Di Faced Tenners by Banksy

Di Faced Tenners Banksy

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Banksy’s early work, Di Faced Tenners was released in 2004. It represents a sheet of five counterfeit £10 notes, printed on both sides, released in a signed edition of just 50. The work’s relatively low edition size contributes to its high demand from collectors. Another rare edition of 32 was also released as an artist proof edition.

‘Di Faced’ is a pun on the word ‘defaced’ and refers to the fact that here Banksy has altered the familiar £10 note by replacing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with that of the late Princess Diana. The piece can be seen as a comment on Diana’s estrangement of Diana from the royal family, her critique of the British royal institution, and the hounding by the press that ensued. Instead of ‘Bank of England’, the note reads, ‘Banksy of England’. Under the banner, an inscription reads, ‘I promise to pay the bearer on demand the ultimate price’, a reference to the fate of the late Princess, at the hands of the media.

The reverse side of the print remains mainly unchanged except for the motto ‘Trust No One’ written in the lower-right corner, beneath the portrait of Charles Darwin. The note is printed with inks on paper near identical to that used on official UK-issued currency.

At least 100,000 Di Faced Tenners were printed by Banksy in August 2004 – in total £1,000,000 in fake currency. Banksy created them for a public art stunt which involved dropping a suitcase full of the fake tenners into the crowd at the Notting Hill Carnival and at the Reading Festival. Some of these counterfeit notes were used by festival-goers as actual currency.

Unlike American artist J.S. Boggs, who is famous for his hand-drawn depictions of notes, Banksy was never wanted for any counterfeiting charges. A suitcase with Di Faced Tenners was also exhibited at Santa’s Ghetto, a show held at Charing Cross Road in December 2004. In his film Exit Through the Gift Shop, Banksy explains how he forged around £100,000,000 of notes – nearly all of which are supposedly still in his possession.

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