It is not unknown that Banksy’s print market witnessed a remarkable surge in 2020 and 2021, with total sales steadily climbing since 2018.
The most significant spikes were observed in 2019 and 2020, escalating by 106% and then 250% respectively. Concurrently, the total sales volume also saw substantial increases of 60% and 28% during these consecutive years. The pandemic played a pivotal role in boosting Banksy’s market, as lockdown measures prompted a shift to online art platforms, widening the reach of auction houses to a global audience and collectors. This surge in demand for Banksy works closely followed the viral Sotheby’s Contemporary evening sale in 2018 featuring his ‘self-destructing’ artwork, Girl With Balloon, which fetched over £1 million, further fuelling the subsequent frenzy in his market. Although Banksy’s 2022 market performance showed a decrease in sales value to £14.6 million, from his 2021 high, this figure still surpasses the market size in 2018, the start of the five-year period which stirred his meteoric rise.
Discover Banksy's dominant presence in the 2023 art market, delving into his highest-selling prints from his iconic series. These works have elevated his art into a blue-chip commercial brand, making him one of the most coveted artists in the industry. Downloand our latest market report, The Print Report: The Market's Most Wanted in 2023.
In Q1 of 2023, Banksy prints flooded major auction houses, with a unsigned version of the iconic Girl With Balloon (2004) leading the pack, selling for £155,852 in March. A signed version of the work resurfaced in September at Sotheby’s Banksy-only sale. This demand for this universally popular work remains unyielding, evident in the 12 successful sales of signed and unsigned versions throughout 2023 YTD.
Notable print sales in Q2 included Banksy’s Exclamation Rat (2004), which fetched £279,400 at Sotheby’s. During the May marquee evening sales Phillips’ debuted Banksquiat, Boy And Dog In Stop & Search (2018), stencilled and hand-finished on birchwood, which achieved a staggering $9.7 million (USD), becoming the highlight of the sale. June brought excitement with Banksy’s first public exhibition in 14 years, Cut & Run, held at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art, showcasing a quarter-century of Banksy’s stencils. This unique exhibit garnered tremendous success and is set to travel, with the destination to be determined by fan submissions via Banksy’s website.
In the recent September sales, Sotheby’s hosted their second Banksy-only auction in 2023, boasting a 85% sell-through rate and healthy sales for Banksy’s unsigned prints. Christie’s also featured coveted Banksy print works including two rare works from the Choose Your Weapon (CYW) series, in light orange and dark blue colourways fetching £81,200 and £126,000 respectively, aligning within market estimates.
Banksy’s market is a captivating realm shaped by his cult-like status. Whether he achieves record-breaking sales or none at all, he consistently remains a focal point in market discussions. What sets Banksy apart is his ability to dictate the course of his market.
Unlike many artists who rely on gallery representation, Banksy navigates his own path. Deciphering the pulse of his market involves tracing the strategic breadcrumbs he leaves. In early February, a new mural, titled Valentine’s Day Mascara, surfaced in Margate, strategically unveiled on February 14th. Banksy’s actions are meticulously orchestrated. One month later, he shared an open mic night on his Instagram story in Margate, playfully acknowledging the buzz surrounding his latest mural. It almost feels like Banksy is intentionally generating excitement around his own market, setting the stage for his next moves.
Banksy’s market trends are intricately woven by his own hand. While his market undergoes a maturation, the reality is that his major works still command millions at auctions. Amidst discussions about its decline, equal attention should be paid to its enduring triumphs. Auction houses have orchestrated 14 Banksy-only sales, a feat unmatched by any other artist. The occasional fluctuations in sell-through rates, such as the Bonhams anomaly in 2021, seem minor when compared to Banksy’s peak years, where most sales were highly successful. However, these frequent solo sales have led to an oversaturation of his market. Changes in Banksy’s pricing reflect the interplay between economic conditions and demand dynamics, adding layers of complexity to his ever-changing market landscape.
Even while his market matures, Banksy remains in the spotlight. Critics are concerned, but our close monitoring at MyArtBroker shows his works, both signed and unsigned, still command significant prices. Auction houses flooding the market with solo sales twice a year contribute to fluctuations, but overall, lower prices reflect economic conditions, not diminished demand.
In 2019, Banksy released the Thrower (Grey) (2019) triptych, featuring his iconic, bandana wearing street bandit, poised to throw a bomb, transformed by Banksy into throwing a bouquet of flowers instead. This print is an evolution of his renowned street art piece, Love Is In The Air (Flower Thrower) (2003), originally created in response to the West Bank Wall construction, a highly controversial and contested structure, separating parts of Israel and the West Bank. Its relevance recently heightened, this work sold for £190,500 (with fees) in April, making it Banksy's top-selling print for 2023. We'll continue to monitor its value and potential appearances in 2024.
Banksy's renowned artwork, Girl With Balloon (2004) known for its striking girl reaching for a heart-shaped red balloon, became even more famous after his 2018 Sotheby's stunt, where the artwork shredded itself upon sale. The image exudes innocence and hope, resonating universally with collectors of all ages. Its popularity surged post-stunt, and in September, it sold for £190,500 (with fees) at Sotheby's Banksy-only auction, securing the second spot among Banksy's top-selling prints in 2023.
Choose Your Weapon (CYW), an iconic and rare print series, was initially released in 15 distinct colourways, with 14 editions limited to just 25 prints each. Among these, unique colourways including silver, lemon, dark blue, turquoise, and fluoro green are particularly sought after, often fetching the highest prices. Introduced to the secondary market in 2012, a couple of years after their 2010 release, initial sales barely surpassed £10,000 (with fees). Presently, these prints consistently sell for well over £100,000, with the highest recorded purchase exceeding £300,000. CYW (Gold) (2010) sold for £172,500 (with fees) in February, positioning third in Banksy's top-selling works.
Banksy's renowned image of a young girl reaching for a heart balloon appears twice in his top-selling works of 2023. Girl With Balloon (2004), an unsigned version sold at Julien's auction in the United States for £155,852, just -18% short of the value paid for the signed version of this print securing 4th place in Banksy's top selling prints for 2023. This sale marked the highest price paid for an unsigned version of Girl With Balloon (red) among 10 sales in 2023. Although the print has a high edition number of 600, the frequent transactions underscore the oversaturation of Banksy's market. However, consistent sales near or above £100,000 indicate sustained demand for his iconic prints, even in unsigned versions.
Thrower (Grey) VIP (2019) secured the fifth position among Banksy's top-selling prints in 2023, fetching £152,400 (with fees) in March. This artwork portrays the same figure in a backward baseball cap and a bandana, tossing a bouquet of flowers. The signed VIP edition, limited to 300, is split into three gold-framed panels. Remarkably rare in the market, this sale marked only its fourth appearance. The hammer price for this work has fluctuated, reaching up to £160,000. We will be closely observing its resurgence in 2024.
Track live demand in works from our artist's portfolios and view access to the works you're looking for.