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Bonhams to hold street-art auction in Los Angeles

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It has become an art-world axiom that street art is big business. But how much is a piece of wall graffiti by a big-name talent worth exactly?

Bonhams has announced that it will hold an auction in Los Angeles featuring more than 80 works by some of the most prominent names in urban art, including Banksy, Blek le Rat, Shepard Fairey, KAWS, Revok, Speedy Graphito, Space Invader, Saber and more. 

The auction, set for Oct. 29, is being billed by Bonhams as the first of its type to be held in the U.S. Banksy is the big draw in the sale, as he was at Bonhams' street-art auction in London earlier this year.

One of the items expected to fetch the most money is a Banksy canvas titled "Gangsta Rat," which depicts a large rodent wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap and a chain necklace.

Bonhams states in its catalogue for the show that the 2006 work is expected to bring in $100,000 to $150,000. A work by the British street artist titled "Paparazzi Rat," featuring a rodent wielding a camera, is set at a similar price range.

"Senor Suerte," a 1979 piece by the pioneering East L.A. artist Chaz Boroquez, is expected to draw $40,000 to $60,000, according to the auction house. The work, which was shown in the "Art in the Streets" exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2011, depicts a skeleton wearing a large-brimmed hat.

A 2007 canvas by Fairey titled "Panther Power" could bring in $60,000 to $80,000. The art is inspired by the Black Panther Party. A 1999 KAWS work that parodies a Calvin Klein ad featuring Christy Turlington is estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.

Some of the artwork on sale is more affordable. A mosaic tilework by Space Invader (who is also known as just "Invader") is estimated at $6,000 to $8,000.  A screenprint by D*Face that parodies Che Guevara is expected to bring $4,000 to $6,000.

Bonhams is holding a preview of the art for four days starting Oct. 26.

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