas was passed through a secret shredder hidden in the large Victorian-style frame, leaving the bottom half in tatters and only a solitary red balloon left on a white background in the frame.

The painting, re-titled Love Is In The Bin after the shredding, sold for £1.1million at the original auction.

But when it was put up for sale again at Sotheby’s last year it resold for £18.6million, a record for the artist at auction.

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