UPDATED MARCH 2020
Thinking about selling your Banksy collection or even just selling a Banksy print? The first question you’ll want to ask is How much is my Banksy art worth?
Answer? How much is anything worth?
Banksy’s relationship with the art market is notoriously complicated. The mischievous artist has a long history of formulating tongue-in-cheek critiques of the commercial art world through his work, starting from an earlier work from 2006, Morons, in which he states “I can’t believe you morons buy this shit,” up to the incident in 2018 at Sotheby’s Auction House, where his Girl with Balloon print theatrically shredded itself moments after it had been sold for just over £1m, and his guerrilla art shop Gross Domestic Product offering all his artworks for sale for a limited time in 2019.
However, Banksy’s provocative approach vis-a-vis the art market shouldn’t keep you from selling one of his works – you are certain to reap the benefits, with a 1000% return in the last decade the market is the playground for more than just art collectors looking for wall appeal. To ensure your Banksy ends up in the right hands, for the right price, in the right condition and at the right time, here’s our advice for selling a Banksy.
Seller Top Tips
Think of the buyer:
Buyers will be primarily concerned with provenance – make sure you keep any paperwork pertaining to the piece’s purchase. Without this the selling price will dip considerably and most auction houses, dealers or galleries will refuse to accept a piece.
Pest Control are the handling service acting on behalf of Banksy – there is no other organisation representing Banksy in any legitimate capacity. Certificates of Authentication, which confirm the work is genuine, can only be obtained from Pest Control themselves as described in our Pest Control Guide. These can take anywhere from two weeks to two years to come through – Pest Control almost always has a large backlog.
Pest Control never authenticates Banksy street art works, partially because Banksy intended these to be a part of public space, and partially to avoid his implication in any criminal activity. They also won’t be able to tell you the value of your Banksy piece, but simply confirm if it’s legitimate.
Pictures On Walls (Pictures on Walls are the sole publisher of Banksy prints – Pest Control is a subdivision of Pictures on Walls) mainly use wove paper to produce prints, early works such as Rude Copper were printed on a much thinner stock of paper than later prints such as Stop and Search. Original canvases are usually sprayed on Loxley deep edge boxed canvas.
The condition of a piece will affect value; make sure you’ve kept your piece pristine – if in doubt about the value of a Banksy or how to price your Banksy, speak to an art dealer who can help. If your Banksy artwork is not in perfect condition, it might be necessary to restore the piece, which will definitely require expert involvement to assess the damage and made good.
We work with a number of conservation specialists who are able to restore works. One of the most common restoration needs for prints is flattening: if the print is cockled i.e. wavy (paper can contort over time due to changes in atmosphere, temperature etc.) then it will need to be pressed and flattened. Sometimes tape will need to be removed from the back of the print, a number of methods can be used ranging from a heated spatula to a crepe eraser – if this is not done by a professional it can result in skinning: when the tape is removed some of the paper fibres are lifted off the paper – which is effectively damage and reduces the artwork’s value.
Signed or Unsigned:
Banksy’s prints come signed and unsigned, in numbered editions – the total number in each edition varies, but is typically between 600-750. The lion’s share of these prints will be unsigned and a small proportion (usually around 150) will be hand signed. For obvious reasons – the smaller numbers and hand signed prints are more collectable than unsigned prints, signed prints are therefore typically fetch more. But due to the phenomenal demand for any Banksy artworks, both signed and unsigned limited edition prints are highly collectable.
As for unnumbered test proofs, these are used by Banksy to test inks and the design of the piece and are generally less valuable than numbered signed/unsigned prints, but still highly collectable.
When is the best time to sell a Banksy print?
It’s worth thinking carefully about when you sell – if a similar piece is on the secondary market at the same time as your you don’t want to compete against it, as it could drive prices down. Wait until there seems to be a gap or evidence of a desire for the Banksy you are selling. Interest in Banksy can rise dependent on his activities. For instance, demand was high after his Sotheby’s auction stunt in 2018, his prank on the Venice Biennale in 2019 presenting the kitsch work Venice in Oil that gained him over 40.6 million Instagram views, or the famous British rapper Stormzy’s Glastonbury performance in 2019 when he wore a Union Jack vest designed by Banksy, winning the artist an exposure of over 100,000 people.
If a major art gallery or museum – such as Tate Modern, or MoMA – held a Banksy exhibition that would help his stock rise hugely. MyArtBroker can advise you on the current demand within the Banksy market at any given time, so don’t hesitate to ask for advice on the market more generally.
Where to sell:
When you’re ready an important practical question is who you choose to offer your Banksy piece with. This will depend on many variables including your confidence, experience and knowledge of how the art market operates. If you decide to go with an auction house, they will first hold a consultation with you with one of their specialists to determine authenticity, condition and value and the right sale for the piece. The actual sale from this point on can take 2-3 months and includes you having to pay for transport and tend to all administrative paperwork. On the day of the sale, your Banksy will stand a safe chance given its strong market, however luck will still pay a significant role, as well as other similar auction lots that may drive your piece’s appeal down. Bear in mind auction houses also take a substantial fee – the commission of houses such as Christie’s or Sotheby’s can be up to 15%. In addition, you also must pay for the catalogue, marketing and in case your lot hasn’t sold, pay the unsold fees (approximately 1.5% of the average of the high and low estimate). You can find out more about the pros and cons of selling at auction here.
Many sellers, especially those who are new to the art market, turn to public online platforms with a guaranteed large audience, such as eBay. Indeed your post will reach a wide demographic, however alongside the significant risk of a fake or difficult buyer, there is also a smaller chance that the piece will end up in a prestigious collection or with a knowledgeable, sensitive buyer who will further support the artist and the work or bear a significant positive impact on his market.
Choosing a private platform such as MyArtBroker is a secure bet for both the inexperienced and the veteran collector. We provide access to a network of brokers, assigning you a personal expert to give you specialist advice on pricing, authentication, condition checking and delivery, and connect you with all relevant fields of the Banksy market, whether it’s buyers of sellers. Such a comprehensive service would only be available through an auction house if your lot was a part of an Evening Sale. Due to our network we can turn a valuation around for you within 48 hours, and aim to sell your work not long after, all at a 0% seller’s fee. We can offer all this without a fee because our business is built heavily on digital innovation and marketing, rather than bricks and mortar – a strategy we know works ideally for our existing network of over 10,000 investors and collectors, and our specialist brokers.
As most Banksy pieces are multiples, it’s fairly easy to get a sense of market value by looking at recent sale prices online. Research Banksy auction prices across the major auction houses to get a sense of how much your Banksy is worth, then dig deeper and go to a specialist that works within the private market to advise you on the current selling landscape, you might be surprised.
Signed, numbered prints are valued more highly than test proofs (the un-numbered proofs made to test out inks and the look of the piece), all are collectable in the right market conditions.
Why Sell With MyArtBroker?
Our Support Network:
If you feel you lack knowledge in the art market or how to sell your artworks online, we will introduce you to your own personal broker who is there to put your mind at ease, find you a buyer and guide you through the easy step-by-step process. As we value your prints as much as you do, our brokers will always ensure they negotiate the best price for you.
At an auction, you may be lucky on the day with selling your piece, but there is also the possibility that the piece may not sell or will be devalued by other works being sold on that particular day – we will advise you of the optimum time to sell your piece of art, so you can achieve the best price possible.
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 private collectors and galleries to help you find the right buyer at the right price. Thanks to its online platform we are also able to market your piece discreetly, further increasing your chances of selling.
Because of the immediate nature of the internet and our vast digital network, things can move incredibly quickly when selling a Banksy print as demand is so high – you could find that our brokers have found you a buyer to pay and collect the artwork within as little as 48hrs, depending on the collectability of the print.
If you would like to sell a Banksy print, get in touch with us.