A Buyer’s Guide To Damien Hirst

Sanctum Altar by Damien Hirst - MyArtBrokerSanctum Altar © Damien Hirst 2009
Jasper Tordoff

Jasper Tordoff, Specialist[email protected]

Interested in buying or selling
Damien Hirst?

Browse artworks

Damien Hirst's print market is robust, showing sustained value with minimal price fluctuations. Available through several buying channels, there are also various price points, with some accessible below £5,000—ideal for newcomers to the market. Explore this comprehensive buyer's guide for valuable insights on Hirst's skull, butterfly, and spots prints to gain expert advice on making informed decisions when contemplating investment in a Hirst print.

This Hirst 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 Hirst print market, explore MyArtBroker's Damien Hirst Investment Guide in 2024.

Considering selling a Hirst print? Explore our dedicated Damien Hirst Seller's Guide for expert guidance.

Why Collect Damien Hirst?

Hirst has remained one of the most controversial contemporary artists since his emergence in the art scene alongside the YBAs in the late 1980s. After experimenting with animals in formaldehyde, paintings and sculptures, Hirst turned to printmaking following over a decade of acclaim. His initial print series, The Last Supper (1999), emerged four years after his Turner Prize win, introducing not only a new artistic medium but also a fresh interpretation of his fascination with pharmaceuticals, previously explored through his symbolic spot canvases. Reimagining pharmaceutical boxes, Hirst replaced medicine brand names with food items like “40 micrograms of Beans and Chips” or “400mg tablets of Steak & Kidney”—a blend of controversy and curiosity, mirroring Hirst himself.

While Hirst experienced his peak in the '90s and 2000s, his work remains highly sought after today. This enduring popularity is partly due to the fact that while some editions fetch six-figure sums at auctions, others are still accessible to emerging collectors.

Is Damien Hirst worth investing in?

Analysing Hirst's print performance over the past seven years reveals a commendable resilience in the average selling price (ASP) for individual prints, with the largest year-on-year (YoY) difference being 13%. Consistency in ASP is a crucial factor to consider when evaluating investment potential and instilling confidence in an artist's market. The highest ASP recorded over the last seven years is £7,500 for a single work, indicating a significant market for buyers interested in investing at accessible price points and showcasing high market participation. Significantly, the market for full sets has expanded, showing an average annual increase of 96% over the seven-year period.

To learn more about the value and worth of Hirst's print market performance, read our latest Investment Guide To Damien Hirst.

How much are Damien Hirst prints worth?

In 2023, exclusive limited edition prints by Hirst (excluding complete sets) fetched prices ranging from £550 to £48,000 (hammer) at auction. However, complete sets held the top spot in Hirst's pricing spectrum, constituting 17% of the total secondary market share in 2023. The three highest-selling prints that year were all The Virtues (complete set), with the top sale reaching £101,600 including fees.

Throughout 2023, Hirst's print market displayed a robust performance in Q1, with 110 prints sold for a total of £860,000 (hammer). Subsequent quarters witnessed declines, largely attributed to fewer lots sold. Nonetheless, in 2023, a total of 325 lots were sold by Hirst, marking the second-highest number over the seven-year period. Hirst's consistent collaboration with HENI, where edition sizes often respond to demand, ensures a steady and prolific flow of Hirst prints entering the market. For further insights into the profitability of Hirst's HENI Drops explore:

Damien Hirst & HENI: The Most Lucrative Business in the Print Market?

What types of Damien Hirst prints are for sale?

Before buying a work by Hirst it’s important to familiarise with the various styles and series that have shaped his prolific output over the years. From woodcut spot prints and butterfly etchings, to screen-printed editions of the diamond skull and foil-blocked butterflies, skulls and pills – Hirst’s prints come in a range of mediums, dimensions and edition sizes; some are glazed or embellished with ‘diamond dust’, sometimes over the whole surface of the artwork or in certain areas in order to add impact.

Throughout his career, Hirst has produced both stand-alone editions and portfolio sets. Many of these portfolios have since been split and sold as individual prints – The Last Supper being a good example where from 2018 to 2022, the number of individual works from this series to sell on the market continued to increase while complete sets of this series remain rare. Another example of sets more commonly sold as individual prints is The Cure, produced In 2014, which was released as 30 individual prints as well as a complete boxed set. The complete set of these works has never hit the secondary market and individual works of these prints are more commonly found on the primary market.

The dimensions of Hirst's prints vary considerably. Many measure approximately 1m x 1m, including popular works like The Virtues, The Empresses, and Sanctum. Among the smaller prints is Love Poems, which appeared more frequently as individual prints in 2023 and as part of a complete set in 2024. Another distinctive piece is New Religion, a rare wallpaper panel created in 2005, with each edition consisting of six 2m x 2m panels.

Early Hirst editions typically ranged from around 50 to 150 copies, including additional artist's proofs (APs). However, there were exceptions, such as prints released with Paul Stolper between 2009 and 2015, which had much smaller editions of 14 or 15. More recently, prints like the Butterfly Rainbow collection and Butterfly Heartprints, created to support the NHS, were produced in editions of up to 4,150. In Hirst's latest releases with HENI, like The Beautiful Paintings and Where Land Meets The Sea, edition sizes were determined by demand. However, in his latest collaboration with HENI, The Archangels, an extension and larger format of Hirst's Cherry Blossoms, he appears to be returning to smaller editions, limited to 100 copies plus 20 APs.

What are some of Damien Hirst's most popular prints?

Hirst's Spots prints, inspired by his Pharmaceutical paintings, have consistently demonstrated their popularity in the market. His Mickey Mouse pieces have gained traction, particularly in Asian auction houses, with Mickey (blue glitter, small) making appearances twice in Japan and once in Hong Kong in 2023. Additionally, Hirst's Love prints, showcasing butterflies within vibrant heart logos, were prominently featured in 2023.

After extensive data analysis, which looks at the last 7-year performance of Hirst's prints' auction performance, these are some of the prints that we think are worth looking out for in 2024.

  1. Sandwich: Produced as part of his series The Last Supper, which appropriates pharmaceutical iconography, Sandwich is Hirst's most investable print of the past five years. The work toys with our collective visual memory, using the distinctive type face and format of drug packaging. In the place of the medicine name is the word ’Sandwich’, and in the place of the manufacturer's logo is the artist's name ’Hirst’. This particular print has experienced considerable value growth in recent years, increasing by over 375% since 2017.
  2. Vipera Lebetina: From his infamous Spots series, Vipera Lebetina presents a grid of muted-coloured spots. Like all the works in this series, this print is named after a medicine Hirst in the Physicians’ Desk Reference, a commercially published book to give information on prescription drugs. Though Hirst and his Warholian workshop have created an endless supply of Spots prints, Vipera Lebetina has been particularly popular in the past five years, experiencing approx. 355% value growth.
  3. Paper Veils: Hirst's latest series, released with HENI Primary in November 2022, is a unique collection in which the artist has used oil paint to further develop his Veils prints and paintings. The originals play on his famous Spot artworks. Paper Veils features 100 large artworks and 200 small artworks, priced at $45,000 and $25,000. Although these are original oil paintings, and their recency means that it is impossible to know yet whether they will stand the test of time, due to their availability and price point this series will appeal to buyers of his editioned prints.

Of course, when buying a print, the primary guiding factor should always be which artworks appeal to you, and which you will take most pride in owning.

To explore our full breakdown of the top 10 most investable Damien Hirst prints for 2024, read our Hirst Market Watch here.

How can you be certain a Hirst is genuine?

As with any artist who uses assistants or publishers to create his work Hirst’s print market is susceptible to counterfeits. In 2016 auction houses and dealers saw an influx of fakes and have been on guard ever since. Many Hirst prints are signed and if you’re buying through a reputable broker or auction house you should have nothing to fear. It is still important to have the correct documentation, which can prove the provenance of a work.

Some existing Hirst prints will have been authenticated by the now defunct Hirst Authentication Committee (HIAC). Where editions have been produced with a publishing house like HENI Editions, there will be an authentication certificate.

In every case, paperwork proving ownership and history should always be provided by the seller. Purchasing your print or original work through a reputable broker or auction house is also highly recommended. While many serious collectors may have works available, it is important to involve a third party to authenticate the work’s value and mediate the sale for added protection. If you need a specialist to authenticate your Hirst print, contact MyArtBroker and we can manage this process for you.

How do you check the condition of a Damien Hirst print?

Before buying it’s a good idea to examine any Hirst print in a raking light which will point out any flaws in the print or sheet. Over the years paper can buckle due to changes in temperature and humidity, or become stained or faded. Most works will come with a condition report which should explain if there is any damage, and if it is not too severe you should not be put off as an expert conservator can work wonders to bring a piece back to life, however this will come at a cost.

If you cannot view a print in person, ask the seller to provide a high-resolution photograph of the artwork – ideally without the frame and mount – so you can check for signs of damage.

Once you have purchased a print by Hirst it’s important to look after it in order to protect its value and aesthetic impact. Keep it out of direct sunlight and minimise electric light when it is not being viewed. The print should be set behind an acid free mount and UV protective glass. If unframed, prints should be stored flat and in darkness.

Find out more in our guide to restoring and caring for modern and contemporary prints.

Where can I buy a Damien Hirst print in 2024?

Prints by Hirst can be found easily through auction houses, private dealers or brokers, such as MyArtbroker. Bear in mind you will pay more when you buy via a highstreet gallery, and most auction houses will change you 25% on the hammer, plus VAT. 

Starting out collecting art this way can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. As we’ve seen above, whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned collector, one of the keys to starting to collect Damien Hirst art is buying from a trusted source. Always take expert guidance on the value, condition and provenance of a piece – something that a professional seller will be able to offer.

The most important thing is to buy from somewhere that makes the process comfortable and transparent – buying any print should be an exciting prospect, not something that makes you nervous!

Want to find Damien Hirst art for sale? Browse our Damien Hirst artworks.

If you’d like to find out more about sales formats, read our Guide to Auction versus Private Sale.

Why use MyArtBroker to find your first Damien Hirst?

At MyArtBroker we offer a safe and simple solution to buyers, connecting you directly with our expert brokers, who — if you are wishing to purchase a particular piece of Damien Hirst art to either start or grow your collection — can assist you in this search with our large network of collectors looking to buy and sell daily. Our brokers will also condition check and authenticate artworks, so you can have confidence before you buy.

A dedicated broker

MyArtBroker offers a secure space to connect you as a buyer with an expert broker— you can get to know our friendly specialists here.

Your personal broker will work with you to find the Damien Hirst you’re looking for at the price you’re willing to pay. Our experts will also condition check and authenticate artworks, so you can have confidence before you buy, as well as help arrange delivery.

We offer both the sense of trust and comfort that comes with meeting with a specialist personally, as well as the efficiency, transparency and ease of an online process.

Our network

Our global network consists of over 30,000 collectors buying and selling works daily, as well as dealers, collectors, galleries and independent experts globally that work with us to ensure we can offer the most covetable and authentic Damien Hirst works. Our website has 75,000 visitors every month, and we regularly publish pieces tracking the artist’s market performance, keep up to date with new works, auction results and news, as well as offer his updated biography and informative essays on all Damien Hirst editions.

MyArtBroker has access to a worldwide network of art collectors selling Damien Hirst artwork, so get in touch with us if you’re interested in buying an Damien Hirst print and we’ll talk you through the process.

Discover live market data against your collection

Discover live market data against your collection

The only dedicated prints portfolio management system in the world. Add your collection to track value in real time.

Track demand on our trading floor

Track demand on our trading floor

Track live demand in works from our artist's portfolios and view access to the works you're looking for.

What to <br />Invest in Now

What to
Invest in Now

Data-driven market commentary on what's driving growth, supply & demand in the Prints and Multiples market.