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Banksy Prints 2021 Annual Auction Report

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2021 Annual Report
Banksy Prints Auction Market

 

CURRENTLY BEING UPDATED
PLEASE COME BACK FOR MORE

In Partnership with
www.banksy-value.com

 

The market for Banksy Prints has grown significantly in value and volume, especially over the past 6 years, and even more since the beginning of 2020. All major auction houses are now organizing online sales dedicated to the artist, several times a year. Prices have increased drastically over the course of the second half of 2020 (more than three-fold on average), at a scale that never occurred in the art market before. As a consequence, the strong appetite of sellers and of auctions houses substantially increased the offering which resulted in higher volatility and various ‘price corrections’ for selected prints in 2021, as compared to their peak value achieved in 2020.

 

2021 Auction Statistics



1. Total Auction Revenues


543 Banksy Prints sold at auction in 2021 for a total of GBP 41,568,247 (USD 57,477,787). This compares to a total of GBP 26,618,125 generated by 396 lots in 2020, representing an increase of over 56%. This is the highest amount ever generated by Banksy prints at auction during a calendar year.
2019 Auction Revenues were just over GBP 7 million, 2018 Auction Revenues were just around GBP 4 million, and 2017 Auction Revenues were below GBP 3 million.

This increase is mostly driven by the increased number of lots sold at auction (increased 37.1% as compared to 2020), and by an increase in average value by print. The average value by print in 2021 is GBP 76,553, as compared to GBP 67,217 in 2020, an increase of 13.9%.

The proportion of signed vs. unsigned prints remains relatively stable at 42.2% in 2021, as compared to 43.7% in 2020. The Average Value of Signed Prints in 2021 reaches GBP 103,444, an increase of 17.3% as compared to its level of GBP 88,161 in 2020. The increase in Average Value for Unsigned Prints is 7.1%.

 


2. Quarterly Auction Revenues


Quarter 1 contributes to over 45% of total revenues driven by very strong sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s online Banksy auctions, and the record broken by Girl with Balloon (Gold AP) sold at Sotheby’s London for over GBP 1 million. 7 of the 10 top lots have sold during Quarter 1 of 2021.

 


2021 is also characterized by increased volatility as shown by the variations in average value by print on a quarterly basis. Reaching its peak in Q4 2020 / Q1 2021, the average value by print shows a strong decrease in Quarter 2 for both signed and unsigned prints. Despite the increased offering at auction, prices have started to increase from their low point towards the end of 2021.


3. Revenues by Auction House

Banksy Prints are sold widely by auction houses all over the world. Obviously the top auction houses such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips are very active in this segment as well. Three British auction houses have also historically sold Banksy prints for over 15 years, such as Bonhams, Forum Auctions and Tate Ward Auctions. Other auction houses include: SBI Art Auction, New Art Auction, and Mallet Auction in Japan, International Art Center in New Zealand, Artcurial and Cornette de Saint-Cyr in France, Bukowskis in Sweden, and Hessink’s in the Netherlands.

Forum Auctions remains the leader in the Banksy print market with 144 lots sold for a total of GBP 9,950,170. However, its leadership position is less dominant than in 2020, with the two major global auction houses, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, gradually catching up.

 


Sotheby’s and Christie’s have the highest average value by prints as they are selling a higher proportion of signed prints, and most of the rarest prints released by Banksy. They each organize two online sales dedicated to Banksy prints per year which attract strong interest from collectors globally.

Japanese Auction Houses (SBI Art Auction, New Auction, Mallet Auction) are showing strong growth and achieving solid results.

 

 

4. Sell-Through Rates


Up to 2020, very few Banksy prints were left unsold with sell-through rates averaging 95%. It seems logical that the substantial increase in the number of prints offered would result in a decrease of sell-through, only because condition is also a key factor to take into account for value, and some early prints are not always in perfect condition.

The overall sell-through rate is 87% in 2021, a total of 81 prints failed to sell. If sell-through rate was very strong in Quarter 1 of 2021 at 94%, it went down to 79.9% in Quarter 2, to progressively come up again at 83.3% and 87.4% respectively in Quarter 3 and Quarter 4.
Sell-Through rates were the lowest at the end of Quarter 2, with the Bonhams online Banksy sale achieving a poor 65.5% sell-through rate on 29 June 2021.

 


2021 Auction Analysis by Print



Nota Bene:
All Auction Results by Prints can be found in the Value Section of Banksy Explained, or within its relevant catalogue entry.

 

1. Most Sold Prints at Auction in 2021


14 prints sold more than 10 times at auction in 2021. All of them unsigned, except from Choose Your Weapon which sold 14 times (all colorways included) and Stop and Search which sold 12 times at auction in 2021.

 

#1. Girl with Balloon

Number of lots: 20 Lots
Lowest Price: GBP 119,000
Highest Price: GBP 323,965
Average Price: GBP 169,642

Girl with Balloon (unsigned) remains the most sold Banksy Print at auction with 20 lots sold for a total revenue of GBP 3,392,845. Bonhams takes the lead in this segment as it has sold 7 of those prints. It also achieved the worst and the best price during 2021, respectively GBP 119,000 and GBP 323,965. Forum Auctions comes second with 5 lots sold in 2021. It is also the most expensive unsigned print with an average value of around GBP 170,000 in 2021, as compared to around GBP 198,000 in 2020, and just over GBP 60,000 in 2019. Prices have been very volatile over the course of 2021.

 

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Girl with Balloon (unsigned), 2003
Numbered 355/600 in pencil, with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower right
Sotheby’s online, 17 September 2021
GBP 126,000 / USD 175,140


#2. Happy Chopper

Number of Lots: 18 Lots
Lowest Price: GBP 31,500
Highest Price: GBP 75,912
Average Price: GBP 50,135

Happy Chopper (unsigned) is the second most popular Banksy Print to sell at auction with 18 lots sold during 2021. Sales are more spread out among various auction houses, Forum Auctions takes the first position with 4 lots sold in 2021. Of note, SBI Art Auction and Mallet have achieved very strong prices in Japan. It was released in an edition of 750 prints (of which 150 prints were signed). Its average value at GBP 50,135 in 2021, is to be compared to GBP 48,764 in 2020, and just over GBP 15,000 in 2019.

READ MORE 

 

Happy Chopper (unsigned), 2003
Numbered 423/750 in pencil, lower right
Sotheby’s online, 17 September 2021
GBP 47,880 / USD 66,553


#3. Love Is In The Air

Number of Lots: 17
Lowest Price: GBP 60,000
Highest Price: GBP 214,200
Average Price: GBP 116,140

Surprisingly, Love Is In the Air (unsigned), which was until 2020 one of the rarest prints to sell at auction, becomes the third most sold print at auction in 2021. Most probably its impressive auction record of GBP 214,200 achieved in 2020 has attracted numerous sellers to the auction block. Unfortunately, the average price has decreased substantially from its 2020 peak. Love Is The Air (unsigned) has been sold by 11 different auction houses all over the world, which is more than for any other print. Girl with Balloon (unsigned) only got sold by 7 different auction houses.

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Love Is In The Air (unsigned), 2003
Numbered 321/500 in pencil, lower right
Sotheby’s London, 10 November 2021
GBP 81,900 / USD 110,565


#4. Pulp Fiction

Number of Lots: 15
Lowest Price: GBP 46,296
Highest Price: GBP 93,800
Average Price: GBP 65,695

Pulp Fiction (unsigned) becomes one of the most popular prints to sell at auction in 2021, led by Forum Auctions that sold 6 lots, and a consistent track record of selling at strong prices. Indeed, Pulp Fiction (unsigned) is one of the less volatile unsigned prints in 2021. Its average value of GBP 65,695 achieved in 2021, is a strong increase to GBP 56,808 and GBP 20,605 achieved in 2020 and 2019 respectively.

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Pulp Fiction (unsigned), 2003
Numbered 296/600 with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower right
Sotheby’s online, 22 September 2021
GBP 75,600 / USD 105,084

 

#5. Flag (Silver)

Number of Lots: 15
Lowest Price: GBP 18,750
Highest Price: GBP 42,880
Average Price: GBP 30,940

Flag (Silver) is the largest editioned print by Banksy as it has been released as an edition of 1,000 unsigned prints. Logically, it has been one of the most sold prints at auction since 2020. It also has a lower entry point price-wise, so it is more accessible to potential buyers.

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Flag (Silver), 2006
Numbered 322/1000 in black ink on verso with the publisher’s blindstamp
Sotheby’s online, 18 March 2021
GBP 32,760 / USD 45,536

 

#6. Love Rat

Number of Lots: 15
Lowest Price: GBP 31,500 (USD 42,535)
Highest Price: GBP 69,680 (USD 96,855)
Average Price: GBP 48,268 (USD 66,736)

Love Rat is the first print Banksy released featuring a rat, followed by Gangsta Rat and the Placard Rats.

Love Rat (unsigned), 2004
Numbered 201/600 DN in pencil with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower right
Bonhams London, 22 September 2021
GBP 37,750 / USD 52,473

 

2. Price Segmentation and Top 10 Lots at Auction in 2021

 

In terms of price segmentation, 227 prints sold for under GBP 50,000 for a total value of GBP 8,124,050. However, only 25 prints sold under GBP 25,000 for a cumulative value of GBP 555,921. The lowest price was GBP 16,380 for Weston Super Mare (unsigned).

211 prints sold between GBP 50,000 and GBP 100,000 (excluded), for a cumulative value of GBP 14,665,993.

 

On the higher end, 105 prints sold for over GBP 100,000.  The Top 10 Lots sold at auction in 2021 represents a cumulative value of GBP 4,625,472.

Girl with Balloon proves again to be the all-time collectors’ favorites with 4 versions making it to the top 10. Love Is In The Air comes second with three different versions selling among the top 10 most valuable prints at auction in 2021.

Top 10 Lots in 2021

 

#1. Girl with Balloon (Gold AP)

Banksy released an edition of 88 signed Artist’s Proofs of Girl with Balloon, in 4 different colorways. They break new auction records each time they appear at auction. One sold at auction in 2021 for over GBP 1,000,000. 

Girl with Balloon (Gold AP), 2004
Signed in pencil, lower right
Inscribed ‘AP/7’ in pencil, lower left
One of the 88 Artist’s Proofs in various colorways
Sotheby’s online, 18 March 2021
GBP 1,104,000

#2. Girl with Balloon (signed)

Girl with Balloon (signed) was released in an edition of 150 signed prints. They rarely appear at auction. Two sold at auction in 2021 for GBP 475,000 and GBP 474,800.

Girl with Balloon (signed), 2004
Signed and dated in pencil, lower left
Numbered 46/150 in pencil with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower right
Christie’s online, 1 April 2021
GBP 475,000 / USD 655,500

 

#3. Love Is In the Air (signed)

Love Is In The Air, another iconic Banksy print made it three times on the top 10, with one signed version, and 2 AP versions selling at auction for over GBP 300,000. It was released in a single edition of 500 prints, of which only 50 were actually signed by Banksy, there is also an Artist’s Proof Edition of 27 signed AP, those are the rarest versions, even though they are all exactly the same prints.

 

Love Is In The Air (signed), 2003
Signed and dated in black pen, lower right
Numbered 11/500 in pencil, lower right
Christie’s online, 1 April 2021
GBP 475,000 / USD 655,500

#6. Nola (Yellow Rain)

Nola was released in 2008 after Banksy visited New-Orleans and left a few iconic murals, including Nola, to comment on the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the impact it had even a few years down the road. It was released in several colorways, Nola (Yellow Rain) is a rare colorway released in a signed edition of only 32 prints.

READ MORE

Nola (Yellow Rain), 2008
Signed in red pen, hand-applied red sticker
Inscribed with a heart, a cross with four dots, and a peace sign
Unique proof outside of the edition
Christie’s online, 1 April 2021

GBP 375,000 / USD 517,500

 

#7. Thrower

 

Thrower (Grey), 2019
Signed and numbered XXX/300
Tate Ward Auction, 24 March 2021
GBP 343,750 / USD 477,813

 

#10. Choose Your Weapon (Fluoro Green)

Choose Your Weapon was released in 2010, in 17 colorways of 25 signed prints each, together with two grey editions, Cool Grey (edition of 100 signed prints), and Warm Grey or Queue Jumper (edition of 58 signed prints), and an Artist’s Proof Edition of 58 signed prints (various colorways). Because of their low edition size, and vibrant colors, they have become some of the most sought-after prints by Banksy globally.

READ MORE

Choose Your Weapon (Fluoro Green), 2010
Signed in green crayon, lower right
Numbered 8/25 in pencil, lower left
Sotheby’s online, 18 March 2021
GBP 302,400 / USD 420,336

 

3. Performance by Print

DRAFT / TO BE COMPLETED

It is always a tricky exercise to have relevant performance indicators in the art market. First, and above all, even two prints are not exact comparables. Indeed, the condition of conservation is a key parameter in value, and obviously prints in excellent condition always sell at a premium, this is particularly valid for early prints. Second, it only takes two buyers at the same auction to drive the price up. That does not necessarily mean that this price should apply to all prints being sold thereafter.

Calculation Formulas
HIGH = Performance between 2021 Top Price and 2020 Top Price
AVG = Performance between 2021 Average Price and 2020 Average Price
VOL = (2021 Top Price – 2021 Lowest Price) / 2021 Average Price
2 YR = Performance between 2021 Top Price and 2019 Top Price

 

3.1 Unsigned Prints

 

The “Top Performers”, such as Toxic Mary (unsigned) or Soup Can (unsigned), are mostly due to one very high auction price achieved in 2021.

 

Barcode (unsigned) is a good illustration of the increased volatility of the market for Banksy Prints in 2021.
It sold 4 times in 2020 to reach its peak when one sold at Bonhams London on 10 December 2021 for GBP 100,250 (USD 134,880). One week after, a signed version sold at Bonhams London for the same price.
It sold 12 times in 2021, including at Bonhams online on 29 June 2021 for GBP 31,500 (USD 43,569).

 


Barcode (unsigned), 2004
Numbered 352/600 in pencil with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower right
Stamped with the BANKSY tag in red ink, lower left
Bonhams online, 29 June 2021
GBP 31,500 / USD 43,569

 

3.2 Signed Prints

 

Market Growth Drivers



Banksy released around 70 prints from 2003 to 2010, most of them published by Pictures on Walls, amounting to some 30,000 prints now in circulation. As there is no current official gallery representation for Banksy, all works are now traded in the secondary market. Banksy only released very few prints since Choose your Weapon in 2010. Sale Ends (version 2), a revised version of the eponymous 2006 print, was released in 2017 as an edition of 500 signed prints. Banksquiat was released in two versions of 300 signed prints each in 2019 along with Thrower, which was released in an edition of 300 through Banksy’s Gross Domestic Products. As a result, there is a limited level of inventory available, that in theory and over the long-term, is a key factor for price increase, when faced with a growing demand globally.

 

Long-Term Market Growth Drivers

  1. Banksy has reached an unparalleled level of notoriety worldwide with over 10M followers on Instagram
  2. Banksy’s artworks speak to an entire generation, both aesthetically and through the messages they convey. The artist has created a signature technique, style and messages very appealing to new millennial art collectors
  3. Banksy is very good at managing his image and organizing innovative art happenings. The artist’s numerous “stunts” are constantly putting him in the forefront of the art news, all the more that they are not driven by marketing objectives but rather by convictions
  4. Banksy is not an “outsider” of the art market anymore: all major auction houses are now selling Banksy artworks, both prints and originals
  5. The pivoting of the art market to online platforms facilitates the trading of editioned prints and the massive entrance of new buyers, notably from Asia. His works are also benefitting from new investment money coming into the art market
  6. The Banksy market is very well-organized: Pest Control Office is doing an exceptional job in maintaining clear view of authenticity issues and in providing a resource for collectors purchasing Banksy works.

     


2020 Auction Statistics



1. Total Revenues 

The analysis of auction revenues by quarter shows an impressive increase in value.Whereas the Average Value per print was around GBP 22,600 in Q1 of 2020, it went up to over GBP 70,600 in Q4 of 2020, which represents more than a three-fold increase…
Almost every single print created by Banksy broke its auction record within the last three months of 2020.

2. Revenues by Auction House

Sotheby’s, Phillips, and International Art Center lead in terms of Performance, whereas Forum Auctions and Tate Ward Auctions lead in terms of Volume.
In the table below, Performance is measured as % premium that the auction result (incl. all fees) on average captures vs. last month price.

3. Signed vs. Unsigned Prints

Most Banksy prints are made up of a proportion of signed and unsigned prints. Even though the edition size depends on the artwork, many prints have been released as two editions: one signed (usually 150), and one unsigned (usually 600), some early prints have been released as editions of 750, out of which the first 150 would be hand-signed. Aside from the signature, there is no difference between the signed and the unsigned print in any way. Both are genuine and authentic Banksy prints. In terms of value, because they are hand-signed by Banksy and tend to be smaller edition sizes, signed prints are more sought-after by collectors. Therefore, they command a higher valuation, often twice as much… Whereas some purists would be keen on only purchasing a signed print, the market for unsigned prints is more liquid, and deeper than the market for signed prints and prices for unsigned prints are now reaching unprecedented levels as well.
 
In 2020, the premium for signed prints has declined dramatically.

4. The Banksy Print Index

The Banksy Print Index (BPI) is a blended index based on realized auction prices of all Banksy prints (Signed and Unsigned prints are included; unique and Artist Proof prints are excluded). The impact of each print on the index is weighted by its relative value. This can be used to judge the overall market momentum for Banksy prints. The Banksy Print Index (BPI) was set up by independent collectors (www.banksy-value.com) in order to measure in a transparent way the evolution of prices for Banksy prints. This index allows to monitor the development of pricing despite significant volatility across individual auctions. BPI is indexed against the price level of January 2008.
2020 was an exceptional year for Banksy Prints at auction. Overall price levels increased by 228%. Unsigned Prints are up 280% whereas Signed Prints are up 207%.
Prior to 2020, BPI yielded 21% return annually.

5. Summary Performance per Print

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