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Grin Reaper, 2005

Grin Reaper, 2005
Edition: 300 signed

‘Guaranteed to tell the time at least twice a day. That’s twice.’

Grin Reaper
is amongst Banksy’s earliest known street art works. The graffiti appeared around the Old street and Shoreditch neighborhoods in the early 2000s. Most of these works along with were covered up during London’s 2007 anti-graffiti sweep.

Holding his traditional scythe and seated casually upon a large clock face, the traditional hooded visage of Death has been disconcertingly replaced with a bright yellow smiley face. The clock, imitating London’s iconic Big Ben, reads five minutes to midnight, as if Grin Reaper is waiting for the hour to strike before carrying out his morbid duties. The flat, yellow smiley face stands out as the only brightly colored element. Associated with ’90s rave and acid-house culture, the smiley face presents the Reaper as a pseudo-friendly character, playing with the boundaries between good and evil.
Banksy’s satirical twist has been read as a didactic metaphor for the contribution of human activity towards impending global catastrophe. This is implied by the time on the clock, which conveys that an irrevocable end is near.
Banksy created many different unique Artist’s Proofs on various medium, and colors.

Grin Reaper (Black), 2005

Grin Reaper (Aluminum Foil), 2005


Grin Reaper

Year: 2004
Medium: Screen-print in colors on wove paper
Size: 70×44 cm (27 1/2 x 17 3/8 inches)
Publisher: Pictures on Walls


Total Edition: 300 signed
Artist’s Proofs Edition: Various


Updated as of 15 March 2023


Auction Results (2020 / YTD 2023)

Grin Reaper, 2005
Signed and dated in pencil, lower right
Numbered in pencil with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower left
Forum Auctions: 28 February 2023
GBP 56,280 / USD 69,224

Grin Reaper, 2005
Signed, and dated in pencil, lower center
Numbered 11/300 in pencil with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower left
An untrimmed impression with surplus margin
Sotheby’s online: 26 April 2022

GBP 69,300 / USD 87,318

Grin Reaper (AP on Cream), 2005
Signed, dated, and inscribed AP in pencil, lower right
An artist’s proof on cream wove with a white printed border
(The regular edition of 300 has a black printed border and is on grey wove paper)
Sotheby’s online: 18 March 2021
GBP 100,800 / USD 140,112
Grin Reaper, 2005
Signed and dated in pencil, lower right
Numbered 225/300 in pencil with the publisher’s blindstamp, lower left
Bonhams New-York: 26 May 2021
GBP 88,874 / USD 125,312