As the owner or potential buyer of a masterpiece, auction is a wonderful place to buy and sell truly unique original paintings. Banksy’s most expensive works ever sold, offer wonderful examples of how the spectacle of auction works its magic. You only have to watch the sale of Devolved Parliament to see how a room, telephone and internet of bidders make prices soar when the work in question offers some lucky buyer the often once in a lifetime opportunity for a specific work of art.

However, do not be lured in by Sotheby’s and Christie’s dedicated online-only Banksy sales, which comprises mainly prints. Christie’s aptly-named auction Banksy: I can’t believe you morons actually buy this sh*t, broke the auction record for a Banksy print in September 2020, when a very rare Girl with Balloon – Colour AP (Purple) from an edition of just 88 artist proofs sold for £791,250, on an estimate of £250,000-£350,000. Whilst they’ve sourced and sold some record-breaking results for highly unique works, the fees you’ll pay to sell your Banksy print will rarely return you more than on the private market.

‘I Can’t Believe You Morons Actually’… Sell Like This

Banksy Morons Signed Print

Banksy’s I Can’t Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit

The very nature of editions means there is never just one chance at an artwork, making the fundamentals of auction frankly much less exciting to all concerned. With editions, if the price isn’t right for the buyer at that moment of sale, there is no particular incentive to keep bidding, a prints auction (whether live or online), lacks the once-in-a-lifetime energy reserved for a masterpiece. There is always an opportunity elsewhere for a print from the same series. In the case of Girl with Balloon – Colour AP (Purple), as an edition of 88, there are another 87 potential opportunities.

Here’s our guide to why so many Banksy print sellers are turning their back on auction, in favour of convenient and lucrative collector networks.

With major contemporary art collectors looking for the best return on their investments it’s no wonder the trends are favouring online platforms offering the same global reach and world class expertise as leading auction houses, for a fraction of the price. If you are looking to sell your Banksy print exactly when you want, without cost, and without ever having to move the work until it’s sold (these are the demands of most of our clients) then most auction houses simply can’t help. At MyArtBroker our objective is to return you the same as you would have at auction, at time convenient to you, on your terms and without risk.

At MyArtBroker our seller’s fees are always at 0%, you have the ability to sell whenever you want, at the very best time to release the value of your work, and what is more, as far as Banksy goes, we own the largest dedicated international online network of buyers and sellers of contemporary and modern prints and editions in the world, and as a specialist online platform, that audience is undiluted and focuses primarily on Banksy collectors.

‘There are few better opportunities for financial growth to be found… Banksy is a growing investment asset for those looking to diversify their portfolio, and we’re very pleased to be able to offer one of the few dedicated networks of like-minded collectors to service that growing need.” Ian Syer, Founder of MyArtBroker

How does Auction Work & What Does it Cost to Sell?

Auction works by taking a commission off the buyer and the seller. At auction you’ll pay 15% of the hammer price to sell, and 25% plus VAT to buy. The traditional auction model takes food off both sides of the table. Let’s look at how it works if you want to sell at auction:

  • Choose an auction house and approach them, first off is the task of finding the right auction for your Banksy print, this will be in consultation with one the house’s specialists, who will normally want to see the work in person, will advise on pricing strategy, and then suggest which sale would be best for it.
  • The slated auction will likely be a few months down the line even if the auction is soon, consignment deadlines are usually 2 to 3 months prior to the next auction day.
  • Once everything is decided between you and the specialist, an administrator will contact you with your paperwork. It will be then be up to you to manage and pay for the work to be shipped to the auction house’s storage facility ahead of the auction. The auction may be 2 to 3 months down the line as auction seasons are static, and you may be asking, particularly with a print to wait until the auction after that one if they have one from the same series already consigned. This is so that two prints from the same series don’t unappreciated each other.
  • If the work sells at auction you will receive payment a few weeks after the sale completes.
  • If it doesn’t sell you’ll be expected to manage and pay for the safe return of your work, and pay the unsold fees to the auction house – often 1.5% of the average of the high and low estimate they catalogue it at.
  • You will then have anything from two weeks to a month to collect the unsold work from their storage facility before it starts accruing storage fees.

How Do Auction Fees Work?

The seller’s commission at auction houses such as Christie’s or Sotheby’s is 15%, on top of that you’ll be asked to pay shipping, LDL (loss, damage and liability insurance), as well as a hefty marketing and cataloguing fee. These are negotiable fees when it comes to consignment and in the case of masterworks auction house will offer to waive the cost of selling for works of great value. A rare offer in their Prints and Multiples auctions.

As a buyer from an auction house you’ll await the auction date and either be there in person, or you can be logged in online at the right time at the right lot (they recommend allowing 60-100 lots per hour), or you’ll leave an absentee bid and hope for the best. If you are in the right place, at the right time with deep enough pockets and manage to win the lot, you will pay 25% on anything you bid up to and including £225,000. You’ll then pay VAT on that commission, and in most cases you’ll be required to produce identification details prior to bidding.

What does it cost to sell privately, via MyArtBroker?

Nothing. We now offer 0% seller’s fee – guaranteed, with no hidden fees. You make contact, we assign you a dedicated broker, you agree a price, we offer your work immediately, and start looking for a buyer. Once a buyer is found and the funds are cleared, we pay for and help ship the work direct, no storage facility needed. That’s it. We do not ask that the work leaves your possession during sale, though we can recommend and facilitate storage if you need us to. We do not hold you to a date to offer your work, neither do we charge for marketing it to our 10,000 strong collector network.

How can we offer this service at 0% sellers commission and auction houses can’t?

There is a lot of cost attached to operating the archaic functionality of an auction house, and whilst we invest heavily in digital innovation and put marketing your work at the top of our priority list, we can offer all this via our existing network, specialist marketing team and art brokers. Having operated in the Banksy editions market since its hay day in 2010, we’ve been listening to our buyers and sellers and adapting the platform and network in a way that’s important to them. Read more in our Testimonials.

For buyers we offer the time to carefully consider each purchase without the pressures of a live auction room, and can bring a greater selection of artworks to market in a simple, secure way. Our brokers are specialists in their fields and as we act as a conduit between buyers and sellers, we pride ourselves on on compromised market advice to first time buyers and sellers.

How to Sell Contemporary and Modern Prints Online

Speak to experts, do not try and field this alone. MyArtBroker specialise in Modern and Contemporary Prints online.

Art will always be a tangible and very personal investment, an online platform alone – however smart – isn’t enough to sustain the new collecting market, and certainly not the previous generation of collectors with substantial inventory. When you want to sell with MyArtBroker you are assigned a personal broker with experience in the artist market that you’re selling, they will guide you through the whole process, find the right artwork or buyer, and even offer to handle the process of authentication, price negotiation, and delivery. The clincher being that we provide a comprehensive and personal service that you simply wouldn’t get at auction house unless you are consigning the Evening Sale’s top lot. The major galleries and auction houses are doing their best to compete by partnering with online channels but as masterworks and highly unique pieces are slated for the big live evening sales, the online portion tends to equate to a secondary tier in quality  both in terms of the buyers’ attention and the auction house’s specialists time.

How to Sell Art Safely Online

Use a secure platform, read testimonials and speak to experts. Our brokers can help guide you in the right direction. While the issue of artist authenticity was an early stumbling block for the online art trade, there is growing trust in online buying platforms as businesses gather pace, reviews, and reputations. Platforms such as eBay have tried to offer the same solution but just aren’t safe enough. The Banksy market is riddled with fakes. Buying through a fine art professional offers absolute assurance.

We offer the opportunity to post listings for wanted artworks within a global community of buyers and sellers – ideal for collectors searching for particular works that are more difficult to come by. Search and post Art Wanted here.

With 75% of new online buyers stating that they were driven by value potential more than any other motivator in 2020 it’s easy to see why both buyers and sellers have well and truly woken up to the opportunities of the online market and how the crowds are following suit. Join us today.


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