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Banksy’s publicist did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The anonymous street artist, who refuses to reveal his real name, began his career spray-painting buildings and bridges in his home city of Bristol in southwest England. His often satirical images include two policemen kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words “Laugh now, but one day I’ll be in charge.”

Original Banksy works now sell for up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and the artist has become an international celebrity. He has created sequences for “The Simpsons” and directed an Academy Award-nominated documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”

His works are still sometimes obliterated by zealous local officials, street cleaners or _ as in this case _ taken off buildings along with a chunk of wall for private sale.

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Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless