If you are in the market for a Banksy, then there are a few pieces of advice you should be armed with to make sure you find the right piece at the right price.
There seems to be no end to Banksy’s popularity, with 2015 seeing record numbers of visitors to his Weston-Super-Mare art experience Dismaland and 2017 seeing Girl With Balloon voted the UK’s most loved artwork.
This has led to a great deal of interest in Banksy’s work and the back catalogue of Banksy signed and unsigned prints. If you’re not quite sure where to begin, then here is a good start.
Buyer Top Tips
Always buy genuine:
A Banksy art print is typically a handmade silkscreen with unique colours, on wove art paper, with a crisp resolution which is far superior to a cheap replica or a ‘poster’. Early works such as Rude Copper were printed on a significantly thinner paper stock than the later prints, such as Stop and Search. Original Banksy canvases are usually sprayed on Loxley deep edge boxed canvas. These genuine Banksy prints, signed or unsigned will hold their value. Though of course, they are also not cheap.
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. It has been a number of years since Banksy released an edition directly to the public, when it comes to primary market releases, you can generally expect to pay less – for example when it was first released, a signed Girl With Balloon was sold for £150! Now, they sell regularly sell for over £50,000, even north of £80,000. Access to a primary market Banksy print is a rare and wonderful thing, you could be waiting a week, or you could be waiting forever.
If you want a Banksy print right now, then you’re in luck because, there is a very strong secondary market for all work. Therefore, 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 of Girl With Balloon date back to 2002 and have cropped up from London’s East End to Jamaica – but are all now in fairly poor condition. Only 25 print editions of these were made (in 2005) and they rarely come to the market. The last one that did, in 2012, sold at auction for £46,850.
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. One of the grey versions sold for $15,000 (just shy of £10,000) at Sotheby’s New York in 2010. Even more rare are the gold and silver prints given out to a handful of ‘lucky VIPs’.
Other than surprise ‘pop-up’ shops, such as one demonstrated by Banksy in New York in 2014, Pest Control is the only source from which to buy Banksy prints on the primary market – though availability is notoriously limited and infrequent, and as far as we are aware, Banksy will not be releasing any more prints to the public. There has not been a public print release since the release of Choose Your Weapon in 2010.
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 and consult an expert if you are in any doubt
Authenticity: Banksy’s handling company Pest Control is now the only agency able to confirm that your potential purchase is genuine, with a certificate. We wouldn’t advise buying a piece unless it came with a Pest Control certificate of authenticity. If you need more information about authenticity, please refer to your Pest Control Guide.
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 you have any concerns.
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 your own budget, take expert guidance on value, condition and provenance. Enjoy the piece!
Why consult MyArtBroker when buying?
Not only do we offer a secure purchasing system for the artworks we have available on our website, we also connect all our buyers with expert brokers, who — if you are wishing to purchase a particular piece of Banksy art to either start or grow your collection — can assist you in this search with their connections in the art market. Our Brokers will also condition check and authenticate artworks, so you can have confidence before you buy.
With over 10,000 collectors buying and selling artwork daily, and over 40,000 visitors to our website every month, MyArtBroker’s online platform ensures we have a worldwide network of dealers, private collectors, galleries and independent experts to ensure we make available the most covetable genuine Banksy artworks possible.
MyArtBroker has access to a worldwide network of art collectors selling Banksy artwork, so get in touch with us if you’re interested buying a Banksy print.