Banksy smashes estimates at auction

Bomb Hugger by Banksy

It looks like Banksy‘s film Exit Through The Gift Shop is already helping boost the price of his artwork, even though it sounds like the film is more about Mr. Brainwash (whose prices somehow have not dropped to $0, yet). This week, there have been 5 Banksy pieces at auction in London, and almost all sold above the high estimate.

First up was the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction on February 11th. There were three Banksy pieces in that auction: one print and two originals.

Why is there a Banksy print for sale at Sotheby’s instead of Dreweatts or Bonhams? Because it was a Kate Moss. An edition of just 50, these are probably the most sought-after of any of Banksy’s prints. They aren’t my favorite, but I’m just one guy and the market definitely disagrees with me on this one. The print was estimated to sell at £25-35,000. Including the buyer’s premium, it went for £46,850. The Kate Moss prints have sold for as much as £96,000 before, but this is probably the best price one has achieved since the recession hit.

Both originals at Sotheby’s were older works, and sold to benefit The Luggage Store Gallery. Bomb Hugger and Armoured Car were both estimated at £25-35,000. Bomb Hugger sold for £58,850 and Armoured Car reached £49,250.

Next up was the Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction on the 12th. They had an amazing Banksy canvas, You Told That Joke Twice. Christie’s estimated the piece at £100-150,000, and it sold for £169,250 including the buyer’s premium, which put the hammer price near the upper end of the estimate. This was the only Banksy piece this weekend not the exceed the high estimate.

Later that day, Phillips de Pury had their Evening Sale in Contemporary Art. Their Banksy was Vandalised oil #001, a fantastic crude oil. With a conservative estimate of just £60-80,000, the results here were outstanding. The painting sold for £121,250 including the buyer’s premium.

Now, as noted with the Kate Moss print, these aren’t the best auction results Banksy has ever had, and I don’t want to sound like that NYTimes article that said “The art market is once again shooting up like a rocket,” but the Banksy market at least seems on the road to recovery.