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Street artist Banksy to be unmasked via eBay auction?

A man looks at a surprise exhibit by the underground guerrilla artist, Banksy on June 12, 2009, in Bristol, England.
A man looks at a surprise exhibit by the underground guerrilla artist, Banksy on June 12, 2009, in Bristol, England.
  • eBay seller claims to know identity of anonymous UK artist Banksy and will auction it to highest bidder
  • At press time, top bid was just shy of $1 million
  • Seller is auctioning a piece of paper containing what he claims is Banksy's legal name
  • Banksy
  • Visual Arts
  • eBay Inc.

(Mashable) -- UK artist Banksy, he of the guerilla techniques and ever-increasing popularity, is about to be unceremoniously identified to the highest bidder in an eBay auction, which ends Wednesday.

At press time, the winning bidder is offering one slim dollar shy of a million. Bidding started at $3,000; the auction has had 38 bids.

In the listing, the seller states, "I have uncovered [Banksy's] identity by matching up the prices of his sold pieces to corresponding tax records. I will reveal no more details... I give you 100% assurance that it is most certainly the full name of the street artist known as 'Banksy.'"

The seller also says that eBay had previously terminated his auction because he was selling an intangible good; the seller is now technically offering for auction a piece of paper containing Banksy's legal name.

The party offering Banksy's identity is hardly a power seller, having a fairly sparse but mostly positive record that dates back to 2001.

At this time, we have no way of determining whether the winning bidder is being taken to the cleaners to the tune of $1 million or whether the seller is legitimately peddling an exclusive glimpse into the identity of a public figure who clearly wants to be anything but public.

However, we read on the artist's website that not all Banksy work that is sold necessarily corresponds to the artist himself.

CNN: Banksy still hiding in plain sight

"Banksy neither produces or profits from the sale of greeting cards, mugs or photo canvases of his work," the site reads. "He is not represented by any of the commercial galleries that sell his paintings secondhand."

Banksy gained a bit of stateside exposure in October 2010 when he directed an opening sequence for "The Simpsons."

What do you think of this auction? Would you want to know Banksy's identity, or do you think he deserves to live privately and relatively anonymously? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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