'Missing' Banksy art Slave Labor (Bunting Boy) on auction in Miami for $500,000

A woman looks at an artwork attributed to Banksy under a plastic cover on May 17, 2012 in London, England. The stenciled image depicts a poor child making Union Jack flags on a sewing machine and is located on the wall of a Poundland discount shop in the Wood Green area of north London.
Credit: Peter Macdiarmid

Maybe you thought it was priceless, but the going price for street cred in Miami is actually $500,000.

That’s how much Fine Art Auctions Miami expects its most debated work ever will sell for this Saturday. The piece is by famed street artist Banksy and dubbed “Slave Labor (Bunting Boy).”

Slave Labor’s anonymous owner removed the graffiti from the side of a supermarket in London recently, and it turned up at the Miami auction house with the hefty price tag.

It’s 48 by 60 inches and features a small boy kneeling over a sewing machine producing Union Jack flags. It has an Industrial Revolution quality and appeared outside a Poundland shop in north London last year.

Some have called it a typical Banksy take on the Queen’s 60th anniversary ruling England.

“The Banksy created a huge amount of excitement when it first appeared, and residents are understandably shocked and angry that it has been removed for private sale,” town councilor Alan Strickland told The Associated Press.

“The community feels that this artwork was given to it for free, and that it should be kept in Haringey where it belongs not sold for a fast buck.”

Poundland – a British discount shop similar to a dollar store – said it only rents the building and had nothing to do with the work’s removal.

More from GlobalPost: Early Banksy work painted over by unwitting tenant

The owner of the art house said he acquired it legally, but wouldn’t divulge how.

“FAAM has done all the necessary due diligence about the ownership of the work,” a statement from owner Frederic Thut said, according to the Miami Herald.

“Unfortunately, we are not able to provide you with any information by law and contract about any details of this consignment. We are more than happy to do that if you can prove that the works were acquired and removed (illegally).”

It meant so much to the area – one of the hardest hit during the London riots in 2011 – that local government appealed to the British Arts Council for help.

However, the group can only prevent the sale of important pieces of art that are more than 50 years old, BBC reported.

[View the story "What's the going price for street cred in Miami?" on Storify]

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