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Missing Banksy set to fetch fortune
A Banksy mural that was removed from the side of a Poundland shop in mysterious circumstances could reach more than £450,000 when it is auctioned.
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.
But the mural by arguably the world's most famous graffiti artist disappeared last weekend and is now being sold thousands of miles away in Miami, despite pleas from people back in Wood Green upset by its disappearance.
Fine Art Auctions (FAA) featured the art work on the front page of their website ahead of their Modern, Contemporary and Street Art sale. They expect Slave Labour to reach between $500,000 (£328,063) and $700,000 (£459,288) at auction.
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.
The disappearance of the Banksy prompted Haringey Council to launch a campaign to bring it back to the UK. The council has called on the Arts Council and Culture Secretary Maria Miller to intervene. So far however, they have not succeeded in halting the auction.
Councillor Alan Strickland said: "The community feels that this art work was given to it for free, and that it should be kept in Haringey where it belongs, not sold for a fast buck.
"This is an area that was rocked by riots less than a year before this mural was painted, and for many in the community the painting has become a real symbol of local pride."
The council is investigating how the removal of the mural occurred.
Council leader Claire Kober said they were trying to "explore all avenues" before the sale and had also appealed to Mayor of Miami Tomás Regalado to help.