Is Banksy’s Identity for Sale on Ebay?


“If you win this auction I will mail you a piece of paper revealing the true identity of “Banksy”: This according to Ebay seller daigroandujo, who leaves us public folk only six more days to elbow our way to the prize of an English man’s privacy. Perhaps the morning trudge from bed to bathroom will make a detour to the medicine cabinet for a healthy dose of skepticism?

Ebay users claiming to know the true identity of the Bristol-born(?) graffiti artist put his name up for sale Tuesday morning. Thirty-eight bids and over $1 million later, Ebay removed the auction, supposedly because the “product” was an “intangible” good. A second seller has again put Banksy’s identity on the market, but is the anonymous artist just having a laugh?

Blackbook reported that Ebay seller Jaybuysthings posted an auction, item 260720844294, at 7:22AM PDT Tuesday.

“I have uncovered [Banksy’s] identity by matching up the prices of his sold pieces to corresponding tax records. I will reveal no more details… I give you 100% assurance that it is most certainly the full name of the street artist known as ‘Banksy,'” the seller wrote, according to Mashable.

That auction has since been removed, but daigroandujo wasted little time in getting another up later in the day, with much the same information, or lack thereof, as the first. Two other copycat auctions are also on the site.

Let’s look at the facts, shall we?

  • Banksy’s work is sold by galleries secondhand, and not from the artist himself (or herself). His website states “Banksy neither produces or profits from the sale of greeting cards, mugs or photo canvases of his work. He is not represented by any of the commercial galleries that sell his paintings second hand.”
  • The location of the item in Jaybuysthings’ first auction was Brooklyn, NY.
  • The seller would have needed copies of the real Banksy’s tax records to compare to the public prices of his paintings. Barring a stunning betrayal by the artist’s financial adviser, or someone who knows him well, this seems unlikely.
  • A joke like this would not be out of form for Banksy, whose film Exit Through the Gift Shop was described as “hilarious exposé on the gullibility of the masses who embrace manufactured creative personas.”

Whether this item is legit or not, what is clear is that Banksy is still very good at getting people to care about what he does, especially when his work is to douse our cultural wildfires.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 18, 2011

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