Tyne & Wear

Newcastle 'Lego Men' artwork for sale in online auction

'Shoulder to Shoulder'
Image caption The Ray Smith artwork, officially called 'Shoulder to Shoulder' but nicknamed the 'Lego Men'.

Fans of public art have the chance to obtain part of a sculpture in Newcastle upon Tyne that came to be nicknamed the 'the Lego Men'.

Officially called "Shoulder to Shoulder", the Ray Smith artwork once stood in the city's Haymarket area.

It was installed in 1999 at a cost of £270,000 and contains more than 50 concrete figures, standing 6ft 7in and weighing more than 70st.

Newcastle Council is selling a single figure on an online auction site.

The figures have been in storage since 2008.

Council leader Nick Forbes said: "This is a radical, low-cost solution to our long-running dilemma over where to place the piece of public art that became known as the Lego Men.

"We've explored a range of options for their future, but have now decided that they should be sold as individual sculptures to interested members of the public.

"Like a lot of contemporary sculpture, the Lego Men were very much a 'love it or hate it' piece of art and we believe an internet auction is the fairest way of making sure that everyone who wants to bid, can bid for one.

"We'd like to 'test the water' by putting one on eBay and we're hoping that it will generate significant public interest.

"If this proves unsuccessful we'll look at other ways of selling them or we'll install them in council properties - for example parks and public buildings across the city."

All money raised will go to the Newcastle Fund which benefits charities across the city.

The auction closes on 15 September.

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