Updated January 2021
Banksy’s print prices on the secondary market have skyrocketed by 83% since the start of the year. Here we reveal the auction records for every major Banksy print, what the market is demanding, and why.
In April 2019, an edition of Banksy’s Bomb Love sold for HK$112,500 at Sotheby’s. The same print was offered at Phillips in October 2020, where it was conservatively estimated at HK$60,000-80,000. It realised HK$525,000 – six times its high estimate and five times what it sold for 18 months ago.
Demand for Banksy artworks is at a record high. Christie’s and Sotheby’s have held three online auctions dedicated to Banksy prints. The first, Sotheby’s Banksy | Online in March, totalled $1.4 million over 25 lots. 47% of the buyers were new to Sotheby’s and 30% were under 40 years old. The auction house followed up with another Banksy online sale in September, which totalled over £2 million with just 23 lots. Meanwhile, Christie’s September Banksy online auction totalled £2.1 million with 22 lots.
View Top Prices Achieved for Banksy Prints by Series
- Bomb Love
- Choose Your Weapon
- CND Soldiers
- Flying Copper
- Girl With Balloon
- Happy Choppers
- Love Is In The Air
- Monkey Queen
- Pulp Fiction
- Rude Copper
- Placard Rats
- Love Rat
- Radar Rat
- Gangsta Rat
The Banksy Print: The Most Investable Asset on the Market
Banksy’s anti-establishment outlook is more relevant than ever, particularly in the global pandemic when authorities have a tighter grip on people’s lives. For those looking to buy a piece of Banksy’s rebelliousness, the price of his prints is relatively more affordable. An original canvas by Banksy can sell for hundreds of thousands, even millions, on the secondary market; an edition of the same image might be obtained for tens of thousands, making it more attractive to younger or emerging buyers. Read our guide to the most affordable Banksy works.
Secondly, all genuine Banksy artworks come with a certificate from his authentication body, Pest Control. This proof of authenticity makes buying a Banksy an almost fake-proof purchase. First-time art buyers get a sense of security that they may not have with another artist, particularly if they are buying online and cannot check the artwork in person.
Banksy hasn’t released any new prints in years (the last was Sale Ends V2 in 2017 and, before that, Choose Your Weapon in 2010), which means the artworks on the market are becoming rarer. With Covid plummeting traditional assets like gold, property and stock, many investors are diversifying their portfolio into art and driving up demand. As proven by Bomb Love, those who purchased a Banksy even last year are now laughing their way to the bank.
Of course, hindsight is 20-20. The best time to buy a Banksy was 2004, when a signed edition of Girl With Balloon (with an iconic red balloon) would have cost you £150 – they now sell for well over £400,000. The second best time to buy is now.
The artwork was originally stencilled in London’s Southbank in 2002, accompanied by the message ‘There is always hope’. Seen as a symbol of love, loss of innocence and optimism – much-needed in these uncertain times – Girl With Balloon is recognised and adored across the world. Even singer Justin Bieber has a version tattooed on his arm.
Girl With Balloon consistently rocks the art world. An original stencil on the image, sprayed on the back of a cardboard backing from an Ikea frame, made headlines in March 2012 when it sold for £73,250 at Bonhams’ Urban Art auction.
Most recently and controversially, a signed canvas of Girl With Balloon self-destructed at a Sotheby’s evening auction in October 2018. Half destroyed by a secret shredder hidden in the frame, it was later legally designated as a new work of art by Pest Control, Banksy’s authentication body, and renamed Love Is In The Bin. Some suspected that Sotheby’s was in cahoots with Banksy all along, others think not; either way, Love Is In The Bin is the most talked-about stunt on the art market.
For all its fame, Girl With Balloon is one of the rarest and most sought-after of Banksy’s prints. The most famous variation of the print is the girl with a red balloon – modelled after the graffiti artwork – which Banksy released in 2004 (600 unsigned and 150 signed editions). But less known is that in the same year, Banksy also released a limited number of Girl With Balloon artist’s proofs (AP) prints with different coloured balloons, including purple, blue, pink and gold (88 signed in total).
What’s the auction record for Banksy’s Girl with Balloon series?
The current auction record for a Girl With Balloon print is £791,250, paid for a rare Girl With Balloon – Colour AP (Purple) at Christie’s in September 2020.
Love is In The Air, also known as Flower Thrower, first appeared as a stencilled graffiti on the West Bank Wall, Jerusalem, in 2003. The wall was already a giant canvas for art and text protesting against its construction. Love is In The Air depicts a masked rioter in the middle of throwing a bouquet of flowers – turning an act of violence and aggression into a symbol of love and peace.
The artwork is among Banksy’s most famous images. It featured on the cover of Banksy’s book, Wall and Piece, in 2005, and has been unofficially reproduced on t-shirts, phone covers and other merchandise around the world. Most recently, the work made headlines in September 2020 when Banksy lost his trademark for the artwork to a greeting card company – the anonymous street artist could not prove he was the creator of Love is In The Air without revealing his identity.
Beyond the stencilled image, Banksy has created Love is In The Air as several canvases, as well as a limited edition screenprint in 2003 (500 unsigned and 150 signed editions).
What’s the auction record for Banksy’s Love is in the Air series?
The current auction record for a Love is In The Air print is US$687,500, realised for an AP sold in Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Day Sale on 3 December 2020.
“Rats represent the triumph of the little people. The undesirables and the unloved. Despite the efforts of the authorities, they’ve survived, they’ve flourished, and they’ve won,” Banksy wrote in the run-up to his 2005 London exhibition Crude Oils, which featured 164 live rats in the gallery space.
Rats are one of Banksy’s greatest inspirations, which he uses to represent the pitfalls of society, work and consumerism.
This series shows three individual protesting rats. Because I’m Worthless is a pun on L’Oreal famous marketing tagline “Because I’m Worth it”; Get Out While You Can is taken from George Marshall’s business book on how to escape the rat race, and Welcome To Hell is a nihilistic greeting to modern life. Each of the three Placard Rat artworks was released in 75 signed and 175 unsigned editions.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Placard Rat series?
The current auction record for a Placard Rat print is £144,300 for a Welcome to Hell, from Forum Auctions London on 7 December 2020. Read our Guide to Banksy Rats.
Banksy first created Love Rat as a graffiti piece in Liverpool, then released the artwork as a screenprint in 2004, with 150 signed and 600 unsigned editions. Given that “love rat” is another name for an adulterer, Banksy has joked that Love Rat prints would make an “ideal [gift] for a cheating spouse”.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Love Rat series?
The current auction record for a Love Rat print is £137,500, from Tate Ward Auctions on 9 December 2020.
Created in 2004, Radar Rat (also called Sonic Rat) was released in only 75 signed editions. It is now among Banksy’s rarest and most desirable Rat prints due to its small edition size. The hand-painted spiral behind the rat can be red or orange. On its original release, Radar Rat cost £300.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Radar Rat series?
The current auction record for a Radar Rat is €47,212, (£42,328) from Digard auction house in Paris on 1 June 2015.
Depicting an urban rat with a New York Mets cap, a thick chain necklace and a boom-box stereo, Gangsta Rat pays tribute to rap and hip-hop fashion of the 1980s and ’90s. The ‘iPOW’ tag, meanwhile, is a parody of Apple branding and also references Banksy’s then-print publisher, Pictures on Walls. Banksy has created numerous iterations of Gangsta Rat, including graffiti pieces in London in 2004 and 2006, and in New York in 2013.
The first Gangsta Rat print, with a red ‘iPOW’, was released in 2004 as 150 signed and 350 unsigned editions. In 2015, Banksy released new editions in pink (46), mint green (8), green (20), orange (61), blue (61) and grey for special VIP collectors for Dismaland in Weston-super-Mare (61).
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Gangsta Rat series?
The current auction record for a Gangsta Rat print is £149,500 for a red edition, from Forum Auctions London’s sale on 7 December 2020.
Banksy’s notorious anti-war artwork was first stencilled outside the Houses of Parliament in 2001, during an anti-war protest by campaigner Brian Haw. Although authorities later removed the original mural, CND Soldiers has lived on as a defiant political statement against violence.
CND Soldiers was released as a silkscreen print in 2005 (350 unsigned and 350 signed editions).
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s CND Soldiers series?
The current auction record for a CND Soldiers is £93,600, from Forum Auctions London’s sale on 7 December 2020.
Also known as CWSB or Consumer Jesus, Christ with Shopping Bags was released in 2004 as only 82 signed edition prints. Unusually for Banksy, the image was made only as an edition and is not based off a graffiti artwork. Christ with Shopping Bags is a clear satire of shopping as the new ‘opium of the people’. Jesus, weighed down by retail therapy (which includes a candy cane and a Mickey Mouse toy), contrasts consumerism with the values of Christianity – charity, generosity and gratitude.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Christ with Shopping Bags series?
The current auction record for a Christ with Shopping Bags print is £175,000, from Christie’s online auction on 10–23 September 2020.
Also known as Umbrella Girl and Rain Girl, Nola first appeared on the streets of New Orleans (also called Nola) in 2008, three years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The image of a girl being rained on from inside the umbrella is a criticism of the Louisiana government’s lack of support and even complicity – what was supposed to offer protection actually created more damage.
Nola was first released as a print with white raindrops (289 signed editions), then later with coloured rain – including grey (63 signed editions), neon orange (32 signed editions), neon yellow (31 signed editions) and multicoloured rain (66 signed editions).
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Nola series?
The current auction record for a Nola print is £226,800, paid for a Nola (Green Rain) at Sotheby’s online auction in September 2020.
Choose Your Weapon, or CYW, first appeared on the wall of a pub in Bermondsey, London, in 2010. The work depicts a hooded man walking a cartoon dog – a clear homage to American Pop artist Keith Haring’s barking dog motif. Haring, like Banksy, also found fame through his street art around New York in the early 1980s. The message behind Choose Your Weapon refers to dogs becoming an alternative weapon on the streets of the UK. Limited edition prints of the artwork were released in 2010, in 18 different colours.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Choose Your Weapon series?
The current auction record for a Choose Your Weapon print is HK$1,890,000 (£181,485), paid for a Choose Your Weapon (Lemon) at Phillips in Hong Kong on 4 December 2020.
Flying Copper first appeared in Banksy’s first major exhibition, Turf War, in East London in 2003. Though made almost 20 years ago, the satirical contrast between the heavily armed police officer and his cartoonish smiley face remains timely and important in 2020’s struggles with police violence.
The artwork was first released as screenprints in 2003, one variation with a pink background (63 signed editions), one with a blue background (600 unsigned and 150 signed editions) and one blue-background variation with a pink smiley face.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Flying Copper series?
The current auction record for a Flying Copper print is HK$819,000 (£78,643) from Phillips in Hong Kong on 4 December 2020.
Also called Bomb Hugger or Bomb Girl, Bomb Love explores the clash between love and war, even suggesting that love can conquer all. Banksy made the first version of the artwork as a mural in East London in 2003, then in Brighton a few months later.
Banksy first released Bomb Love as a screen print in 2005, featuring a fluorescent pink background (600 unsigned and 150 signed editions). Over the years, he has reproduced the image in different colour variations, on canvas and on placards.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Bomb Girl series?
The current auction record for a Bomb Love (Bomb Hugger) is £128,700, from Forum Auctions London’s sale on 27 October 2020.
The original Rude Copper was sprayed as a mural in London and featured two police officers. The image follows many of Banksy’s works that criticise the authorities figures, like Flying Copper and CND Soldiers. The screenprint of Rude Copper, debuted in 2002, is considered Banksy’s first commercial print. The most sought-after version is an extremely rare signed edition, featuring a hand-finished spraypaint mark over the policeman. There also exist 250 unsigned editions.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Rude Copper series?
The current auction record for a Rude Copper is £162,500, for a screenprint with a unique yellow spray paint from Forum Auctions London’s sale on 4 September 2020.
Barcode, sometimes referred to as Barcode Leopard, is an early Banksy print released in 2004 (150 signed and 600 unsigned editions). The image calls attention to the illegal black-market trade for big cats, with the barcode attempting to bind animals with consumerism. The barcode imagery is a longstanding motif of Banksy’s – the graffiti artist reportedly stencilled it on a wall in Bristol in 1999 or 2000, before he moved to London.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Barcode series?
The current auction record for a Barcode print is £136,500, from Forum Auctions London’s sale on 7 December 2020.
Unlike most of Banksy’s screenprints, Donuts was never originally a graffiti work. The image was first created on canvas in 2009 with a pink doughnut and was later released as a print in two colourways – 299 signed Strawberry Donuts editions (pink) and 299 signed Chocolate Donuts editions (brown). The 299 edition number references Krispy Kreme Doughnuts closing 299 stores in 2007. Donuts has been interpreted in many ways, from the idea that it is a parody of overzealous cops in American pop culture to the argument that authorities only protect corporate interests.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Donuts series?
The current auction record for a Donuts print is £247,000 for a Donuts (Special Edition – Chocolate), from Forum Auctions London’s sale on 7 December 2020.
Never afraid to bite the hand that feeds him, Morons is Banksy’s satirical response to the auction world. The image references Christie’s record-breaking sale of Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers in 1987 but, instead of the painting, Banksy has scrawled ‘I can’t believe you moron actually buy this shit’.
The first Morons screenprint, an edition of 100 unsigned prints, was released at the artist’s Los Angeles exhibition Barely Legal in 2006, where it sold for $500 apiece. The artwork was later rereleased in different colours as both signed and unsigned editions.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Morons series?
The current auction record for a Morons print is HK$907,200 (£87,113), from Phillips in Hong Kong on 4 December 2020.
One of Banksy’s earliest and most recognisable works, Laugh Now was originally a six-metre long mural commissioned for the Ocean Rooms nightclub in Brighton. The artwork was released as a print in 2003, with 150 signed and 600 unsigned editions. The original work from Ocean Rooms sold at Bonhams in 2008 for nearly half a million dollars, setting an auction record price for Banksy at the time.
What’s the auction record for Banksy’s Laugh Now series?
The current auction record for a Laugh Now print is HK$882,000 (£84,693) from Phillips in Hong Kong on 4 December 2020.
“We should have shotguns for this kind of deal,” Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) famously grumbled in Pulp Fiction. Banksy’s homage to Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 movie shows the lead characters Jules and Vincent (John Travolta) holding not pistols but, more absurdly, bright yellow bananas.
The image was originally a graffiti work sprayed near London’s Old Street station in 2002. Banksy released it as 150 signed and 600 unsigned edition prints in 2004. The original graffiti was removed by authorities in 2007 but Banksy later made a new Pulp Fiction street art – turning the previous concept on its head, this time the characters held real pistols but wore banana costumes.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Pulp Fiction series?
The current auction record for a Pulp Fiction print is £137,750, from Bonhams in London on 15 December 2020.
HMV, also called His Master’s Voice or Rocket Dog, shows music firm HMV’s terrier dog mascot taking a bazooka rocket to the gramophone. The work was first tagged in Bristol in 2003 and has been interpreted as Banksy’s criticism of the corporate music industry, as well as youth taking a shot at archaic conservatism. Banksy released 150 signed and 600 unsigned editions of HMV in 2003. The artwork also exists as unique works on canvas.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s HMV series?
The current auction record for an HMV print is £80,600, from Forum Auctions London’s auction on 27 October 2020.
Happy Choppers is one of Banksy’s many works denouncing the military. The contrast between the menacing weaponry and the cute pink bow mocks the machoism of warfare, while also suggesting the military’s attempts to appear as a harmless peace enforcer is fooling no one.
Happy Choppers first appeared as a graffiti at London’s Whitecross Street Market in 2002. Banksy released the artwork as a screen print a year later – with 150 signed editions, of which 33 were artist’s proofs, and 600 unsigned editions.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Happy Choppers series?
The current auction record for a Happy Choppers print is £106,250, in Christie’s online auction from 10–23 September 2020.
Grannies was created as an original screenprint for Banksy’s Barely Legal exhibition in Los Angeles in 2006. In this work, two elderly ladies knit jumpers that say “Punk’s Not Dead” and “Thug For Life” while they sip a pot of tea. The artwork has been read as older generations supporting the youth movement but also, conversely, as a criticism that all counterculture eventually becomes mainstream and socially acceptable.
Grannies was first released as 100 unsigned editions for Banksy‘s Barely Legal exhibition in 2006. The artwork was then re-released a year later in 150 signed editions and 600 unsigned editions, as well as 11 hand-finished signed prints.
What’s the auction record for any one of Banksy’s Grannies series?
The current auction record for a Grannies print is £60,480, in Sotheby’s online auction from 9–18 September 2020.
Chimpanzees, like rats, are one of Banksy’s trademark motifs. The primates feature from his early works like Laugh Now to the auction record breaking canvas, Devolved Parliament. An artwork of Monkey Queen made headlines in 2002 when authorities tried to remove it from the window of a Gloucestershire youth club called The Chill Out Zone, deeming the work inappropriate in the run-up to Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. The youth leaders at the club eventually replaced Monkey Queen with a poster of the Union Jack.
Banksy released the artwork in 2003 as an edition of 600 unsigned and 150 signed prints.
What’s the auction record for Banksy’s Monkey Queen series?
The current auction record for a Monkey Queen print is £70,200, from Forum Auctions London’s auction on 27 October 2020.
For anyone who has mourned the loss of a good deal, Sale Ends is for you. The artwork was first created as 100 unsigned editions for Banksy’s infamous Barely Legal exhibition in Los Angeles in 2006, where it was sold for $500 apiece. A year later, the graffiti artist’s then-print publisher Picture on Walls released an additional 150 signed editions.
In 2017, when Pictures On Walls announced they had ‘been taken over by venture anti-capitalists and will cease trading’ at the end of the year, they held a closing down sale where – appropriately – they released a few remaining editions of Sale Ends, as well as 500 prints of a reworked version now known as Sale Ends V2.
What’s the auction record for Banksy’s Sale Ends series?
The current auction record for a Sale Ends print is £52,920 for a Sale Ends V2, from Sotheby’s online auction from 9–18 September 2020.
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