"Subsequent to 2006, his art escalated in value faster than pretty much any substance known to man."
Banksy's 'Vote to Love' at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition, 2018
At Hang-Up we have been dealing in Banksy artworks for more than a decade. In that time we have firmly established ourselves as one of the world's largest dealers in his work. Since navigating the Banksy market can be tricky we gathered some of the most important advice and factors to consider in this two-part blog.
Pulp Fiction by Banksy, screen print on paper, 2004
In July 2019, anonymous street artist Banksy was voted Britain’s favourite artist, beating among others Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso to the title. With his prolific output, extreme popularity and earned place in Street Art History, Banksy's broad appeal certainly cannot be denied. As the artist's popularity continues to grow and his prices rise accordingly there is no time like now to start a collection.
With his origins in Bristol, Banksy’s art first appeared on streets and alleyways in the late 90s. The clever mix of popular and political imagery with an often humorous but critical attitude towards societal issues quickly gained him the attention of the media and general public with the art world and art market quickly following suit. After his break into the urban and contemporary art world in the early 2000s, his continuous activity from his infamous stunts to his activism and record sale prices at auction made him into one of the most iconic and sought-after artists in the global art market. Although the artist's record-breaking prices at auction are often in the news, there are still editions and originals on the market at more affordable price points.
'Love Is In the Bin', the artwork created when 'Girl with Balloon' canvas famously shredded itself at auction
The first and most important thing to check before purchasing a Banksy piece is that it comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from Pest Control. Pest Control is the handling service on behalf of Banksy and the only official body that can authenticate his artwork. Pest Control determines whether Banksy is responsible for making a particular piece of artwork and will issue a Certificate Of Authentication (COA) if this is the case. It has been set up to prevent fraud as many fake Banksy works were created and sold when his popularity began to rise. Pest Control only certifies pieces that were produced for commercial sale, such as limited editions and originals. You can read more about Banksy authentications here.
Morons (Grey) - Artist Proof by Banksy, screen print on paper, 2007
Most collectors start with the prints. These are available signed and unsigned. Both are highly collectable and sought after. In the current secondary market unsigned prints are available from £15,000 and signed prints from around £30,000.
Certified original and unique works, are more valuable and tend to command higher prices compared to limited editions. There are very few unique works on the market at any one time and you will need deep pockets if you are looking to acquire one.
Pricing tends to be in excess of £250,000 for smaller editoned canvases ranging up to £5 million for large unique works. The auction record for a unique work was his infamous piece Dissolved Parliament in 2019 which sold for £9.9 million at Sotheby's in 2019. Murray Macaulay, head of the prints and multiples department for Christie's London, says the Banksy market is one of the fastest-growing in the industry. (September 2020)
Grappling Hook by Banksy, mixed media sculpture, 2017
An important consideration when purchasing a limited edition by Banksy is whether it's signed or unsigned. Most of the artist's prints come in both signed and unsigned, numbered editions.
Banksy editions tend to be made up of a proportion of signed and unsigned prints. The edition sizes vary, typically however an overall run would be of 750 prints. 150 from the run will be signed and numbered with the remaining 600 numbered with no signature. This may sound like a lot but compared to the number of collectors out there wishing to own a piece by Banksy it is not. Aside from the signature there is often nothing to separate signed and unsigned prints in appearance or quality. Both are genuine limited edition Banksy prints and thus both are highly desirable and collectible.
The signed prints are hand-signed by the artist and tend to be from smaller edition sizes. These two factors can make them more collectible and coveted, thus increasing the price as well. That said there are also collectors who would rather have multiple unsigned prints than one signed.
Ben Cotton, Hang-Up Director
Festival (Destroy Capitalism) by Banksy, screen print on paper, 2006
Condition ought to be part of the conversation when purchasing a Bansky.
James Baskerville, Prints & Multiples specialist
So with the artist's limited editions sold for as little as £50 when they were first made collectors were not as careful with how they handled, framed or displayed them. Thus it is not uncommon to see some condition issues in Banksy artworks. Depending on the degree of the issues these can affect the price of the artwork but in many cases when they are not significant they can be a part of the piece's history and will not hinder the work's value. We strongly recommend asking about condition when looking to purchase a Banksy piece. Viewing the piece in person is highly recommended and if you are unable to do so always request high resolution images of the piece, including the corners and back of the print.
Mediterranean Sea View (Triptych) by Bansky, 2017 at Sotheby's Auction House, London
We hope the points in this blog can assist you as you navigate the Banksy market. Stay tuned for Part II, coming soon. In the meantime, don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions or to request our Banksy catalogues.
25 May 2021
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25 Feb 2021
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11 Jan 2021
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10 Dec 2020