If you’re looking to buy a Banksy print, (or, indeed, sell a Banksy print) whether it’s a numbered or signed Banksy print – and you’re just not sure where to start, here’s some advice.
Why buy genuine?
A Banksy art print is typically a handmade silkscreen with unique colours, on heavy duty art paper, and crisp resolution which is far superior to a cheap replica or ‘poster’. These genuine Banksy prints will hold their value.
There is an active market on online platforms which are unregulated such as Ebay, unfortunately the onus is always on the buyer to do their due diligence and this is often a minefield, Moma have a great article here.
What to pay?
Prices for Banksy art print run from a few thousand up to hundreds of thousands, based on marketability and whether you’re after a signed Banksy print or not. Only an expert can help you here if you’re not sure of worth. On the plus side, there is a very strong market for Banksy prints, so you are likely to be making a sound investment that will hold, or increase, its value – but not overnight. We say: don’t collect for collecting’s sake – buy because you love the piece.
Which piece to go for?
Certain pieces sell better than others, based on rarity and appeal. Girl With a Balloon, for example, is very highly sought after as one of Banksy’s most iconic images. Original stencil versions date back to 2002 and have cropped up from London’s East End to Jamaica – but are all now in fairly poor condition and/or sold on. Only 25 print editions of these were made (in 2005) and they rarely come to the market.
Some editions are produced in a range of colourways, with some more desirable than others. Choose Your Weapon, the famous image of a hooded youth taking one of Keith Haring’s cartoon dogs for a walk, comes in 19 colours. Only 25 were made in the bright pink, bright purple, dark orange colours so these are worth more than the grey version, of which there was an edition of 100. Even more rare are the gold and silver prints given out to a handful of ‘lucky VIPs’.
What details to look out for?
Condition: Some collectors go as far as keeping their prints lying flat in a dark place – to optimise value and will advertise the piece as having been kept this way. Try to see the work in good light before buying.
Authenticity: Banksy’s handling company Pest Control is now the only agency able to confirm that your potential purchase is genuine, with a certificate.
Pest Control became Banksy’s handler in 2009, as such any work sold before then may come with a Di-Faced Tenner – a fake £10 banknote created by Banksy featuring Princess Diana’s face, hand-numbered and then torn in two. Some may have a Pictures on Walls embossed circular stamp, which may have an edition number in it. These date back to Banksy’s previous handling service through the Pictures on Walls gallery. But, a clever forger, could copy these – so get expert help if in doubt.
In some cases – if the piece was never meant for the commercial market – it can be impossible to authenticate, so these may come with a letter of provenance. Exercise all your critical skills or get advice here.
Buy to suit your own taste and budget, try not to be swayed by others opinions – but do take expert guidance on value and condition. MyArtBroker regularly supports Banksy buyers and sellers around the world, get in touch with us if you’re interested in the Banksy market.