Banksy | A Collector's Guide | Pt. II
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Banksy | A Collector's Guide | Pt. II

Oct 29, 2020

How do I choose ?

One of the first decisions you may have when you are in the market for a Banksy is which one to choose. Certain works from the artist's catalogue are more desirable and sought after, usually based on rarity and appeal. As a general rule these works will be more expensive and harder to source as a result.

We always recommend purchasing works that appeal to you personally and not basing your decision entirely on popularity and invest-ability. We also always advise collectors to buy the best they can within the allocated budget and will present examples accordingly.

If budget is of no concern then the older and more iconic works are considered the most collectable. Laugh Now, Girl With Balloon and Love Is In The Air all fit into this category.

Banksy’s Rats are another popular series of limited editions. Created originally in 2004, works such as Love Rat and Gangsta Rat, are the two most desirable pieces in the edition. The value increase of these pieces between the years 2008 and 2020 is an incredible 1000%.

Some of Banksy's editions are produced in a range of colour-ways, with some being part of a smaller run and thus more desirable than others. Choose Your Weapon, for example, comes in 19 colours with some colours being an edition of 25 and others of 100.

To make it easier to navigate through the decision process we have compiled a Banksy Buyer's Guide all the prints released far along with details on colour-ways, edition sizes and our in house ‘Rat Rating” system from 1 to 6.

Considerations in regards to signed vs unsigned and limited edition vs original are also important and covered in Part I.

Love Rat, edition of 600 unsigned and 150 signed works

Love Rat, edition of 600 unsigned and 150 signed works

Special editions

When looking at Banksy prints you may come across special editions such as VIP prints, Artist Proofs or Printers Proofs.

Generally works that fall into these categories carry a price premium because there are fewer of them within an edition which heightens the desire to own one. While there is no fixed rule typically there will be 5-10% of a run devoted to artists proofs and printers proofs. Sometimes these image may be identical the original edition such as Laugh Now but often the Artists Proofs will be available in different colour ways such as the Napalm or Gangsta Rat.

Artists Proofs and Printers Proofs are noted as such on the Pest Control COA.

VIP prints are prints that were never released to the public. These editons were placed discretely direct from the studio to a small pool of ‘VIP" collectors and rarely come up for sale on the secondary market. Examples include Love Hurts, Girl With Balloon (Pink, Purple, Gold and Silver) and Dumbo. See Banksy Guide for full details on VIP prints.

Kate Moss (Black and White) - Artist's Proof by Banksy

Kate Moss (Black and White) - Artist's Proof by Banksy

How to frame your Banksy

How you frame your print is the most important long-term decision you make when it comes to caring for and keeping your Banksy. Make sure you go to a reputable framer: it’s worth paying for a print to be properly mounted using the right materials, and many are not as expensive as you might think.

Three key tips: if the print has bright colours, don’t hang it in direct sunlight; ensure it is kept away from any source of moisture and whatever you do do not trim the sheet to try to fit it in a smaller frame!

We often encounter Banksy prints that have not been framed to conservation standards and are damaged as a result. Since Banksy editions were not seen as valuable initially as they are today, collectors often did not invest in the quality of their frame resulting in damage. In short, framing is always worth the investment.

It is important that prints are mounted both using and onto acid-free materials to prevent acids from discolouring the print or what is known as acid migration. Artwork should also be mounted using the correct substance to prevent issues such as tape marks. If the wrong tape is used it can lead to unwanted marks and even skinning of the piece. Environmental factors should also be considered as humidity can lead to foxing. This is a term used to describe localised discolouration of paper, which appears as random rust-coloured spots. Lastly the glaze used for the frame can protect the artwork from bleaching if it a UV protective material is used. Bleaching is where a surface becomes lighter due to damage from sunlight's ultraviolet components.

"Employing appropriate framing materials will ensure the longevity of your artwork. You have a responsibility to maintain a safe and sensible location for your framed artwork; avoid radiators, extreme temperatures, uncontrolled changes in humidity, and direct sunlight. Always specify archival framing components and use a UV filtering glazing material regardless of the hanging location."

Tim Blake, Darbyshire Framers

Choose Your Weapon (Green), signed edition of 25

Choose Your Weapon (Green), signed edition of 25

Storing/Caring for your Banksy

If you are not planning on framing your piece after your purchase it is still important you take precautions to protect it. To ensure that your piece holds and increases in value on the secondary market it’s important you look after it properly. Ideally you want to store the artwork away from sunlight and in dry conditions.

"Works on paper must be stored flat, housed in archival materials. 3D or canvas works should be stored boxed or crated. Never store artworks for an extended period in temporary packing materials’ such as bubble wrap."

Tim Blake, Darbyshire Framers

Love Hurts by Banksy, edition of 16, 2002

Love Hurts by Banksy, edition of 16, 2002

Where to buy?

Apart from the few and far between opportunities to purchase Bansky artworks first hand, such as through his Gross Domestic Product pop-up last year, Banksy sales mostly happen on the secondary market. So where should you buy a Banksy from? There are various options from auction houses to online auctions and from galleries to art dealers and private sellers. Whichever you choose, we recommend doing your research on the source you are buying from. Aim for a trusted source that has experience in the sector and keeps the process transparent and comfortable. Reading reviews from other sellers and buyers can be very helpful.

Banksy's Gross Domestic Product Pop-Up shop in Croydon, London, 2019

Banksy's Gross Domestic Product Pop-Up shop in Croydon, London, 2019

We hope the points in this blog can assist you as you navigate the Banksy market. In the meantime, don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions or to request our Banksy catalogues. For more assistance with your Bansky purchase visit our Bansky Guide.

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