What is Pest Control?
Pest Control is the handling service on behalf of Banksy and the only official body that can authenticate a Banksy artwork. Pest Control determine whether Banksy was responsible for making a particular piece of artwork and issue a Certificate Of Authentication (COA) if this is the case. The process is non for profit and has been set up to help prevent people from becoming victims of fraud. Pest Control only certifies pieces that were produced for commercial sale, such as limited editions and originals. Street pieces will not be certified (with few occasional exceptions) since such pieces were not created to be sold.
Do I need Certificate of Authentication?
If you are interested in selling or insuring your Banksy artwork you will most likely need a COA. Usually buyers, auction houses and galleries will not consider purchasing non-authenticated works. In 2008, Pest Control, found that 226 works of art, including 89 street pieces and 137 screen prints, had been falsely attributed to the artist and it has been estimated that there are millions of pounds worth of fraudulent works in circulation. Pest Control subsequently issued a statement urging people not to buy street art unless it was created for sale through its their handling service.
How do I get Certificate of Authenticity (COA)?
To start the process of authenticating your Banksy you have to fill in an online form on the Pest Control website to request authentication using either the form for authentication of limited editions or the one for originals. Fill in the Authentication Request Form with as much clear detail as you can. You will answer questions about the artwork's edition number, dimensions, purchase date and price as well as its history, provenance and information on any previous owners. All this information is vital in helping establish the legitimacy of your artwork so be as vigilant as possible.
Good quality images are also very important. Make sure to include clear images of the work and detail shots, especially the edition number and signature if the piece is signed. If you have images of proof of purchase make sure to include them. In general, the more information you can provide the better. A useful tip is to avoid uploading large photo files as they will prevent your form from uploading. Aim for between 1 MB to 2 MB in JPEG format.
The Pest Control authentication process is very straight-forward and of course, if you need help at all, our team will be happy to help you through it.
How long does it take to hear back from Pest Control?
Response times from Pest Control can vary largely. Once you’ve submitted your form you should receive an email including your unique 'authentication request number'. Pest Control may have a long backlog of requests so you may have to wait to hear back. The best you can do is fill in your application in as much details as possible, which can often help speed up the process. As stated on the Pest Control website: “Please be aware that because many Banksy pieces are created in an advanced state of intoxication, the authentication process can be lengthy and challenging." You have been warned.
Do I pay a fee for the authentication certificate?
If you’re successful in getting your piece authenticated you will be charged a small admin fee + VAT. If you’re unsuccessful, they will let you know via email and you will not have pay a fee.
Once your piece has been authenticated you will receive a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). The COA has the format of a piece of paper with details on the print and confirmation that it is an 'original work of art' by Banksy. The COAs have had the below format for the past years however Pest Control has now changed them so that they can be screen printed. In both cases the certificates are signed and come with one half of a hand-marked Di-faced Tenner (Banksy’s famous £10 notes) stapled to them. Pest Control keeps the other half of this note to eliminate attempts at forging the COA.
After a year's wait the new Pest Control COAs are here! The new COAs are screen printed, each one is unique complete with a coffee stain and QR code under the half Di-face tenner. Have a look below...
What about change of ownership?
Pest control can also assist in the change of ownership name when you buy or sell a piece. The process is similar to obtaining a COA and you can find the relevant form here.
We hope this helps you navigate the process of Banksy authentications, don't hesitate to get in touch with us should you have any questions. Looking to consign your Banksy? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Sell Art page.