The Expert Guide To Buying A Banksy

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Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

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In MyArtBroker's Banksy Buyer's Guide, we offer over 15 years of expertise in the market ,and we're your trusted source for navigating the intricate world of Banksy prints and editions. As specialists in the market, we understand the complexities of value, authenticity, and trends. Whether you're a seasoned collector or new to the scene, our guide provides essential insights to help you find your desired piece. From signed/unsigned prints to hand-finished editions, we unravel the nuances of the Banksy market, ensuring a seamless and rewarding collecting experience to discovering and acquiring coveted Banksy artworks.

This Banksy buyer's guide is designed to empower you in building and expanding your art collection. Discover invaluable insights, from initiating your collection journey to optimising portfolio diversification. To learn more about the latest trends within the Banksy print market, access The Banksy Report: Seven Years In The Banksy Market and explore MyArtBroker's Banksy Investment Guide In 2024.

Considering selling a Banksy print? Explore our dedicated Banksy Sellers Guide for expert guidance.

Why Collect Banksy?

Banksy emerges as a standout figure in the blue chip market, whose art resonates from street walls to the secondary market. Seamlessly blending ironic humour, political discourse, and contemporary aesthetics, Banksy appeals to a diverse audience. While the Banksy market has gained firm ground, it remains relatively young compared to counterparts. Despite a recent correction, the peak in 2021 doesn't signify maturity, hinting at further growth potential capable of attracting both seasoned investors and new enthusiasts.

Emerging from Bristol, Banksy's iconic stencilled imagery gained prominence in the late 1990s, captivating the global art scene, including galleries, museums, auctions, and celebrity collectors. Through politically relevant messages and sensational stunts like the infamous shredding of Girl With Balloon, which sold for £1 million, Banksy challenges the art establishment, bluntly stated in through print aesthetics: “I Can't Believe You Morons Buy This Shit.” Despite overt critiques of the market, Banksy's fame remains unwavering, solidifying a position in the art market.

However, Banksy's critique extends beyond the establishment; it remains politically pertinent. The latest Banksy mural unveiled in March 2024 in North London addresses the escalating issue of climate change. In December 2023, amidst heightened tensions in Gaza and Palestine, Banksy's artwork, featuring military drones on a stop sign, seemingly called for a ceasefire, although the message was not explicitly stated. In 2023, Banksy's focus appeared to shift away from auction sales, with the announcement of the first Banksy exhibition in 14 years, Cut n Run, and the unveiling of murals in Margate and Kent. Instead, Banksy's attention turned back to street origins and poignant works reflecting humanitarian crises.

Banksy's earlier political statements included producing a limited edition of 50 prints in December 2022 to aid Ukrainian civilians impacted by the conflict. Banksy persists in addressing contemporary issues like the refugee crisis, Gaza conflict, Brexit, and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as timeless themes such as homelessness. This commitment ensures Banksy's continued relevance to collectors drawn to art for its commentary and controversy.

"Fragile" Prints in Aid of Legacy of War Foundation by Banksy - MyArtBroker"Fragile" in Aid of Legacy of War Foundation © Banksy 2022

Starting A Banksy Collection

Banksy's activism, captivating stunts, and political commentaries have garnered attention since the early 2000s, driving record prices in the art market. While original paintings fetch millions at auction, the accessibility of authentic Banksy prints has expanded with online sales platforms. Pest Control, Banksy's authentication board, adds a distinctive element to the Banksy market. Only prints accompanied by a Pest Control certificate of authenticity (COA) hold significant value, constituting half the worth of a Banksy print. This assurance offers buyer confidence associated with online purchases' authenticity, effectively negating the necessity for in-person inspection.

Whether considering a private purchase or bidding at auction, navigating the Banksy market requires careful consideration. To aid in this process, we've compiled key factors essential for acquiring a Banksy print, providing valuable insights for art investors and enthusiasts alike.

When beginning to build an art collection, I always offer the same advice – buy something you love. Enjoy it, and reap the rewards if and when you choose to pass it on.
Ian Syer, MyArtBroker Founder

Are Banksy Prints A Good Investment?

Banksy prints have consistently shown strong performance in auctions since their introduction to the market, supported by data from MyArtBroker's analytics marketplace. From 2017 to 2019, the Banksy print market displayed steady growth, averaging a 66% year-on-year (YoY) increase. By 2020, Banksy prints surged in popularity, surpassing the print market performance of many established artists like Andy Warhol and David Hockney.

Banksy has established a significant secondary market for both signed and unsigned prints, evolving over just 15 years into a major player in the art investment landscape. The rapid growth witnessed in the Banksy print market during 2020 and 2021, with a staggering 166% increase, on average, over two years, naturally led to a correction. Despite a decrease in sales value to £7 million and 250+ lots sold in 2023 compared to the previous year, these figures still exceed those of 2019. With Banksy prints now more affordably priced, the market offers promising opportunities for mid to long-term investment, moving away from the rampant flipping seen in peak years.

Access The Banksy Report: Seven Years In The Banksy Market

What Are Some Of Banksy's Most Popular Prints Among Collectors?

Using our print market database and analytics, we've identified the top-performing Banksy editions in 2023, particularly those inspired by or derived from street murals. These prints are highly sought-after and worth keeping an eye on as we move into 2024.

  1. Girl With Balloon: Voted as the nation's most famous artwork in 2017, Banksy's instantly recognisable stencilled girl reaching for a red heart-shaped balloon has consistently been his most sought-after print series by sales value over the past seven years. Since the infamous shredding incident at Sotheby's in 2018, the YoY sales value of the Banksy print market has seen an average increase of 65%.
  2. Choose Your Weapon: Choose Your Weapon (CYW) stands out as Banksy's second most sought-after print series by sales value in both 2022 and 2023. Its popularity has surged alongside its increased presence in the market. Originating from a mural on a pub wall in South Bermondsey, London, the imagery, addressing street gang violence, coupled with its vibrant hues and limited edition number, makes this print series highly coveted. Over the past seven years, as a series, its average selling price (ASP) has risen by 36% and in 2023, CYW (gold) set a record selling for £172,500 and ranked among Banksy's top selling prints for 2023.
  3. Bomb Love: Rising in popularity with increased sales volume in 2023 compared to the previous year, Bomb Love witnessed ten public auction sales, just three fewer than Banksy's highest-ranked series, Girl With Balloon. Originating as one of Banksy's earliest street murals in East London in 2001, it portrays a young girl embracing a bomb missile, juxtaposing peace and war. Offering greater market liquidity compared to some other Banksy prints, Bomb Love presents more accessible price points, with an ASP of £17,600–accounting for signed and unsigned prints–based on 2023 and 2024 Q1 sales data.
  4. Flying Copper: Also prominent in 2023 in terms of the volume of works entering the market is Banksy's Flying Copper series, with ten successful public auction sales for signed and unsigned prints. Depicting the uniform of a London police officer adorned with a cartoon smiley face and angel wings, this imagery first emerged as a series of cardboard cutouts in Banksy's Turf War exhibition in 2003. Since Banksy's peak year in 2021, this work has maintained prominence in the market with at least eight appearances YoY since 2020. The 2023 ASP of Flying Copper prints stands at £23,800, more than double the ASP of 2019, before Banksy's print market became oversaturated.

Discover Banksy's top ten most investable prints in 2023.

The Banksy market offers collectors an exciting opportunity at both ends of the value spectrum. The print market in particular allows the novice art collector to bring home a piece of cultural legacy as well as potentially something that will reap great financial reward.
Ian Syer, MyArtBroker Founder

How Much Does An Original Banksy Cost?

Today, original Banksy artworks fetch millions on the secondary market. Limited edition prints provide a more affordable entry point and portfolio diversification, priced from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands, depending on factors like rarity, popularity, and whether they are signed.

While many of Banksy's popular prints are readily available on the secondary market, there are certain print series initially released on the primary market that have yet to transition to the secondary resale market. The most recent primary market release by Banksy was a series of 50-editioned prints in support of Ukraine in 2022. Prior to this, Banksy had not issued any limited edition prints or multiples since the establishment of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) pop-up shop in 2019, and even earlier, since Sale Ends V2 in 2017. The only other existing and authorised Banksy “gift-shop” was at the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, which has closed due to escalating political conflicts in the region, with no indication of reopening. While the Walled Off Hotel was operational, it offered open-edition merchandise by Banksy, though these items are unlikely to appreciate in value like limited edition prints.

The value of a Banksy print is greatly influenced by its rarity, popularity, and whether it is signed or unsigned. To determine if a print is signed, inspect the bottom corners of the artwork – a pencil signature and a number as a fraction should be present. The bottom number represents the total number of prints in the edition, while the top number denotes the specific print number.

Is A Signed Banksy Worth More?

Another crucial factor to consider is whether the artwork bears Banksy’s signature. Banksy’s prints are typically available in both signed and unsigned editions, along with artist’s proofs (APs). Edition sizes usually range from 600 to 750 for unsigned prints and 150 for signed prints. Signed editions are generally more sought after and command higher prices due to their prestige and scarcity. However, unsigned Banksy prints remain desirable as they also come with a Pest Control COA, are hand-numbered, and are recognised as authentic Banksy prints. While demand for unsigned prints is strong, they offer a broader range of affordability for conscious buyers.

How Much Is A Banksy Print Worth Now?

In the recent turbulent market, signed prints have shown a modest performance, experiencing an average 27% decrease in YoY ASP difference from Banksy's peak in 2021. However, there has been a bit of a resurgence in 2024 Q1, with signed Banksy prints totalling over £864,000 in sales value, representing just a -12% difference from 2020 Q1 totals. Similarly, unsigned Banksy prints have also seen a modest decline, with the YoY ASP difference throughout 2022 and 2023 averaging a 33% decrease from 2021. However, 2024 Q1 totals have shown improvement, reaching £511,000+, a 14% increase from 2020. While future performance cannot be predicted, focusing on works that resonate with you as a collector is always the best approach.

In 2023, Banksy prints, both signed and unsigned, fetched prices ranging from £7,500 to over £190,000 (with fees) at auction, with over 250 prints collectively totalling £7 million in sales. MyArtBroker's founder Ian Syer highlights, “The Banksy market presents collectors with compelling opportunities across various price points.”

At MyArtBroker, we closely monitor the developments in the Banksy market and can provide insights into pricing dynamics of the print you're interested in. Our priority is to cater to our clients' budgetary requirements and personal preferences. When you engage with our specialised brokers, you can expect informed and confidential advice tailored to your needs.

Looking to Acquire Banksy Prints?

Browse the Trading Floor and Get In Touch With Us. Access The Banksy Report: Seven Years In The Banksy Market.

HOW DO I KNOW IF A BANKSY PRINT IS AUTHENTIC?

The first step when considering a Banksy print for purchase is to verify the presence of a Pest Control-issued COA. Pest Control serves as the authoritative body in the Banksy market, tasked with authenticating Banksy prints. They are the exclusive entity authorised to provide certification, ensuring the legitimacy of the artwork. Without a COA from Pest Control, galleries, auction houses, and collectors will not recognise the piece as genuine.

All Banksy artworks created post-2009 are accompanied by a Pest Control certificate, making it the sole source for acquiring new prints directly from the artist. For a comprehensive understanding of the certification process, refer to our Pest Control Guide for detailed insights.

They are the exclusive entity authorised to provide certification, ensuring the legitimacy of the artwork. Without a COA from Pest Control, galleries, auction houses, and collectors will not recognise the piece as genuine.

Before 2009, Banksy's prints were distributed through Pictures on Walls (POW). These prints may bear a POW embossed circular stamp, which may ,or may not, be legitimate. Many traces of authenticity have been counterfeited, underscoring the importance of seeking expert guidance.

If the Banksy print you're interested in lacks a certificate, we strongly advise against purchasing it (note that Banksy's street works also lack certificates, as they were not intended for sale). Be cautious of fake certificates being offered, and ensure you're well-informed on what to look for.

Alternatively, our team of specialist brokers is available to assist you in navigating the authentication process at no cost.

Always condition check before investing in an original print

Ensuring the pristine condition of the print you're purchasing is paramount. Sellers typically bear the responsibility of conducting condition checks and, if necessary, seeking advice from restoration experts to address any damage.

Several key points to consider when assessing the condition and authenticity of a print are: genuine Banksy art prints are typically handmade silkscreens with distinct colours, produced on wove art paper with a high-resolution quality that distinguishes them from cheap replicas or posters. Early prints like Rude Copper may have been printed on thinner paper compared to later prints such as Stop And Search.

After acquiring your Banksy print, it's crucial to maintain its pristine condition to preserve its future value. Store prints and canvases in a dark area away from sunlight, and consider framing works on paper with UV-protective glass. Some collectors even store prints flat in darkness to optimise their value, often noting this in their listings. Prior to purchase, carefully inspect the work and consult an expert if uncertain.

Learn more about how to look after your Banksy print in our Storage and Restoration Guide.

Where can I buy a Banksy print in 2023?

Banksy prints are readily available on the secondary market, accessible through online platforms, auctions, and private sales facilitated by brokers like ourselves. Presently, all Banksy prints are exclusively found on the secondary market or through private sales, as Banksy and Pest Control currently do not distribute or sell works directly.

Embarking on an art collecting journey can be intimidating, but there are professionals ready to assist. Whether you're a novice or an experienced collector, purchasing from a reputable source is crucial when acquiring a Banksy print. Seek expert guidance on value, condition, and provenance, which a professional seller can offer more comprehensively than an auction house.

It's essential to ensure a comfortable and transparent buying process. Acquiring a Banksy should be an exciting endeavour. For further insights, we recommend exploring our in-depth guide to Auction vs. Private Sale in the Banksy Market.

Looking to Acquire Banksy Prints?

Browse the Trading Floor and Get In Touch With Us. Access The Banksy Report: Seven Years In The Banksy Market.

Why Use MyArtBroker To Find Your First Banksy Print?

MyArtBroker provides a secure and straightforward platform for buyers, linking you directly with our professional brokers. Whether you're seeking to kickstart or expand your Banksy art collection, our expert brokers can aid in your quest. With an extensive network of collectors actively buying and selling daily, we can assist you in finding your desired piece.

A Dedicated Broker

MyArtBroker provides a protected environment for connecting buyers with skilled brokers.

Your dedicated broker will collaborate with you to locate the desired Banksy artwork at a price within your budget. Our specialists facilitate condition checks and authentication for artworks, ensuring your confidence in every purchase, and can assist with delivery arrangements.

We offer the assurance and convenience of both personalised specialist consultations and streamlined online processes.

Our Network

With a vast global network comprising over 30,000 active collectors, dealers, galleries, and experts, we ensure access to the most sought-after and genuine Banksy artworks. Our website attracts 75,000 monthly visitors, featuring regular updates on market trends, auction outcomes, and artist news, along with comprehensive biographies and insightful essays on Banksy editions.

At MyArtBroker, we connect you with this extensive network of collectors selling Banksy artworks. Reach out to us to explore purchasing a Banksy print, and we'll guide you through the entire process.

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