Banksy’s handling service Pest Control Office has created one of the most efficient certification systems in the art world. For some time, they have also been active in the second-hand market as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of Banksy’s certified prints and unique studio work. (This has nothing to do with street-art pieces.) Now it seems like they are taking it to a whole new level with the announced launch of http://www.Bbay.shop. It is an interesting development for the booming secondary market in Banksy artwork, and will hopefully set a new standard for transparency in the art market.
Banksy opened his much-anticipated store on 16 October. Among the products on sale are two interesting prints, a three-frame version of “Love is in the Air”, and “Banksquiat”, an homage to Jean Michel Basquiat. This is Banksy’s first regular print release since 2010.
In Banksy’s own words: “I’m opening a shop. It’s called Gross Domestic Product™. It sells art, homewares and disappointment.”
Due to legal issues, Banksy announced this morning on www.banksy.co.uk that he cancels the promotion of a free print for voting against the Tories
On 3 June Banksy had announced a new print release, a version of the iconic “Girl with Balloon”, only available to registered voters in the Bristol area who vote against the Conservative party. It would have been Banksy’s first regular print release since “Choose your weapon” in 2010.
The prints have been an essential part of Banksy’s “oeuvre”. The first regular print release was “Rude Copper” in 2002. Since then, a total of 49 motives have been used for making prints. Some of the motives have been printed in different color combinations. If we include all of them, the total count is approximately 125 different motives. The editions are relatively small, ranging from 10 up to 1000, where 300 would be the most common edition.
There is a waterproof authentication system imposed by Pest Control Office, thus, the confidence among collectors seems to be rock solid. The limited supply and the authentication system have created a dynamic market where some of the most coveted prints are sold for well over 50,000 GBP on the secondary market – i.e., pieces bought and sold between collectors at auctions or at dealers/galleries. The same print might have been sold by Banksy for 100 GBP at the initial release, back in the early 2000s.
The following is a simplified retrospective of Banksy prints. It only reflects the motive and the year it was released. It doesn’t count the different color versions and other slight differences between the above-mentioned releases. But, it does give a feel of how Banksy evolved artistically during the 2000s.
Banksy print release 2002
Banksy print releases 2003
Banksy print releases 2004
Banksy print releases 2005
Banksy print releases 2006
Banksy print releases 2007
Banksy print releases 2008
Banksy print releases 2009
Banksy print release 2010
The Warhol-inspired “Tesco Soup Can” come in 28 different color combinations, the Keith Haring tribute “Choose Your Weapon” come in 17 different colors. “Toxic Mary”, “Kate Moss” and “Nola” are some other prints with different color versions. Several other motives have been released in slightly different versions. Examples are the prints released at the Barely Legal exhibition in 2006. These earlier versions of Morons, Applause, Trolleys, and Grannies go under the name “LA Editions”. The year after, there were releases in London of the same prints but with some variations.
The last regular print released by Pest Control Office was the Keith Haring-inspired “Choose Your Weapon” in 2010. Since then there have been two print releases, but in limited editions, “Love Hurts” in 2012 and “Dumbo” in 2014.