Kray brothers' prison artworks realise $26,500 at UK sale

A selection of 40 artworks produced by the notorious Kray brothers achieved strong results yesterday (July 11), despite dividing the opinions of the bidders present.

Kray Twins Ronnie Warriors Painting brothers
A surreal depiction of the two brothers which "kept us so strong"

The Norwich, UK auction also featured a selection of letters and ephemera which accompanied the paintings as proof of their authenticity. Leading bids was a 1994 painting by Ronnie Kray entitled Warriors - a surreal depiction of two samurai crossing swords - believed to portray the twins in their own view. It sold for £820, drawing close to its high estimate of £1,000.

In the accompanying letter, Reggie states: "That painting was our inspiration that kept us so strong," further boosting the work's value to collectors.

"It was interesting to see people's attitudes to the work. Some people said they would never have the images in their house, but others were clearly keen to do so - but if we all liked the same thing it would be a very boring world," art consultant Andrew Gibb told the BBC.

In total, the paintings, which were taken from two seperate collections, realised £17,000 - a 13.3% increase on the £15,000 expected.

The items on offer represented a transition from the paintings that appeared in a May 30 auction of Kray memorabilia, which were simple, bordering on childish depictions of countryside scenes. The works in yesterday's auction, created later into the pair's prison sentence, were far more developed, drawing inspiration from a range of well-known artists.

Until July 24, collectors will have the chance to bid on the secret hoard of Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese, following a raid on his house in 2010. A spectacular piece of gangster memorabilia will also be presented in the form of Al Capone's armoured Cadillac, which is due to sell on July 28.

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