Market Watch Banksy: Top 10 Most Investable Prints

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Banksy - MyArtBroker
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art

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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.

Download our complete 2023 Print Market Report here, to explore expert opinions on the prints and multiples market over the last five years.

Signed Prints

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:

1.

Jack & Jill

Skipping towards the viewer with unsettling smiles on their faces, Banksy's Jack & Jill are the vision of childhood under the watchful eye of authority. Despite their cheerful expressions, the pair wear police vests that contrast their naive dress. The police and law enforcement is one of Banksy's most frequently explored subjects, and Jack & Jill shows Banksy to be an enemy of authority and champion of freedom. Of all of Banksy's signed prints, Jack & Jill has experienced the greatest value growth in the past five years of approx. 460%.

2.

Love Is In The Air (Flower Thrower) (AP)

One of Banksy's most recognisable and politically charged works, Love Is In The Air (Flower Thrower) (AP) is part of a small signed edition of just 27 prints. The work, executed in Banksy's iconic stencil style, depicts an insurgent wearing a face covering. The young man is dramatically posed, as though he is about to throw something outside the border of the composition. However, in the place of a violent weapon is a bouquet of flowers. This print is derived from Banksy's original graffiti on the West Wall dividing Palestine and Isreal, one of his earliest public works of protest. Since 2017, this signed print has grown in value by approx. 425%.

3.

Girl With Balloon

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.

4.

Flying Copper

Yet another work which testifies to Banksy's distrust of law enforcement is Flying Copper. The macabre image sees a police officer clad in full riot gear, with angel wings and an unsettling yellow ’smiley face’. As we see in other works like Donuts and Rude Copper, the British police have been one of Banksy's most frequent subjects of satire. Protected by his anonymity, Banksy mocks the authority which threatens his existence as an artist with an intense bite. The signed edition of Flying Copper has shown impressive value growth in the past five years of approx. 305%.

5.

Choose Your Weapon (slate)

Part of his Choose Your Weapon series, Choose Your Weapon (slate) is a nod to Pop sensation and fellow graffiti artist Keith Haring. A hooded young man, executed in Banksy's recognisable stencil style, holds a chain leash attached to Haring's iconic Barking Dog. The work is an homage to Haring who, like Banksy, sought to democratise art by making it accessible to the masses. Like most of Banksy's prints, the image first appeared in situ as a graffiti work in London in 2010. This slate-coloured print is part of a rare edition of 25, and has realised approx. 295% value growth since 2017.

6.

Get Out While You Can (pink)

The rat is one of Banksy's most famous and long-serving motifs, and Get Out While You Can (pink) whimsically personifies the rodent. Here, the rat wears a peace symbol around its neck, and holds a placard with the words from which the work takes its title. The motif of an animal holding a protest placard is something integral to Banksy's oeuvre, as we also see in his Laugh Now series. Through the rat, Banksy champions the underdogs of society and conveys his hopes for uprising. This 2004 print has realised a significant five year growth in value of approx. 245%.

7.

Morons

As we saw with his 2018 Girl With Balloon stunt at Sotheby's, Banksy has always made a mockery of people willing to spend millions on art. Morons is perhaps the artist's most shrewd expression of this. The print reimagines the historic sale at Christie's of Van Gogh's Sunflowers, which sold for a monumental £22,500,000. In the place of the original artwork, however, Banksy has inscribed the words: ”I can’t believe you morons actually buy this shit”. Ironically, the print is one which has experienced the most value growth in the past five years, and is one of the most investable signed prints by Banksy on the market. Since 2017, the print has grown in value by approx. 240%.

8.

Grin Reaper

Banksy's Grin Reaper is one of the most covetable of the artist's signed prints, and amongst his earliest known street artworks. The in situ graffiti appeared around Old Street in the early 2000s and, as with most of Banksy's public spray paint works, was quickly covered up. The deathly figure of the ’Grim Reaper’ sits on a pendulum clock, his scythe framing his skeletal figure. Though the face of this figure is typically concealed, Banksy disrupts the monochrome print with a yellow smiley face - hence the wry title of the work. Over the past five years, the signed print has experienced value growth of approx. 200%.

9.

Pulp Fiction

Inspired by the neo-noir aesthetic of Quentin Tarantino's cult classic, Pulp Fiction is a wry reimagining of an iconic movie still. The monochrome work mimics the stencil of Banksy's original graffiti work, which first appeared in Old Street's underground station in 2002. Recognisable actors John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, as their characters Vincent and Jules, are depicted wielding bright yellow bananas. The characteristically tongue-in-cheek work is one of the most investable signed Banksy prints of the past five years, growing in value by approx. 190%.

10.

Flag (gold)

Part of a limited edition of 112, Flag (gold) was released as part of Banksy's 2006 exhibition Santa's Ghetto. The work is one of Banksy's most technically detailed prints, and depicts a group of children and adults climbing on top of a car, with two women waving a distorted American flag. This is a haunting work which purveys the dark realities of the so-called ”American Dream”. Since 2017, the work has grown in value by over 170%.

Unsigned Prints

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:

1.

Pulp Fiction

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.

2.

Turf War

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%.

3.

Queen Victoria

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%.

4.

Soup Can

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.

5.

Applause

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.

6.

Laugh Now

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.

7.

Flag (silver)

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.

8.

Gangsta Rat

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.

9.

HMV Dog

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.

10.

Girl With Balloon

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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