Banksy's Mobile Lovers artwork to save Bristol boys' club

Banksy's Mobile Lovers looks set to provide a financial boost to a cash-stricken youth club in the British street artist's hometown of Bristol.

Banksy has written to Dennis Stinchcombe, the leader of Broad Plain Boys' Club, stating he has the street artist's blessing to do what he feels "is right with the piece".

Banksy letter boys club
Unique: a Banksy letter of authenticity

The street art appeared on a council-owned wall last month next to the boys' club. Stinchcombe moved the piece inside the club, saving it from vandals and potential theft.

The work resides for now at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, where it was moved for safekeeping while discussions over its future took place.

The letter, which has been confirmed genuine by a Banksy representative, reads in part:

"This was meant to be a small visual gift for the area - but apparently a financial one would have been more useful.

"I don't normally admit to committing criminal damage, but seeing as it looks like charges won't be brought anytime soon you have my blessing to do what you feel is right with the piece."

Estimates range from £100,000 ($169,500) to £4m ($6.8m) for the work, if, as is expected, the club puts it up for auction.

The addition of the letter of authenticity - unique for a Banksy work - will enhance its appeal. We believe a figure of £150,000 ($254,225) to £300,000 ($508,500) is realistic.

Stinchcombe, who has worked at the club for the past 40 years, told Paul Fraser Collectibles he was set to meet with the club's board to discuss their next move, adding he was determined to get as much as possible for the work - the club needs more than £100,000 ($169,500) to survive.

Bristol mayor George Ferguson had earlier explained that proceeds from the auction would benefit both the club and youth projects throughout Bristol.

We will bring you fresh developments right here.

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