In 2007, owners of a house in Bristol, which had acted as a canvas for the infamous graffiti artist Banksy, became frustrated when all potential buyers of their home seemed determined to get rid of the large mural on its side.
As well as being an original Bansky piece, the mural was significant as it was one of his earlier, free hand works – in contrast to the stencil style his is renowned for. In order to preserve the piece, the owners decided to change their strategy and bypass the housing market altogether, enlisting the help of the Red Propeller art gallery in Devon, to sell the house as a piece of art…with a free house attached.
The price of houses in the area ranged from around £160,000 to £200,000, but the gallery hoped sell the artwork for a sum far in excess of these figures. The piece attracted much celebrity interest according to the gallery but, unfortunately, the piece was vandalised before it could be sold. Despite this, the gallery and owners are working to restore the piece and have even tried to summon help from the illusive artist himself.
A similar case arose when the owners of a mobile home worth £1000 were able to put it up for auction at £500,000. They had had the good fortune of bumping into Banksy at Glastonbury Festival a decade earlier and had donated their caravan to act as yet another creative canvas for the artist.
With the housing market in its current state, and with the constant hassle caused by estate agents, perhaps it now seems more attractive to allow your property to be defaced by an up-and-coming vandal and find yourself an art dealer.