Banksy’s world famous ‘Kissing Coppers’ mural sold for $575,000 (£345,000) at an auction in Miami this week. The artwork first appeared on the side of the Prince Albert in 2004, becoming a Brighton tourist attraction and a target for vandals and street art rivals. The piece on display under Perspex today (dwarfed by the Albert’s subsequent wall mural) is a facsimile stencil, made after the original was transferred onto canvas by art restoration specialists in 2008. SOURCE spoke to the Albert’s owner Chris Steward, who told us what his plans are when the pub receives its cut of the sale.
Have you seen any money from selling the Banksy yet?
Oh no, I’ve not seen anything yet. We don’t get $575,000, though. I think we got $400,000 for it.
Had it already been sold to a third party then?
Yeah, somebody bought and then re-sold it. They’ve made $175,000 out of just buying it.
What are you going to put your money into when it arrives?
General upkeep of the place. We’ve done a lot of the work here that we needed to do but it’s left us quite skint, so it would be nice to get that money back in the bank. We also want to buy a new digital mixing desk in time for The Great Escape. And for some of the people that have been here all the way through, I’d like to give them a grand each. It really doesn’t meant a lot to us though. It got sprayed over so many times and we took care of it, and then somebody else did it again. I thought, well, what’s happening with this? Maybe people don’t like it or something. In fact, we did think about painting over it ourselves, like, “It was nice while it lasted.” But then these people came along and said we can save this. It was really thin when they took it off the wall, it was almost unbelievably ruined.
Did you have to pay them to remove it?
No, no. They’ve taken half of whatever it sold for. They paid for all the insurance, sending it to America and everything, so I’ve got $200,000, they’ve got $200,000.
Did having a Banksy inspire the rest of the pub’s mural?
I suppose it did start if off. We did George Best, then we did John Peel and then we decided to do everything else. Even that cost £7,500, so it’s a lot of money gone into the pub. And it’s great, I love it. We’ve just got to get our money now.