Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 12:48 UK

Banksy's artworks fail to shift

Fungle Junk
Fungle Junk was painted during a festival in Cornwall nine years ago

A number of works by guerrilla artist Banksy have failed to sell at a modern art auction in London.

Fungle Junk - a mural painted on the side of a van - was expected to make 150,000 but was withdrawn after a bid of half that price was made.

A spokesman for auctioneer Lyon and Turnbull said the artist's refusal to authenticate the works was to blame.

The modern art sale's "disappointing" outcome was also put down to the current economic climate.

Some 80% of the lots at the auction failed to sale, according to Ben Hanly, Lyon and Turnbull's contemporary art specialist.

'Extreme caution'

A self-portrait of Kate Moss, inscribed in blood by her former boyfriend Pete Doherty, eventually made less than its expected 40,000.

Works by other leading artists including Sam Taylor-Wood were not sold.

Enigmatic artist Banksy refused to authenticate his five works after setting up an organisation, Pest Control, to verify his art after a series of fakes were attributed to him.

Gangsta Rat by Banksy
Gangsta Rat was expected to make up to 30,000, but was unsold

He has also expressed a dislike for his street art being removed from its original setting.

But the auction house said it was sure the work was genuine and it decided to go ahead without official verification.

Of other main lots by Banksy, only Bomb Middle England sold for 13,000, while a number of prints were auctioned off for relatively small amounts.

On its website, Pest Control said that since its creation in January, 89 street pieces and 137 screen prints attributed to Banksy had turned out to be fake.

"Pest Control does not authenticate street pieces because Banksy prefers street work to remain in situ and building owners tend to become irate when their doors go missing because of a stencil," it said.

"He would encourage anyone wanting to purchase one of his images to do so with extreme caution, but does point out that many copies are superior in quality to the originals."

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