PARIS • Maybe Banksy gave the Paris auction the brush-off because of stringent security measures.
Paris auction house Artcurial indicated before Wednesday's event that it had done background checks on attendees amid speculation that Banksy had turned up at a Sotheby's auction earlier this month.
Then, jaws had dropped after his audacious prank involving the shredding of his Girl With Balloon work, moments after it was sold.
On Wednesday, three of his works went under the hammer, with final prices above the reserve ones.
His Stop And Search silkscreen, a denunciation of police surveillance, fetched €65,000 (S$102,000) including fees - just double a €30,000 to €35,000 estimate.
Another screen print, a Warholesque Soup Can (Yellow/Emerald/Brown, right, above), was sold for €46,800, having been estimated at €15,000 to €20,000.
A third work, Queen Vic, mocking Queen Victoria's anti-homosexuality stance, went for €11,700, around three times its reserve.
Artcurial expert Arnaud Oliveaux responded with humour when asked if he believed the artist was in the audience.
"That would surprise me. I only wish he were."
During the auction, he also played on the hubbub the street artist had whipped up in London just over a fortnight ago, telling a woman hesitating on a raised bid for Soup: "But, madam, Banksy is in the limelight.
"You're going to regret it."