25 March 2020
- MyArtBroker have seen a 260% rise in enquiries in the last three weeks, with more newcomers than ever seeking refuge in Banksy, KAWS and Warhol works.
- Gold is blown out of the water as the safe-haven investment, as investors look to the Banksy market, which has returned profits of 1000%+ in the last decade.
- Sotheby’s Banksy online-only sale skyrockets with an average lot value of £45,703, and totalling £1,096,875 (excluding BP) against a presale estimate of £857,500. Works consistently flew past their presale high estimates.
- Highlights included Bomb Love which sold for £27,500 on an estimate of £7,000-£9,000, and Girl with Balloon that sold for £375,000, and a Gangsta Rat that sold for £40,000 on an estimate of £10,000-£15,000.
It’s been painful to watch. On the 13 March Bloomberg reported that investors stockpiled a record $137 billion of cash in just 5 days as the coronavirus panic sent everybody fleeing from risk, meanwhile – on the very same day – Sotheby’s launched Banksy Online a 25 lot online only auction of Banksy prints. Whilst many assume the art world would be far from people’s minds in the midst of a global pandemic Banksy magic is impenetrable, and right now Banksy prints and editions are the most liquid asset on earth. Here’s why:
Is the Banksy market the only untouchable in a global pandemic?
The Sotheby’s sale results indicate so. Ian Syer, Co-founder of MyArtBroker said: “Almost every asset class has taken heavy losses in the last few weeks as Investors seek to liquidate holdings and park their money in safe assets. We’ve seen unprecedented levels of interest from investors during this time in Banksy, Kaws and Warhol. The results so far for this weeks Sotheby’s auction look incredibly strong.”
Last year’s Sotheby’s first Banksy online only sale went head to head with the Christie’s version. The sales couldn’t have had a better climate to be selling in, launching almost a year to the day of the notorious Banksy’s shredding stunt, they both did extremely well. Less so for the consignors who would have lost significant value in consignment fees. Of course, all 44 lots sold, of which 16 sold for twice their presale mid-estimate. Highlights included a Signed Girl with Balloon which sold for £200,000 on an estimate of £60-80,000 as six bidders battled to the end. The Christie’s version entitled ‘Banksy: I can’t believe you morons actually buy this sh*t’, the title of one of Banksy’s more famous works depicting an auction house, was smaller, much like Sotheby’s present auction, containing just 30 lots. 23 of the 30 lots sold at, or well above, their presale top estimate. The star of the show was another Signed Girl with Balloon, this time a gold version which sold for £395,250 on an estimate of £150-200,000. Undeniably great results in a good climate – but in the midst of a global pandemic – can the Banksy market really be the only thing to survive unscathed by the coronavirus?
Is Banksy worth more than his weight in gold?
In a crisis there has always been gold, and predictably – whilst no one quite knows where it’s heading – its reputation as a safe haven in troubled times is proving steady with nearly three times that of last year’s average investors buying in the last month, according to the BullionVault. This is an increase on even the serious gold-buying sprees in recent history, namely mid Brexit and in September 2011 when the euro crisis raged, and London rioted.
However, at MyArtBroker we’ve been more than aware of a much more lucrative and more consistent asset on the scene for some time. A market previously inhabited by savvy contemporary art collectors-cum-investors, that we’re now seeing booming with newcomers looking for more innovative strategies. With auction records on his work soaring to the £10 million mark – meet the only asset to have reaped an almost 1000% return in the last 10 years, Banksy.
Gold, on average, has delivered investors just 1.8% since 2010. The trickier years, such as 2013 – when the market value decreased by 28% and 2015 by 12% saw investors unwilling to sell when they wanted or needed. In contrast the Banksy market’s trajectory is upwardly steady and seems unaffected by world around it, making it the most liquid asset on earth, and a much more attractive solution to your investing needs than any other market.
Our business is to service a 10,000 strong online only contemporary editions collectors’ network, and the reaction to the current crisis is clear. Investors are seeking refuge in Banksy, we’ve seen a 260% rise in enquiries since the beginning of February. Demand is better than ever and over the last year we’ve started to see a steep rise in new investors buying for the very first time. People who might not have bought art before are coming to ask us advice on where to begin, and contrary to what people might think you don’t need £40,000 to join the club.
It’s easy to see why investing in Banksy has such an appeal, it’s a market that has had consistent growth since it’s birth without the volatility. To be fair consistent growth is a bit of understatement. If you were one of the lucky few that invested in one of Banksy’s rat series pre 2010, you’ll have found a stunning increase of an almost 1000% return on your investment. Love Rat, worth just £5,000 in 2008 is now in the region of £40,000-45,000, whilst Radar Rat would have cost you about £13,500 and is now bought and sold regularly for £75,000-£80,000.
Easy and speedy, with wall appeal
It’s not just the profitability of the market that is so attractive to investors, it’s the speed at which one can liquidate assets when they need to. Whilst auction is always a wait away, as an online conduit MyArtBroker move prints around quickly and effectively, without you having to lift a finger. The demand is such that we have multiple buyers on hand and are so sure we’ll find you a buyer, that we offer 0% seller’s fees all in.
It’s not just the substantial profits involved in buying and selling Banksy editions that drives demands, it’s the ease and speed at which you can buy and sell these works. Around 70 print releases of Banksy works have been made in the past 18 years, totalling an estimated 30,000 prints altogether. It’s estimated that one-third of these prints have been signed by the artist himself, adding significant value to at least 10,000 pieces. The perfect balance between relatively available and the high demand makes trading in Banksy an enjoyable ride for investors with people trading swiftly and without the hassle – which is more than can be said for the property market, where prices are predicted to fall by 20%, knocking £28,000 off the average £234,700 selling price in 2020. And whilst US stocks see what is fast looking like the worst fall since 1987, buying a Banksy is looking like the most lucrative investment out there.
This, of course, is nothing new, but dealers are finding ways of reaching those outside of the art market. Those that spotted the opportunity and invested in Banksy over the last two decades continue to reap the rewards, acquiring – as one buyer did in 2003– an editioned canvas: Keep it Real for £80, which proved an 80% year-on-year return, worth in excess of £400,000 today.
What is more is it’s not all about the money, Banksy offers a chance to be a part of his illusive legacy, to own a slice of the iconic brand. JPMorgan released their verdict “As we resign ourselves to the inevitability of a large and broad-based shock to global growth, the key issue is whether we can avoid a traditional and longer-lasting recession event.” Somehow I think if your business is Banksy, everything will be alright.