Over the past five years, we have seen Andy Warhol's resilient market mature and flourish. After the record-breaking sale of Shot Sage Blue Marilyn in May, Warhol's prints are set to steadily increase in value as we enter 2023. In fact, 2022 marked an exceptional year for the Pop Art market in its entirety. Prints by the King of Pop represent some of the most desirable opportunities to invest in this thriving market. Here we look to Warhol's most investable complete print sets and individual prints according to our 2023 Market Report.
Download our complete 2023 Print Market Report here, to explore expert opinions on the prints and multiples market over the last five years.
For collectors and investors alike, Warhol's complete print sets are considered the nonpareil of his print portfolios. Since 2017, complete sets have increasingly driven Warhol's total sales value. In the space of one year alone, complete sets went from accounting for 43% of total sales value in 2021, to 50% in 2022. The incredible performance of these sets is owed, in part, to the lower price point of Warhol's serialised prints (as opposed to his unique paintings). Complete sets represent a more accessible way to enter this hot market, and an exciting opportunity for collectors to complete a set.
Here are the top 10 most investable complete sets according to our 2023 Market Report:
The Campbell's Soup can is emblematic of Warhol and the entire ethos of Pop Art. Something so mundane as a soup can, for Warhol, represented the force of consumerism in modern culture. As a complete set, we almost see the soup cans as though stacked on supermarket shelves. The prints, like the products that inspired them, were mass produced and connected art with everyday reality. Between 2017-2022, the complete set has increased in value by approx. 310%, a hardly surprising figure for one of the defining images of Pop.
Similar to Campbell's Soup II (complete set), this set brings together Warhol's portfolio of soup cans like a commercial advertisement. These works are enduring and visually striking, so it is no surprise that Campbell's Soup are the two most investable print sets in our Market Report. Campbell's Soup I (complete set) has grown in value by approx. 290% in the past five years.
Ladies And Gentlemen is the largest of Warhol's print sets, and depicts 14 trans women living in New York in 1975. The series is underscored by a lively application of collaged colour, which serves to mirror the eclectic personalities of his sitters. The set is, perhaps, one which engaged Warhol more than most, as the artist took over 500 Polaroid photographs in preparation for these prints. The sheer size of the set is perhaps connected to its increase in value by approx. 290% in the last five years. By collecting this set, you collect vibrant fragments of the queer subculture Warhol championed and immersed himself in.
Though Warhol is remembered for his celebrity portraiture and snapshots of American consumer culture, the Kiku series is a celebrated set of three still life works. Each delicately coloured work in the series depicts a Chrysanthemum flower, or Kiku in Japanese. The series was commissioned by Fujio Watanuki, a proponent of the Japanese avant-garde, as an homage to Japanese visual culture. Despite the small scale of the set and size of its individual works, Kiku has experienced an increase in value of approx. 270% in the past five years.
Wild Raspberries is one of Warhol's earliest and rarest complete print sets. Like A Gold Book and Cats Named Sam, Warhol produced these prints to form a self-published book. Unlike any of his previous publishing endeavours, however, Wild Raspberries is a tongue-in-cheek cookbook. Created alongside the interior decorator Susie Frankfurt in 1959, Warhol illustrated the kitsch cookbook and his mother - Julia Warhola - provided the calligraphy. Only 34 copies of the cookbook were made, hence the impressive value growth of approx. 240% achieved by the complete set since 2017.
There are few print series more truly deserving of the word 'iconic' than Warhol's Marilyn Monroe series. Warhol's vibrant portraits of the legendary actress have become symbolic of 20th century pop culture, and are therefore some of the most covetable works by the artist. After the remarkable sale of Shot Sage Blue Marilyn in May, the complete Marilyn print set is more desirable than ever. The complete print set has experienced value growth of approx. 245% since 2017.
Warhol always had his finger on the pulse of contemporary culture and politics, and Flash-November 22 epitomises that perfectly. The series transformed documentation of John F. Kennedy's assassination into a vivid work of Pop. Flash-November 22 is an attractive set for Pop and political enthusiasts alike, which perhaps explains the great value growth of the complete set since 2017. In the past five years, the complete set has experienced value growth of approx. 235%.
Ingrid Bergman, the leading lady of Casablanca, was one of Warhol's most prolific celebrity muses. The series reimagines stills from Bergman's biggest movies, and encapsulates Warhol's fascination with Hollywood stardom. The complete set is unsurprisingly popular, and has increased in value by approx. 210% over the last five years.
Although Warhol's oeuvre is largely shaped by the pop culture of his age, the Goethe series is a turn to the past. Comprised of four prints, the set depicts the German literary figure in different artificial colours. This relatively small set has experienced impressive value growth of approx. 205% since 2017.
Space Fruit is one of Warhol's rarest still life series. Certain works from the series, like Space Fruit: Lemons and Space Fruit: Orange, were published as a limited edition of 10. The complete set is, therefore, highly covetable and relatively tough to build, hence its value in growth by approx. 180% since 2017.
Though Warhol's complete sets have flourished, exceptional growth is certainly not limited to complete editions. Individual prints have shown a markedly positive return. Since 2017, 58% of Warhol prints have achieved returns between 50%-200%. Unsurprisingly, particular growth in value has been seen in Warhol's celebrity portrait prints, which capture the essence of his work.
Here are the top 10 most investable individual prints according to our 2023 Market Report:
From Warhol's Reigning Queens series, Queen Elizabeth II (F. & S. II.336) depicts the late monarch of the United Kingdom. The work appropriates one of the most ubiquitous portraits in history; transforming the familiar image of Queen Elizabeth from stamps and coins into a flamboyant work of Pop. It is hardly surprising that this is Warhol's most investable individual print, given the passing of the former Queen in September 2022. The work has realised value growth of approx. 480% since 2017, and the average selling price of Warhol's Queen Elizabeth portraits is expected to incline as we enter 2023.
Though Warhol was best known for his mechanisation of the art-making process through screen printing, Watercolour Paint Kit (F. & S. II.288) pays homage to the more ’traditional’ media of watercolour. The lithograph was published as an edition of 500, and sold to raise funds for the New York Association for the Blind. The print marks, therefore, an instance in which Warhol used his print practice for philanthropic ends. Perhaps it is the unusual subject matter and media which has attracted collectors, as the print has experienced approx. 460% growth in value in the past five years.
From his iconic Campbell's Soup series, Campbell's Soup I, Black Bean (F. & S. II.44) represents a familiar can of Black Bean soup as a flat screen print. This series was one of the first produced by Factory Additions, New York, and emblematised the consumerist ethos of Warhol's Pop Art. This particular soup can has proven more popular than other ’flavours’ in the series, growing in value by over 455% since 2017.
Warhol was no stranger to the outlandish party scene of New York in the 1980s, and After The Party (F. & S. II.183) depicts the aftermath of an excessive soirée. An array of glasses, champagne bottles, unfinished plates of food, and ash trays litter a table, as though abandoned by indulgent party goers. Warhol imbued the still life with a haze of drunken colour, encapsulating the extravagant lifestyle he and his glamorous friends enjoyed. The work has experienced over 400% value growth in the past five years, speaking to the importance of the print as documentation of Warhol's own way of life.
Much like his After The Party series, Committee is yet another modern take on the still life and encapsulates Warhol's own glamorous lifestyle. Created to be sold at a fundraiser, the print appealed to wealthy bidders by representing the aftermath of a dazzling party. The screen print is part of a large edition of 2000, and has experienced approx. 340% growth in value since 2017.
Another of Warhol's portraits of the late British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II Royal Edition (F. & S. II.334A) depicts the former Queen against a maroon ground. Part of the 1985 Royal Edition of the Reigning Queens series, diamond dust was applied to the print's surface during the printing process to give the monarch an even more luxe appearance. This opulent work is part of a small edition of just 30 prints, which has perhaps driven its value growth of approx. 330% since 2017.
It would seem that Warhol was immediately drawn the sex of appeal of Mick Jagger, frontman of the Rolling Stones. Produced from a selection of photographs Warhol took of Jagger during the summer of 1975, the series immortalised the magnetism of the rock and roll icon. Mick Jagger (F. & S. II.146) represents Jagger face-on, with his distinctive features outlined by hand. Like all prints in this series, this work is signed by both Warhol and Jagger at the bottom of the composition. The star-studded print has attracted a lot of popularity in the past five years, experiencing value growth of approx. 280%.
Also from the Mick Jagger series, Mick Jagger (F. & S. II.141) enlivens the portrait of the rock and roll frontman with collaged layers of colour. By overlaying layers of pink ink, Warhol drew attention to Jagger's lips, his most famous feature. From one of Warhol's most popular series, this particular print has experienced approx. 275% growth in value over the past five years.
From Warhol's Ladies And Gentlemen series, Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.135) depicts Iris, one of the named subjects of this culturally significant series. Warhol snapped 36 Polaroids of Iris, and created 26 paintings of her from this selection, showing his attachment to her as a sitter. This particular work stands out in the Ladies And Gentlemen series, experiencing approx. 270% value growth since 2017.
Finally, yet another work from the valuable Mick Jagger series forms part of Warhol's top 10 investable prints. Mick Jagger (F. & S. II.140) transforms, once again, Jagger's instantly recognisable portrait with flashes of vivid colour and graphic outlining. The print, signed by Warhol and Jagger, has proven to be particularly covetable, growing in value by approx. 220% since 2017.
Find out more about Andy Warhol prints as alternative investment assets in our Ultimate Print Market Report.
Since the beginning of 2023, Warhol's prints & editions have been performing admirably, with many works exceeding their high estimates by a wide margin and breaking sale records. Here are some recent highlights from the Warhol market:
Phillips New York Editions & Works on Paper, 15 February 2023:
Phillips London Evening & Day Editions, 18 & 19 January 2023:
LAMA Prints & Multiples 10 January 2023: