Ian & Joe Syer, the Founders of the specialist collector network, MyArtBroker discuss all things Banksy for buyers and sellers…
Ian: We founded MyArtBroker in 2010, out of an acute awareness of how the traditional art world was deeply unsuited to the needs of collectors across the world, many of whom we were already working with, and have stayed with us since those early days. They needed a platform that was more in tune with the modern, fast-paced marketplace of contemporary prints.
We also wanted to deliver better value for buyers and sellers of collectable art than the established auction houses, who have to charge extortionate fees in order for their business to stay viable in the 21st century. Tech, knowledge in our area and staying attuned to collectors needs have helped us keep one step ahead in this ever changing market.
As far as Banksy is concerned, we’ve always loved the work itself, and therefore naturally consider it as an investment. Over the years, we’ve added many Banksy works to our own personal collections, but that passion and enthusiasm is echoed by both our customers and the wider population. Almost everything Banksy has done is met with acclaim.
Joe Syer: Banksy’s work has been incredibly successful over the last few years. In the past decade, many of his works have enjoyed a consistent 1000% appreciation. This has fuelled further demand, sometimes drastically outpacing supply and creating enormous jumps in value.
All this has also changed the profile of the average Banksy collector: in the early noughties, it was people who lucked out and bought prints at rock-bottom prices, because they liked his art and could empathise with his anti-establishment perspective. Now, in 2021, the buyer of a Banksy print is a high net worth individual who pays close attention to their investment portfolio, keen to diversify their assets and dip in and out of the market faster.
Banksy – Game Changer
Donated to Southampton General Hospital in May 2020.
Ian Syer: The Banksy originals market has reached record highs in 2021. His painting Game Changer sold for £14.4million (£16.8million with fees) in March 2021 and set a new auction record price for the artist. This market for masterpieces shows no signs of slowing.
That said, there has been some correction in the Banksy prints market this year. The gains of 2020, fuelled predominantly by international buyers caused a temporary oversupply of Banksy prints for sale. Now, in 2021, we are seeing buyers making offers that should prove shrewd once the current oversupply dries up.
Joe Syer: Value wise, Banksy has proven to be an extremely stable artist. There is movement in the market right now, but Banksy values have dipped in the past and then taken off again. I don’t see why the current situation should be any different. The market for his originals certainly shows no sign of cooling off. That enthusiasm will filter back through to the prints market, we hope. You only have to look at the reaction to Banksy’s latest murals in East Anglia to see the public’s love affair with him is anything but diminishing.
Banksy – Donuts, Strawberry
2009, 56 x 76cm signed screenprint, edition of 299.
Ian Syer: People should be buying. There are deals to be had right now because investors are looking to reposition themselves. But if you’re looking to sell, auctions are currently oversubscribed, so it is quicker and more cost-effective to use a collector network like MyArtBroker. We can usually place a print with a new buyer in a matter of days, if not hours.
Joe Syer: Right now? It’s a great time to invest in a signed Banksy print. Signed prints are more valuable than their unsigned counterparts because they are released in smaller edition sizes, making them rarer and more sought-after. In 2020 we saw the reverse – the demand for Banksy prints was so high that the price of unsigned prints skyrocketed while the price of signed prints grew more slowly. Some unsigned prints were even more expensive than their signed counterparts. Now that the Banksy prints market is maturing, the value of signed prints is on the rise again.
Banksy – Trolleys
Signed silkscreen from 2007. Limited edition of 750. 56 x 76cm
Ian: The Banksy market used to be based mostly in the UK. But as more sales take place online, a lot of the demand is coming from new markets like the Middle East, America and Asia, particularly Japan.
Most of these buyers are investors who have turned to art as a way of diversifying their portfolios. The global pandemic has made traditional commodities, assets and stocks and shares unstable and less lucrative, one of our newer collectors came to us having been told by his financial advisor that “it’s diversify or die”, so he passed up on buying a family home and instead invested in a Banksy print.
Joe: It’s hard to name specific prints, as trends, condition and provenance can be a major influence on the value. But generally, Banksy prints released with numerous colour variations tend to be more affordable because there are more of them on the market. For example, Flags was originally released on paper in silver and gold colourways, but it was later released on Formica, also in silver and gold, and there are also artist’s proofs. Likewise, an unsigned print of Banksy’s Soup Can is relatively more affordable because there are also signed prints in nearly 30 colour variations to choose from.
Banksy – Girl With Balloon
Signed and unsigned silkscreen prints from 2004.
Ian: Girl with Balloon. It’s one of Banksy’s best-loved artworks for a reason and a symbol of hope, loss and love, depending on how you interpret it. You can’t beat a classic.