Bidding for Banksy: $150K (and rising) for street artist’s latest piece

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According to the elusive artist’s website, he has renamed the piece “The banality of the banality of evil.”

NEW YORK (PIX11) – And they’re off!  Banksy’s latest piece — a retouched thrift shop painting — is already being auctioned off and the bidding has begun, with one person putting up the whopping $74,000 minimum bid within minutes.

Just a day after Banksy made a Sandy victim a happy man by spray-painting a potential windfall on the side of his Coney Island building, the street artist unveiled his latest piece Tuesday at Housing Works, a thrift shop on 23rd Street in Manhattan.

The painting, originally a picturesque autumn scene, now has a Nazi officer sitting on a lone wooden bench, staring out at the water, thanks to Banksy, who donated it back to Housing Works after he finished.  “The painting was donated anonymously at the shop today,” Housing Works Director of Public Relations Rebecca Edmondson told PIX11.  “Shortly after our team was contacted to authenticate.”

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Housing Works has already put the oil painting up for auction with a starting bid of $74,000.

According to his website, the canvas is a “A thrift store painting vandalised (sic) then re-donated to the thrift store.”  The initial (Nazi-free) piece was done by a painter named K. Sager, and now bears both his signature in the bottom left corner, and Banksy’s added below it.  The manager of the store confirmed to the Gothamist that the oil painting sold for $50 roughly two months  earlier, then “it just reappeared.  It’s been there since this morning, no one noticed it.”

Housing Works, an organization committed to “fighting to end AIDS and homelessness,” has already put the piece up for auction with the starting bid of $74,000.

Minutes after the auction began, a bidding war quickly started.  As of 7:55 p.m. the leading bid was at $150,200.

“100% of the proceeds from the auction will go towards Housing Works lifesaving services for people living with and effected by HIV/AIDS including housing, medical care, job training, legal services, and case management,” Edmondson told PIX11.

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