2020 saw the rise in popularity of the blockbuster ‘Banksy only’ sales that continued into 2021. This year however, the ‘Banksy only’ model adopted by the likes of Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Forum, flooded and threatened to destroy the market with lowering sell-through rates and a decrease in returns.
When the market boomed in mid-2020, demand was high as buyers were plenty and sellers were what everyone wanted. Prices soared in Q3 of 2020 and consignments on the public auction market shot up, thus the ‘Banksy Only’ auction was born. Many auction houses fully consigned their ‘Banksy only’ sales well in advance, sometimes a year or more before the sale and did not anticipate the turbulence of the market. Coming out of the boom, and with the Banksy market having swollen to such a degree that demand dropped below supply, collectors were contracted to sell their prints and risked a lowering of sell-through rates.
The Worst Banksy-Only Sell Through Rates in 2021
Among the worst sell through rates from Banksy-Only sales in 2021 included Bonhams’ June sale with a sell-through rate of 65%, and two Forum auctions in September and October which sold 73%, and just 56%, by lot.
Banksy has not released an edition since 2019, with his Gross Domestic Product project, and before that 2017 (Sale Ends V2) and 2010 (Choose Your Weapon), making it near impossible to acquire a Banksy print on the primary market. We work in accordance with Pest Control to allow for sizable profit on your Banksy editioned print. You can ask for a no obligation valuation from our brokers at any time.
In March 2021, the total sale value of Sotheby’s Banksy auction came to £4.09 million across 46 prints, with an average price of £88,830. September 2021’s sale totalled nearly half of March’s at £2.38 million across just 28 prints, with average print price showing a £5,000 decrease at £84,907. While this marks an opportunity for buyers to acquire a Banksy print for less, this is deeply unfavourable for sellers, for whom returns on their investment are far lower than 6 months previous.
Prints as Medium Online
During periods of instability, prints are a way to diversify your portfolio, where more traditional investment options are unstable. Investing in limited edition prints allows for a reduction of risk, balancing of performance and faster returns. Easy to photograph, upload and assess through a computer screen, the nature of the medium makes for easy management that costs less than the upkeep of other assets.
Buying a Banksy editioned print is also now considered alongside other luxury investments, where the value of the commodity lies in its uniqueness, condition, quality and also their cultural value. Limited edition prints are an especially profitable alternative investments since their value does not go down through use or consumption.
2020 marked the shift to online art market sales and saw them prosper, largely triggered by worldwide lockdowns amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Indicating that they might be here to stay, despite the return to physical sales, Hiscox found that online sales totalled at $6.8 billion in the first half of 2021 and could hit $13.5 billion by the end of this year, accounting for nearly 25% of the overall market. Consolidating this trend towards the longevity of online sales, by comparison, online sales accounted for 15.8% of all art market sales in 2020, which was up from 7.5% in 2019.
It is clear that the Banksy Boom that took place during the pandemic, partly due to the move online while physical auctions could not take place, is still having an effect on the market now. Just as online sales are here to stay, so too is Banksy, whose work, always authenticated by Pest Control, is ideally suited to the online art market.