In what smells like a colossal prank, an eBay seller is claiming to have uncovered the UK street artist Banksy's identity and is auctioning it off for a hefty sum. What started as a $3,000 bid has amounted to almost a million bucks for a piece of paper containing Banksy's legal name. The artist/activist has remained largely an underground phenomenon until his film 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' -- "the world's first street art disaster movie" -- which fascinated audiences because of its hoax angle (school yourself on that bit over here).
Seller jaybuysthings writes in his auction listing (which has since been removed for a second time): "I have uncovered [Banksy's] identity by matching up the prices of his sold pieces to corresponding tax records. 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." Mashable indicates that jaybuysthings' record with the online broker dates back to 2001 and is "fairly sparse but mostly positive." Banksy's website indicates that he doesn't maintain representation with all the commercial/gallery affiliates selling his work, which leaves a big question mark hanging over the supposed tax records.
The auction was supposed to close Wednesday evening and may reveal that the artist himself is behind all this as some kind of social statement -- not surprising. Several people have claimed to know Banksy's identity throughout the years, but nothing has been officially confirmed. Would knowing who he is ruin the allure of his work, or are you dying to know who's been behind these subversive stenciled statements?