Buying Banksy – The Property Chronicle
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Buying Banksy

Alternative assets

Challenging the opinion that only the wealthiest can buy Banksy art

Banksy’s art hit the headlines in October 2018 when a piece of artwork self-destructed in the midst of an auction. Since then, demand for the anonymous artist’s work has shot up.

Luckily for collectors, it’s possible to buy Banksy’s art at a wide range of prices. It’s true, some collectors have won auctions with six figure sums, but there are also other, more affordable works available to budding investors. Here at the Maddox Gallery, we’re proud to show a selection of Banksy screenprints, which are generally far more affordable than larger works on canvas or buildings.

Banksy artworks are consistent crowd pleasers across all of our galleries, with the artist being celebrated for his tongue-in-cheek humour, anti-capitalist stance, and inventive use of rats, monkeys and other characters to comment on the nature of human behaviour.

If you’re looking to buy Banksy art, it’s important to ensure that there is a certificate of authenticity from Pest Control, a handling service acting on behalf of Banksy. Being such a popular artist and cultural icon, fakes do exist, so it’s important to verify any artwork’s authenticity. For this reason, it can be advisable to buy Banksy from a reputable gallery or auction house. However, genuine works have been purchased in various places, including a car boot sale!

Banksy’s most expensive piece, ‘Keep It Spotless’, sold for $1.7m (£1.3m) in 2008 at a Sotheby’s charity auction in New York; originally a painting by Damien Hirst, Banksy had added his own spin on the piece with spray paint and household gloss. Alternatively, ‘Slave Labour’, which responded to Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics memorabilia being produced in sweatshops, was painted in 2012 on the wall of a Poundland in London. The mural was removed from the building and, in 2013, sold at auction in Covent Garden for £950,000 – once again nearing the million-pound mark.

In October 2018, Banksy artwork ‘Girl with Balloon’ was auctioned at Sotheby’s London. Polled as the best-loved work of British art in 2017, this image has become iconic in popular culture and soared past its high estimate of £300,000 to sell for £860,000 (£1m with fees). However, after the sale completed the work partly shredded itself; Sotheby’s referred to this “Unexpected incident” as “Instant art world history”. Banksy subsequently retitled the work ‘Love is in the Bin’, and the anonymous collector chose to keep the work in its new form. In fact, this event may help the buyer to realise a high return, as the estimated value of the piece is now nearing £2m.

“It may well be one of the first works to be worth more destroyed than it is whole”, argued Banksy dealer Steve Lazarides; “If I were an avid Banksy collector, wouldn’t I want the most famous piece of art he’s ever made, even if it’s shredded in a box?”

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