A mural featuring a donkey and an armed Israeli soldier, created by the elusive British street artist Banksy on a concrete barrier dividing the Palestinian West Bank from Israel, is expected to fetch up to $US600,000 at auction.
Online bidding on the work, entitled Donkey Documents, is already at $US200,000.
The mural, painted by aerosol on a composite stone wall, measures 126 inches by 84 inches.
The work, created in Bethlehem in 2007, depicts a donkey having its identification papers checked by an armed Israeli soldier, mocking the stringent security measures enforced by the Israeli government.
The piece was part of a series of works created by Banksy along the concrete wall dividing the Palestinian West Bank from Israel.
The excised mural is the largest and most significant intact Banksy mural in existence from his visit to Israel.
The artwork is currently in London, at the Chelsea Design Centre, and the staff and equipment required to move it have already been scheduled for after the completion of the auction.
The work is being offered for sale through Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles and is among several Banksy works being offered in its Street Art and Contemporary Art Sale.
Donkey Documents is expected to be the largest Banksy work ever sold at auction, and is believed to be largest of his works ever preserved.
The business owner on whose wall he created it did not know who the artist was, and was surprised by the crowd that gathered to admire it the next day.
The artwork comes with the original agreement between the Bethlehem building owners and the present owner to allow its removal.