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 is determinedly scornful of the art market, writing in his book Wall and Piece: “When you go to an art gallery you are simply a tourist looking at the trophy cabinet of a few millionaires.” One of his favourite themes is the idea of perceived value; how a few daubs of paint on a wall can sell for thousands. You only have to look at his 2006 piece, Morons, in which he states “I can’t believe you morons buy this shit,” to get an idea of exactly how Banksy views the art market. But, go ahead and sell your Banksy print, he might not like it, but chances are you’ll reap the benefits.
Don’t feel too bad about selling your Banksy piece. You may love it, but need to release the equity in it. You may want to buy another piece that’s a little out of your price range. You may have bought it as an investment originally. Or you’ve just have fallen out of love with the Banksy print you’ve had on your wall for a few years; hey, it could happen! After a while most people naturally want to rehang or shake things up.
So here’s our advice for the Banksy seller.
Seller Top Tips
Think of the buyer:
Buyers will be very concerned with provenance – so make sure you keep any paperwork pertaining to the piece’s purchase, especially any certificate of authentication from Pest Control. Without this the selling price will dip considerably and most auction houses, dealers or galleries will refuse to accept a piece for sale without the Certification of Authenticity.
Pest Control is the handling service who act on behalf of Banksy. By which we mean, they are the handling service, no other organisation represents Banksy in any capacity. Anyone claiming to do so is not being straight with you.
All Banksy prints come from Pest Control and legitimate Banksy prints will be authenticated by them.
If you want to sell your artwork, it is highly advisable to ensure you have paperwork which confirms the work is genuine, this can only be obtained from Pest Control themselves as described in our Pest Control Guide. Certificates of Authentication can take anywhere from two weeks to two years to come through, it is worth noting Pest Control almost always have a large backlog.
As a rule, Pest Control never authenticate Banksy street art works. In part, because Banksy intended for the piece to be on the wall, in the street, part of the community in which it was created and not authenticated for sale. But equally, Banksy himself admitted that this policy is also designed to avoid implicating him in criminal activity.
Displaying the dry humour and irreverence associated with Banksy himself, Pest Control say on their website: Please be aware that because many Banksy pieces are created in an advanced state of intoxication the authentication process can be lengthy and challenging.
Pest Control do not answer the question ‘how much is Banksy art worth’, they simply confirm the piece is 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 usually come in signed and unsigned, 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.
Unnumbered test proofs: unnumbered artist proofs are used by Banksy to test inks and the design of the piece and are generally less valuable than numbered signed/unsigned prints; but due to their creator (Banksy) they are still very collectable.
Timing is everything:
If you don’t need to sell urgently, think carefully about when you sell. If a similar piece is on the secondary market you don’t want to compete against each other and drive prices down. Wait until there seems to be a gap or evidence of a desire for the Banksy you are selling.
For example, interest in Banksy rises and falls (slightly) dependent on his activities, post his 2015 Dismaland show in Weston-super-Mare, demand was high. If a major art gallery – such as Tate Modern, or MoMA in New York – held a Banksy exhibition that would help his stock rise hugely. MyArtBroker can advise you on the current demand within the Banksy market.
Location is key:
Knowing where to sell your artwork is important, this will depend on your own level of confidence and expertise in the art market. Auction houses will appraise your work for free and help you set a reserve price. On the day, you might be lucky – or not at all. You may be up against similar lots that have the potential weaken the appeal of your piece. The auction house will also take a substantial sales fee.
Selling privately through a site like MyArtBroker is a safer bet for the inexperienced. You’ll gain access to a network of clients and the Brokers involved will know their tastes and how much you can realistically sell the piece for. They can discretely market the piece too, helping your chance of selling at the right price.
As most Banksy pieces are multiples, it’s fairly easy to get a sense of market value by looking at recent sales prices online. Research Banksy auction prices across the major auction houses to get a sense of how much your Banksy is worth. If you work with us, we can advise you on the market and the current selling landscape.
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.