Banksy – Soup Cans (Unsigned Lithograph)
Rare and collectable ‘Soup Cans’ is an offset lithograph print by Banksy. This piece is an unsigned open edition. 59cm x 83cm (23″ x 33″)
Buying and collecting original Banksy prints can be difficult waters to navigate – our Banksy print buying guide aims to help…
The first rule for buying any work of art is to buy it because you love it. If you’re buying a Banksy print as an investment there’s no guarantee its value will keep rising. Loving the work to begin with ensures that any fluctuations in value will be incidental to how thrilled you are to own it.
With that in mind let’s move on to the issues to consider when looking to buy a Banksy print online. The first issue you’ll come up with is scarcity – there aren’t too many Banksy originals (signed or unsigned) on the market. Sure there’s a ton of copies out there but authentic limited edition Banksy silkscreens are few and hard to find.
Banksy – Trolleys (Signed Silkscreen)
2007. Hand signed and numbered by Banksy. Limited edition of 750. 56 x 76cm (22 x 30″)
My first recommendation is to start at Hang Up Gallery who usually have a nice selection of Banksy originals, signed and unsigned Banksy prints to buy online and can be paid off with a 0% loan through the Own Art scheme.
Next up I’d check the Lazarides Gallery (Steve Lazarides was Banksy’s de facto agent until 2009). Original Banksy artwork and prints are rarely available to buy directly online at Lazarides so you’ll need to contact them for a price on available works.
While we’re in London MyArtBroker has a nice selection of Banksy limited edition prints available on their website. A few prices are listed, some prices are on application while you can also make an offer for any works you’re interested in.
From there I’d visit the Amsterdam based Lionel Gallery who stock a surprisingly wide range of Banksy prints. Again, prices aren’t listed online so you’ll have to contact them directly for individual prices.
Steve Lazarides started out selling Banksy screen prints for just £25 each, prints that are now worth many thousands of pounds each. Still, even that’s small beer compared to the staggering £9.9 million Banksy’s “Devolved Parliament” painting sold for in October 2019.
Banksy – Devolved Parliament
2009. 4m (13ft) painting sold for £9,879,500 by Sotheby’s, London in 2019.
With those kinds of prices floating around how do you begin to work out what you should pay for a Banksy screenprint? Artsy’s online auction results for Banksy artworks can be a helpful place to start to give you a ballpark figure to aim for.
Let’s use Banksy’s 2007 screen print Stop & Search (shown below) as an example…
Banksy – Stop And Search (Signed Silkscreen)
2007. Hand signed and numbered by Banksy. Limited edition silkscreen screen print in an edition of 500. 76 x 56cm (30″ x 22″)
Signed and numbered by Banksy (with a Pest Control CoA) it was part of an edition of 500 and valued at between £5,000 – £7,000 by Phillips auction house in January, 2016. It ended up selling for more than double the estimate – a mammoth £15,000.
Some digging around shows that another print from that edition was sold for £8,750 at Bonhams in March, 2012. Another from the same edition sold at Prescription Art for £9,500 (year unknown). Whoever bought it at that price might have thought they’d paid over the odds (compared to the Phillips guide price) but they’re now looking at a 50% increase in value to what they paid. An eBay auction from February 2016 reaffirmed its current value with a final selling price of $21,100 (just under £15,000).
You can get some clues on the going rates for specific Banksy prints using the following method on eBay. Go to the Advanced Search page and enter the ‘print name’ + ‘Banksy’ + ‘Pest Control’. Then make sure to tick the checkboxes ‘Title and description’ and ‘Sold listings’ under the ‘Search including’ area. If a print of the same edition sold recently you’ll see exactly how much someone was prepared to pay for it.
Banksy – Very Little Helps (Signed Silkscreen)
2008. Hand signed and numbered by Banksy. Limited edition silkscreen screen print in an edition of 299. 37cm x 51cm (14.5″ x 20″)
eBay can be a minefield for buying Banksy prints with so many knock offs and imitations masquerading as originals. Another problem is the sheer volume of results with so many sellers using Banksy’s name to appear in search results whether they’re relevant or not. To illustrate the point a recent search for ‘Banksy’ on eBay UK brought back almost a quarter of a million results!
But it is possible to find legit Banksy prints without wading through thousands of duds. Try this eBay search which searches for Banksy’s “Pest Control” official verification within the item description and you’ll see much better results.
Now lets talk about the eBay elephant in the room. Is it crazy to spend thousands of pounds on an artwork you’ve only viewed online from a seller you’ve never met? It certainly can be – but it absolutely doesn’t have to be. Here’s some tips (learned the hard way) to make your purchase as safe and smart as possible.
1. Only buy from sellers with a positive feedback rating of 100% from dozens of sales.
2. Stick to listings with detailed descriptions and high quality photos (including Pest Control verification) and ask for more photos/info if necessary.
3. Use a credit card to pay (instead of Paypal) and you’ll be protected up to £30,000 or more with your credit card’s Section 75 coverage.
4. If for any reason the artwork isn’t as described when it arrives eBay has a money back guarantee you’ll be covered by too.
Use this eBay search which displays Banksy originals in ‘newly listed’ order. Click ‘Follow this search’ for the option to receive an email whenever a new artwork is added. It’s the best way I’ve found of grabbing a ‘Buy it Now’ bargain before anyone else. Happy hunting!
Banksy – Chocolate Donut (Signed Silkscreen)
2008. Hand signed and numbered by Banksy. Limited edition of 299. 56 x 74.5cm (22 x 29.3″)
If you’d like to sell a Banksy print then you’ve a number of options available. eBay reaches the widest audience and charges lower fees then a broker or auction house. If you get a legit buyer eBay’s great, however, if you get a fraudulent or difficult buyer then it can be a real hassle to resolve disputes.
For more peace of mind you could go down the art auction route. Check out our art auction recommendations for some good sites to get started with.
Banksy – Guantanamo Bay
2013. Modified oil painting sold for £375,000 by Lazarides at Art13 London in 2014.
Alternatively you could use an art broker to connect your work with a buyer in exchange for a fee. MyArtBroker runs such a service with fees from 12.5% and has a range of wanted Banksy prints they’re looking to sell on their website. Their Banksy Seller’s Guide is a good resource for digging deeper.
Look away now Banksy collectors and purists. A much more affordable way of enjoying Banksy’s work is to buy open edition prints from photos of his street art. Forget all about certificates of authenticity and collectible value – these are made independently of Banksy and sell on value is moot.
Saying that, unless you’re lucky enough to live in a building with a Banksy art piece on its walls these prints are about as close as you can get to it.
Banksy – Vestry Street
Can be printed in various sizes from 30 x 40cm up to the poster sized 77 x 110cm.
My favourite place for selection and service is King & McGaw who currently stock 120 Banksy street art prints. You can have them printed on 230gsm, fine-grain, smooth art paper (framed or unframed) or on hand-stretched canvas over a 2 inch deep wooden frame with canvas edge.
That’s your walls sorted but that coffee table could do with some street art to stare at – time for some of the best Banksy books.
Leading the pack is the catchily titled ‘Banksy. You are an Acceptable Level of Threat and If You Were Not You Would Know About it’ by Gary Shove and Patrick Potter. Written in 2014 it spans Banksy’s work from the late 90’s up to 2013’s NYC project. Check out some images from the book in this forum post on Urban Art Association.
Banksy – Hardcover Book (2014)
“You are an Acceptable Level of Threat and If You Were Not You Would Know About it”. 4th Edition. 240 pages. Includes Banksy’s October 2013 NY residency ‘Better Out Than In’. 26 x 21 x 2.5cm (10 x 8 x 1″)
Special mention to Wall and Piece from 2006, written by Banksy himself it’s as witty, smart and loaded with lots of early work as you’d hope.