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Banksy artwork found on garage in Wales sold for six-figure sum

Banksy artwork found on garage in Wales sold for six-figure sum

A Banksy artwork that appeared on a nondescript garage in a Welsh town has been sold to a dealer for a six-figure sum. The garage owner, Ian Lewis, has sold the piece, Seasons Greetings, to the Essex-based Banksy expert John Brandler but it will stay in Port Talbot, at least for the time being. Lewis,…

A Banksy artwork that appeared on a nondescript garage in a Welsh town has been sold to a dealer for a six-figure sum.

The garage owner, Ian Lewis, has sold the piece, Seasons Greetings, to the Essex-based Banksy expert John Brandler but it will stay in Port Talbot, at least for the time being.

Lewis, a steelworker, who has found it hard to sleep after unexpectedly becoming the owner of a precious piece of art, is said to be hugely relieved.

An estimated 20,000 people are thought to have visited his garage since it appeared just before Christmas and round-the-clock security has had to be introduced to protect the artwork. It created a cottage industry in souvenirs – mugs, coasters, keyrings – carrying the image of the work.

Man standing in front of a Banksy

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Ian Lewis standing in front of the work, painted on his garage. Photograph: Adam Hale/PA

Brandler said Season’s Greetings would stay in Port Talbot for a minimum of two to three years but might be moved into the town centre. He said Lewis had turned down higher offers to keep the work in the town.

Speaking before the sale was confirmed, Brandler said: “It should bring a lot of tourism to Port Talbot, which isn’t the No 1 holiday destination on most people’s bucket lists.”

The Banksy appeared just before Christmas in Taibach, close to the Tata steelworks. From one angle, it shows a child in a bobble hat with a sled, apparently enjoying a snow shower and trying to catch the flakes on their tongue. But from another, it becomes clear that what is falling on the child is a shower of ash.

Banksy confirmed the work was his by releasing a video of the mural accompanied by the Christmas song Little Snowflake. The camera rises above the garage and shows Port Talbot’s rooftops and the billowing chimneys of the steelworks and other industrial buildings.

Lewis was amazed when visitors began arriving in their droves and realised he would have to find a way of protecting the piece. A local operatic company paid for it to be shielded in plastic and the actor, Michael Sheen, who went to college in Port Talbot, stepped in to pay for security.

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