Feb 24 2013
A Banksy mural at the centre of a controversial auction has been withdrawn from sale at the 11th hour, the council campaigning for its return to the UK said.
Slave Labour, which shows a young boy hunched over a sewing machine making Union Jack bunting, appeared on the wall in Wood Green, north London, last May, just before the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
It disappeared from the side of the Poundland store last weekend and was due to be auctioned thousands of miles away in Miami on Saturday evening, with Fine Art Auctions (FAA) expecting it to reach between 500,000 US dollars (£328,063) and 700,000 US dollars (£459,288).
But Haringey Council said it had been told the sale was halted at the last minute, with no explanation given from the auction house.
Haringey Council Leader Claire Kober said: "It's a true credit to the community that their campaigning appears to have helped to stop the sale of this artwork from going ahead. We will continue to explore all options to bring back Banksy to the community where it belongs."
An FAA spokesman later confirmed that Slave Labour and Wet Dog had been removed from the sale. He said: "Although there are no legal issues whatsoever regarding the sale of lots six and seven by Banksy, Fine Art Auctions Miami convinced its consignors to withdraw these lots from the auction and take back the power of authority of these works."
New art works have cropped up on the original site where Slave Labour was sprayed.
A rat holding up a sign saying: "Why?" has been stencilled next to the empty space where the mural stood, with some speculating it could be another work by Banksy.
On Saturday a new painting, of a woman wearing a nun's habit with a red star over one of her eyes, appeared over the Slave Labour site.