A Banksy statue titled, ‘The Drinker’ is predicted to fetch the highest price at a Sotheby's auction on Tuesday, November 19. The work, described by the auction house as his "most ambitious sculptural endeavors to date," has been embroiled in an ongoing feud that has no doubt contributed to its massive estimated sale price.
‘The Drinker,’ a nod to Rodin's 'The Thinker' was first erected in 2004 in a small square in London. As with most of Banksy's work, it went up without planning permission.
It was from here that the statue was "kidnapped" by Art Kieda leader, Andy Link (aka AK47). According to Sotheby's, the work was retrieved two years later from Link's lockup "in an anonymous heist which left AK47 with nothing but the abandoned traffic cone from atop The Drinker’s head."
The statue is now listed for auction with an estimated sale price of £750,000 to £1m (approximately $1.29 million), making it the most expensive item in the sale.
According to Guardian reports, Link is claiming ownership of the work. AK47 argued that the statue was technically abandoned and that he had registered it with police. Furthermore, Banksy hadn't asked it back. “I did the right thing, and reported it to the police,” he said, “I do not understand how Sotheby's can sell this when I have such proof.”