Over the last decade, the price of Banksy prints have increased around 25% every year. This year, the price of Banksy’s prints and multiples have increased over three times that amount, going up an average of 83% in price, since 2019. So in a year where the FTSE 100 has seen its largest quarterly fall in three decades, why has the Banksy market continued to thrive?
The trust factor
Much like the clandestine nature of his identity, the way Banksy’s artworks are bought and sold is strictly regulated. Banksy has stringent management on the authentication process of his work, with his own certification body, Pest Control, running a tight regime. Pest Control is the only body authorised to accredit Banksy’s art and their rigorous process means that buying a falsely attributed Banksy is near impossible. When operating in the secondary market, especially buying and selling prints and multiples, authentication is key, and nothing generates trust more than Pest Control’s indomitable certification process.
Supply and demand
In addition to Pest Control, Banksy’s limited supply of prints continue to drive increasing demand. Unlike other artists who created tens of thousands of works, Banksy has only had one print release since 2010. In simple terms, scarcity means rarity, and in a market where everyone wants in, rarity equals an increase in price. Due to Banksy’s ongoing critical acclaim and huge investment returns, collectors and investors alike are flocking to the secondary market to cash in on the Banksy boom. With a constant increase in demand, but no increase in volume, Banksy prints that were once bought for £50 in the early 2000s are now being sold for 1000 times the price.
This September, Sotheby’s third dedicated auction to Banksy had a total take of £2 million, with all 23 prints offered in the online auction achieving a price at least double its high estimate, with some achieving up to 10 times their high estimates. Another Banksy record was set at Christie’s recent satirically named online auction ‘I can’t believe you morons actually buy this sh*t’, where Banksy’s Girl with Balloon – Colour AP (Purple) realised £791,250, achieving over double its high estimate and previous auction record held by a Banksy print set by Girl with Balloon – Colour AP (Gold) in September 2019 for £395,250.
The unknown component
In many ways, the greatest factor of Banksy’s enduring success seems to be just as hard to identify as the man himself. It seems ludicrous that a street art print can easily secure better returns than investing in stocks, gold or oil. Yet, Banksy’s work continues to beat the FTSE 100. In a world that feels increasingly uncertain, it seems that the only thing that is assured is that the Banksy market shows no signs of slowing.