The identity of notoriously anonymous street artist Banksy could finally come to light, via eBay of all places. In an auction that at press time was unlisted, someone has been attempting to sell a piece of paper allegedly revealing the name of the British underground graffiti artist for $1 million.
Banksy has become famous for his (or her) stenciled renderings that have appeared across cityscapes worldwide. Even when working for established bodies, like when the artist was commissioned to create an opening scene for an episode of The Simpsons, Banksy relies on representatives to communicate with higher-ups and has been able to remain shrouded in mystery. The 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop primarily focused on Banksy’s antics and art, and even still the artist has been able to retain his or her anonymity. So it’s difficult to believe that a piece of paper being sold over eBay could ultimately out Banksy.
The seller, going by the alias “Jaybuysthings,” claims that he’s been able to discover Banksy’s identity by matching prices and dates of his sold work to tax returns. The now unlisted eBay entry read “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.” He originally listed the piece of paper at $3,000 on January 12, and it quickly skyrocketed.
Sometime late last night or early this morning, the eBay auction was pulled. Now, user “electricf331” has begun an auction selling the same item for “a fraction of the cost.” Any legitimacy this sale originally had (and it must have if bidders were willing to pledge $1 million) is swiftly slipping away.
Still, “electricf331” has a clean eBay record. He’s offering Banksy’s identify for $2,500 (or you can buy it now for $4,000), and claims he is “very connected in the art scene” and “holding in my hand the tangible notecard with the name everyones [sic] so crazy to figure out.”
Not to be too cynical, but it’s difficult to dismiss the fact that Exit Through the Gift Shop just received a BAFTA nomination and has received significant Oscar hype. Just saying.