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First auction dedicated to London street art

Privately-owned British auction house Bonhams organised its first sale dedicated solely to street art on Tuesday, with works by American artist Keith Haring and Banksy, who anonymously paints on London's walls.

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"Laugh Now", a 2002 painting by Banksy that stretches about six metres (19.7 feet) in length featuring monkeys wearing sandwich boards which read "Laugh now, but one day we'll be in charge", sold for 228,000 pounds (280,000 euros, 410,000 dollars), above its pre-sale estimate of up to 200,000 pounds.

Another highlight of the auction was "Kate Moss", a portrait by Banksy of the British supermodel in the style of Andy Warhol's famous Marilyn Monroe paintings, which sold on Tuesday for 96,000 pounds, more than three times expectations.

"Banksy has arrived in Bond Street," a spokesman for Bonhams told AFP, referring to the posh road where London's auction houses are based, adding that the artist's work had gone into the mainstream.

"The result is very satisfying," he said. Bonhams is planning more auctions of urban art in the future, he added.

Last month, a wall painted on by Banksy, depicting a classical-looking artist in mostly-grey garb, sold on Internet auction website eBay for 208,100 pounds.

Banksy, originally from Bristol, western England, has attracted a global following with his graffiti paintings on the walls of London buildings, and his work has been bought by actress Angelina Jolie and singer Christina Aguilera, among others.
 

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