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Di-Faced Tenners, 2004


Di-Faced Tenners


“I promise to pay the bearer on demand the ultimate price”

Di Faced Tenners are counterfeit £10 notes, printed on both sides. They were printed by Banksy for a public stunt and, being ever resourceful, the artist found another use for them later down the road.
“Di Faced” is a play on the word, “defaced”, and refers to the fact that Banksy altered the British currency by replacing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with that of the late Princess Diana. The work is unquestionably a reference to Princess Diana’s estrangement from the Royal family, her critique of the British royal institution, and the hounding by the press that eventually ensued.

“It’s going to take one very special lady,
or a whole load of average ones, to get over you”

Banksy, Cut It Out
At least 100,000 Di Faced Tenners were printed in August 2004 – an equivalent of more than £1 million of fake currency was created. They were initially crafted as part of a public art stunt which involved dropping suitcases full of the fake notes into the crowd at the Notting Hill Carnival as well as the Reading Festival. Predictably, people scrambled to get their hands on the “free money,” and even after they realized the bills were counterfeit – attempted to use it at the festival and elsewhere anyway. The stunt was a piece of social commentary from Banksy about the lengths people are willing to go to for money, and it’s also possible he saw humor in getting his own “currency” into circulation. It’s often said that “money makes the world ’round,” and Banksy reminds us that a crowd’s instinctive reaction to “free money” is equal parts unsurprising and a bit disappointing.
Instead of “Bank of England” the note reads “Banksy of England.”
Under the banner, an inscription reads “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the ultimate price” an ominous allusion to the fate of the late Princess, at the hands of the media. Beneath Charles Darwin, the bill reads, “Trust No One” The note is printed with inks on paper that are nearly identical to those used on official UK-issued currency.
A few years later, when Banksy created Pest Control Office to verify, authenticate, and issue Certificates of Authenticity to genuine Banksy works of art, he decided to incorporate the bills into the certificate of authenticity itself. Pest Control rips the bill in half, staples one half to the Certificate of Authenticity, and retains the other half for their records to help verify the provenance by writing the same set of numbers on each half of the bill. If they ever see a certificate of authenticity with numbers that do not match those on the half of the bill they retained, they know that they’re likely dealing with a fake piece.
Pictures on Walls, Banksy‘s print publisher, also released a print in 2004, of a sheet of 5 uncut Di-Faced Tenners in two columns as an edition of 50 prints all signed by the artist.
Di-Faced Tenners, 2004
Medium: Offset lithograph in colors on wove paper, printed on both sides of the sheet
Size: 45×30 cm (17 5/8 x 12 3/8 inches)
Edition: 50 signed


On February 2019, The British Museum announced that it added its first piece by Banksy to its collection, the Di-Faced Tenner that would join the British Museum’s department of coins, medals, and other currency (rather than prints and drawings).
Tom Hockenhull, curator of modern money at the museum, said he had been trying for years to get hold of a genuine Di-faced Tenner to add to the museum’s collection of “skit notes”, or parodies of real banknotes. “The problem is, because [Banksy] was effectively producing them as photocopies, anyone else could do that as well, so there was no way to really verify whether they were from Banksy or not.” “There is a long history of political and social discourse through this type of protest which made us keen to acquire it,” Hockenhull said. “From our perspective, it joins a long list of artists who have created, adapted or destroyed currency for the purposes of their work.”
The artist described the origin of the Diana £10 notes in his 2010 Oscar-nominated film Exit Through The Gift Shop, saying he had made £1m pounds worth, planning to throw them off a building. He had handed some notes out at Reading festival, but realized the stunt was backfiring when people started taking them to the bar to spend. “It was like, holy shit, we just forged a million quid, and obviously for that you’d go to jail for ten years.” Distribution was speedily halted.