Pink Floyd’s famous inflatable pig – known as ‘Algie’ – has been withdrawn from auction after being mistakenly placed on sale having spent decades gathering dust in storage. He has been offered back to the prog-rock legends, who are bringing him home.

The 40-foot inflatable animal, which can be seen on the front cover of the Floyd’s 1977 album Animals, famously grounded and delayed flights at Heathrow airport after it broke free of its fastenings on top of Battersea Power Station in London during the December 1976 photoshoot. Algie was taken away by the wind, and was later recovered by the group from a field in Kent.

Roger Waters of Pink FloydRoger Waters, Pink Floyd bassist and songwriter

Ever since, Algie has been languishing in a workshop in Suffolk that belongs to Air Artists, along with all manner of other pop memorabilia. A replica of the pig was made in 1987, after the original sustained a tear and was condemned. The image you see on the front cover of Animals is therefore, in fact, a composite of photographs.

More: Pink Floyd and David Bowie help boots UK vinyl sales past the 1 million mark for the first time in nearly two decades

The second replica pig is still due to go under the hammer during the online auction held by Durrants on September 15th, along with other items made for rock legends such as The Rolling Stones and AC/DC. However, the original Algie was mistakenly listed as an item for sale after Air Artists provided them with a full list of everything they had.

Robin Harries of Air Artists said: “I made the new pig and I thought I'm not going to throw the old one away, even though it's been condemned, so I just kept it ever since. The auctioneers rather jumped the gun with the list I provided them and publicised the fact the Pink Floyd pig might be one of the lots. I thought I should offer it back to Pink Floyd and they do want to welcome it home again.”

Quite what anybody’s going to do with a 40 foot inflatable pig is uncertain, though a Pink Floyd exhibition has been rumoured for a number of years now. “Hopefully this pig will spur them on to get on with that,” Harries added.

More: Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason joins Jeremy Clarkson on his final lap of the ‘Top Gear’ track