A Guide To Banksy’s Rats

Love Rat by BanksyLove Rat © Banksy 2004
Joe Syer

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

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Why Banksy’s Rats prints are having more than a moment – and might be your best investment yet.

Banksy is back in his habitat, out of his bathroom and Southampton Hospital, he’s venturing to the London Underground to spray-paint messages to highlight the importance of wearing a face mask as London navigates the world post lockdown.

With the caption ‘if you don’t mask – you don’t get’, the artist shared a video on his Instagram account of him creating pictures of rats sneezing and coughing. Their snot splatters across the walls of underground carriages. The video shows us more of Banksy than ever. The illusive character ushers away interested members of the public as they look on.

The Rat as an Icon

According to the Chinese myth, the Rat is the first of the zodiac signs because it tricked the Ox into giving him a lift to the Emperor’s party only to jump off his back and through the finish line. Known as a clever trickster, as well as a symbol of wealth and excess, one can see why the art world’s biggest trickster might have chosen the rat as one of his most iconic characters.

Blek le Rat was one of the first to use the rat as a motif in his work. As Banksy stated in 2005, “every time I think I’ve painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well. Only twenty years earlier.”

With rats on everyone’s minds, we took a closer look at Banksy’s famous Rat series and its market over the past 12 years. Since the last Year of the Rat in 2008, we found a stunning increase of over 1000% return on investment. As Love Rat, worth just £5,000 in 2008, jumped up to a top price of £137,500 in December 2020.

Banksy Rats vs UK Property Market

According to the Nationwide House Price Index, as of December 2019 growth increased by 1.4% year-on-year. House prices reached an all-time high in July 2019 alongside talk of high-end housing bubbles threatening to burst with TEForecast predicting a downturn as of January 2020. In the same period, Banksy prints sold 60% above their estimate at auction and his price at auction jumped from approx. NET 16.000$ in 2018 to approx. NET 29.000$ in 2019. His market has shown steady growth since 2016.

Banksy Rats vs Oil, Silver and Gold

Oil might be one of the most conventional modes of investment, however, figures by S&P GSCI between 2010 to 2020 show the average annual return on crude oil dropping by 10.48%. Between 2015 and 2020 it dropped by 6.24% and is continuously fluctuating, influenced by various unpredictable geopolitical factors. The prices of Banksy’s works, on the other hand has shown a steady increase and will progress to do so due to the artist’s regular output and rapidly growing popularity on the art market.

Investment returns on gold have picked up between 2017 and 2020 by 8.26%, but looking at the bigger picture, growth between 2010 and 2020 has progressed at a much slower rate, 2.50%, with some fluctuations between 2015 and 2018. A classic case of low-risk low-return investment, the gold market promises a much slower growth than the stunning rate at which Banksy’s rats jumped to ten times their 2008 prices by 2020. Silver has shown an even slower increase, on average 1.20% between 2017 and 2020 and an overall decline of 1.42% within the timeframe of 2010-2020.

Banksy Rats vs Stocks

Comparing the tech giant Amazon to Banksy’s Rat market, the results remain encouraging. Amazon, having peaked between 2018 and 2019 has since shown slight fluctuation and is now stagnating with an average return of around 130% between 2017 and 2020.

While Amazon stocks plateau, Banksy’s rates have enjoyed their steepest upturn between 2018 and 2019 and show all the signs of continuing into 2020 and beyond. Banksy is undeniably the safest investment on a very stable art market.

Choosing a Banksy Rat

For more guidance on how to choose the right piece, take a look at our Banksy Buyer’s Guide, where we offer an in-depth individual analysis on Banksy works and how certain factors have influenced their market price over the years, as well as useful tips on how to accredit an original Banksy.

When it comes to embarking on a new Banksy investment or reaping the returns of a successful previous one, MyArtBroker’s group of leading experts are ready to start a conversation and ensure you’re met with your best match through our world-wide network of collectors, specialists, dealers and galleries.

How can I sell a Banksy Rat?

If you’re looking to sell art by Banksy, click the link and we can help. We employ a number of techniques and practices in order to give a realistic and achievable valuation on any art listed on myartbroker.com. We analyse the demand for the work in question, take into consideration previous sales and auction valuations, we assess the current gallery valuation and monitor the current deals taking place via MyArtBroker every day. We regularly advise sellers on a price bracket for their artwork completely free of charge.