After an extraordinary run, the Banksy market has undergone a correction as it begins to mature. Between 2020 and 2021, the Urban artist's large market experienced exceptional growth, with total market size spiking at £36,575,791 in 2021. After corrections in the past year, we have seen the Banksy market potentially maturing towards a tendency for mid- to long-term investment, as opposed to the accelerated trades of 2020. Though we are yet to see how fluctuation will prove, value growth proves Banksy's individual prints are still a viable investment asset.
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Both segments of Banksy's market (signed and unsigned) have dropped in the past year, but signed prints have performed better with a 15% decrease in average selling price between 2021 and 2022. This healthy correction amidst socio-economic turbulence proves the maturation of the Banksy market. As we enter 2023, the street artist's shock factor continues to drive his popularity, and signed prints continue to be a viable investment as this market establishes long term.
Here are the top 10 most investable signed prints according to our 2023 Market Report:
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.
Girl With Balloon is not only an image quintessential to Banksy's oeuvre, but one which has an enduring reputation for drama. In 2018, Banksy staged one of his most unforgettable public spectacles with this work, shredding it immediately after the hammer finalised its sale for £1,042,000 at Sotheby's. This shocking stunt has only served to make this work even more desirable, making it one of the artist's most sought-after prints. Such is the popularity of the work that the signed edition of Girl With Balloon has grown in value by approx. 380% since 2017.
Choose Your Weapon (CYW) (2010), an iconic and exceptionally rare print, 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) sold for £172,500 (with fees) in February, positioning third in Banksy's top-selling works.
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.
Utilising his platform to convey crucial political messages, the Nola prints commemorate the 2005 Hurricane Katrina in the United States. They feature a young girl holding an umbrella, symbolising the inadequate response of New Orleans’ authorities to shelter vulnerable people during the hurricane aftermath. Originally a graffiti stencil in 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana, the work was later turned into a screenprint, available in various colourways and edition numbers. Nola (yellow rain) (2008) is a signed edition of 31, a rare colour variant in the market. This piece was sold for £151,200 (with fees) in March, marking its first appearance since 2021 and securing the sixth position in Banksy's top-selling signed prints for 2023.
An additional Banksy CYW print has emerged as one of Banksy's highest-selling signed prints in 2023. CYW (dark blue) (2010) made its debut appearance twice this year, first in April and then again in September. During its April auction, this piece fetched £139,700 (with fees), establishing a new standard for the value of this print in this colourway and securing its place among Banksy's top-selling works for 2023.
Banksy's screenprints, characterised by their straightforward, raw, and powerful political messages, consistently capture attention. Nola (orange rain) (2008), a signed edition of 32, resurfaced in February, achieving its highest performance in 2023, acorss two sales, with a sale price of £127,500 (with fees). This unique colour variant is rare-to-the-market, and we will continue to observe its performance into 2024.
Banksy's Gangsta Rat (AP Lime) is exceptionally rare, belonging to an edition of 41, with this specific colour variant being one of only ten artist proofs. In this artwork, Banksy revisits his iconic motif, the rat, which symbolises street art itself. Banksy enhances its significance by outfitting the rat with a backward baseball cap, a chain, and a music blaster, paying homage to the underground art scene. The tag accompanying the print, “iPOWS,’’ cleverly references the prevalence of Apple products, and “POW’’ nods to the Banksy's notorious print publisher: Pictures on Walls. This print made its auction debut in April, fetching £114,300 (with fees) and securing a place among Banksy's top-selling prints for 2023.
Christ With Shopping Bags (2004) emerged as a signed edition comprising 82 prints. Naturally provocative and controversial, this artwork communicates profound messages. Banksy's intention isn't to offend but to captivate attention. The piece portrays a crucified Jesus on a cross, carrying shopping bags, highlighting the commercialisation and materialism inherent in consumerism and its broader impact. The bags held by Christ are adorned with bows, resembling Christmas gifts, hinting that the true essence of celebration and gratitude might have been overshadowed, lost in transactions over time. This work has gained popularity, making two appearances in 2023, first in January and then again in March. In the March auction at Christie's, it fetched £94,500 (with fees), positioning itself among Banksy's top-selling prints for 2023.
Banksquiat (grey) (2019) stands as one of Banksy's renowned prints, experiencing heightened interest in 2023. Despite being part of a larger edition of 300, this specific piece has surfaced merely nine times in the secondary market, enhancing its rarity and desirability. What adds to its allure is its association with Banksy's pop-up shop, Gross Domestic Product, offering collectors a chance to possess a defining moment in Banksy's career. Banksy, never one to shy away from expressing his respect for predecessors, crafted this work as a Ferris wheel, replacing carts with Basquiat's iconic three-point crown. Through this, Banksy questions the recent commodification of Basquiat's art compared to his unparalleled legacy, especially in the realm of clothing, a sentiment underscored by his call-out of Guess in November 2022 for using his brand without permission. This unique piece fetched £94,255 (with fees) in February.
Though Banksy's unsigned prints have taken the biggest hit year on year at 25%, the surge of his market in 2020 was unsurpassed - even by the likes of Andy Warhol and David Hockney. Given how well Banksy's market performed, the corrections in the past year are natural in establishing a market in the long term. Despite values adjusting downwards, 60% of Banksy's unsigned prints have shown a return of 200% or more.
Here are the top 10 most investable unsigned prints according to our 2023 Market Report:
Once again, Banksy's Pulp Fiction has proved particularly popular since 2017, outperforming the artist's other unsigned prints by a wide margin. This print has clearly attracted Tarantino fanatics and Banksy devotees alike, and testifies to the cult of celebrity when it comes to both film and art. Such is the acclaim of his Pulp Fiction works that this unsigned print has realised tremendous value growth of approx. 640% in the past five years.
As an anonymous street artist, Banksy is a vandal by profession, and no work shows that better than Turf War. The portrait reimagines the so-called ”Roaring Lion” portrait of Winston Churchill, and pictures the former British Prime Minister with a punkish lime green mohawk. Inspired by the real-life defacement of Churchill's statue on Parliament Square, this work champions political protest. This is one of the most popular of Banksy's portraits in the past five years, growing in value by approx. 445%.
Following the trend of defacement, Banksy's Queen Victoria imagines the former British monarch amidst the lewd act of ”queening”. The work might even be described as treasonous, and makes Banksy's anti-royal views crystal clear. Against a ruby red background, the print is laden with the shock-factor so quintessential to Banksy. This staunch protest against the monarchy has proved particularly popular since 2017, experiencing value growth of approx. 400%.
In this modern-day reimagining of Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can, Banksy elevated a Tesco Value tin of tomato soup to the realm of ”high art”. However, Soup Can is not only an homage to Pop, but a scathing criticism of the supermarket giant controlling prices for the masses. Indeed, the work rings true to the anti-capitalist sentiment that runs through Banksy's entire practice. Ironically, the work has grown in value by approx. 400% in the past five years.
Amidst the Iraq war, Banksy created Applause as a sardonic criticism of the glorification of war. The work pictures a fighter jet preparing to take off from an aircraft carrier. The monochromatic work is disrupted by two air traffic controllers in the foreground, who wear fluorescent vests, with one controller holding a plaque reading: ”APPLAUSE”. Like the signs held up at sit-com recordings, Applause mocks those who treat war like a game, and its victims like pawns for our entertainment. The disturbing print is part of an edition of 500, and has experienced approx. 345% value growth since 2017.
Like the rat, the chimpanzee is one of the heroes of Banksy's iconography. In Laugh Now, we see a dejected-looking chimp trudging towards the viewer, weighed down by a sandwich board bearing the words from which the work takes its title. Banksy also explored this motif in his Keep It Real series. Like many of Banksy's works which take animals as their subject, Laugh Now champions the underdogs of society who might rise to take charge. This image of optimism has performed particularly well since 2017, growing in value by approx. 325% in the past five years.
Flag (silver) is another version of Banksy's aforementioned Flag (gold). The subject of the print is the same as its gold counterpart, yet the silver colour beneath the black stencilled image gives the image a renewed dynamism. The Flag series is clearly one of the most covetable by the street artist, with this unsigned print experiencing over 300% value growth since 2017.
Not dissimilar to his Get Out While You Can series, Gangsta Rat depicts a rat sitting next to a boombox wearing the accessories of the archetypal ”gangster”. Behind the flashy bandit is a graffiti tag, reading ”iPOW”, apparently sprayed in red by the rat itself. The tag is an ironic comment on the prolific presence of Apple products in our lives, and also references Banksy's publisher, Pictures on Walls. The whimsical work has grown in value by approx. 280% in the past five years.
Yet another tongue-in-cheek work from Banksy's extensive oeuvre is HMV Dog, which reimagines the iconic logo of His Master's Voice. The original logo is ubiquitous in British culture, but Banksy's dog macabrely points a bazooka directly into the gramophone horn. The print is yet another image which rejects authority, and has experienced value growth of approx. 280% since 2017.
Finally, Banksy's unsigned edition of Girl With Balloon has also performed especially well in the past five years. The image of a little girl reaching for a red heart-shaped balloon is essential to Banksy's oeuvre, and perfectly encapsulates his hopes for peace and freedom. This unsigned print has grown in value by approx. 265% since 2017.
Find out more about Banksy prints as alternative investment assets in our Ultimate Print Market Report.
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