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Because I’m Worthless, 2004


Because I’m Worthless, 2004
Edition: 75 signed, 175 unsigned
Because I’m Worthless is part of a series of three prints known as the Placard Rats. The inspiration behind the series comes from a book written by George Marshall entitled “Get Out While You Can, Escape the Rat Race”, explaining how to find a way out of “salary slavery”.
Because I’m Worthless portrays a rat standing up on two feet, like a human, and holding up a placard reading “Because I’m Worthless” in bright red or pink writing.
The rat, wearing a necklace bearing a peace sign, is seemingly engaged in a form of social protest as well as a warning of a danger still to come. The violence of the message is contrasted by the peace sign around the rat’s neck in a complex double meaning, characteristic of Banksy’s work. The sign, in bright red splattered paint inevitably reminds the viewer of blood. Because I’m Worthless is also clear reference to L’Oreal tagline “Because I’m Worth it”.

All Placard Rats were issued by Pictures on Walls at GBP 74.99 for an unsigned print, and GBP 150 for a signed print.

Rats are one of Banksy’s greatest sources of inspiration and one of the most prolific subjects in his work. An anagram of “ART”, the rat is an allegorical tool used by Banksy to reveal the vices and flaws of the human race.
The symbol of the rat is also closely associated with Banksy himself. Hunted down by the authorities, rats, like graffiti artists, tend to appear by night under the cover of darkness, and considered by much of society to be a pest (at least up to a few years ago…). By giving the figure of the rat a voice Banksy is speaking for those oppressed and defeated by the endless competition and consumerism of late capitalism.

Pest Modernism

Banksy, Cut It Out, December 2004

Banksy’s appreciation for rats is often attributed to French stencil artist Blek le Rat, who is widely considered to be the father of stencil graffiti and is famous for introducing urban art to France in the 80’s, some 20 years before Banksy.



Because I’m Worthless

Year: 2004
Medium: Screen-print in colors on wove paper
Size: 50×35 cm (19 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches)
Publisher: Pictures on Walls


Signed Edition: 75
Unsigned Edition:

Some in red, some in pink (exact counts not specified)



Updated as of 15 March 2023


1. Because I’m Worthless (unsigned)

Because I’m Worthless (unsigned) sold 14 times at auction since 2008. It did not sell in 2022, and only sold once in 2021.

Because I’m Worthless (unsigned), 2004
Numbered 123/175 in pencil with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower right
Forum Auctions: 5 March 2021
GBP 60,300 / USD 83,817


2. Because I’m Worthless (signed)

Because I’m Worthless (signed)
only sold 8 times at auction since 2008.



Because I’m Worthless, 2004-2005
Screen-print in black and red on wove paper
Signed and dated 05, lower left
Numbered 53/75 in pencil with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower right
Christie’s Online: 14 March 2023
Estimated: GBP 50,000 – 70,000
GBP 56,700 / USD 69,441

Because I’m Worthless (signed), 2004
Signed and dated in pencil, lower right
Numbered 17/75 in pencil with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower right
Bonhams London: 25 February 2021
GBP 94,000 / USD 132,712
Because I’m Worthless (signed), 2004
Signed and dated in pencil, lower left
Numbered 56/75 in pencil with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower right
Sotheby’s online: 18 September 2020
GBP 94,500 / USD 122,850