The Rise of Banksy

Kindly written by Mark Smith ASFAV, Managing Director and the team at Quastel Associates

It is fair to say that the vast majority of the British population have heard of Banksy. It is also probably fair to assume that most people could name or describe a Banksy artwork or several of his artworks for that matter. This is quite a level of fame for an anonymous street artist from Bristol. His distinctive stencilling graffiti has been capturing the hearts and minds of British society for several decades now and it doesn’t stop here either, the whole world has cottoned on and he’s fast becoming one of the most famous living artists on the planet.


Girl with Balloon (2004)

So, why is this spray-painting outlaw from the South West so revered? A poll carried out on 1,400 members of the British population concluded that his art is powerful and thought-provoking while retaining an element of simplicity, allowing everyone to understand his messages. In fact, his work ‘Girl with Balloon’ was voted the nation’s favourite artwork. Accessibility in contemporary art can be rare but is proving to be a wonderful, refreshing and inclusive approach.

Thanks to his popularity amongst the masses and his ability to remain in vogue, Banksy’s works are rocketing in value. The recent boom has seen Quastel Associates value more Banksy works in the last 6 months than the last 6 years combined! And it is not surprising as many owners of Banksy prints have probably been insuring their works for significantly less than their true value.

Nola White Rain (2008)

Quastel Associates have a client who cleverly bought a Banksy print ‘Nola (White Rain)’ in 2008 for the bargain price of £400. In September of 2020, this was valued for insurance at £100,000; a staggering increase. But, they recently revalued the work (January 2021, just 4 months later) and it now needs to be insured for an incredible £175,000.

This client is not alone. The firm valued 5 works at another client’s house in January 2020 and the total for his collection came to £155,000. When it was revalued a year later, his collection had more than doubled in value!  The prices for Banksy’s are changing so rapidly, being correctly insured has never been so crucial.


Choose Your Weapon (Khaki) (2010)

This piece was purchased for £11,000 in 2015 and valued in February by Quastel Associates at £200,000

So, what does your client need to have to ensure their Banksy piece is valuable? Firstly, signed works can be worth up to double of the unsigned version. Secondly, value is determined by the number of prints produced for each work, the lower the number released, the rarer and more desirable. It is also essential that they have all the relevant paperwork. ‘Pictures on Walls’ (also known as POW) was the print house where you could buy Banksy’s until 2017 and so all works sold before this time come with their certification and normally the paper is blind stamped with their logo.


Pictures on Walls certificate

Should an artwork not have the relevant certificate and so require authentication, clients can go to Pest Control, the only official body who can authenticate a Banksy. Pest Control was set up in 2008 and is run by Banksy as a not-for-profit handling service and they can issue a Pest Control Banksy certificate if applicable.

It is worthy of note that the art market has seen a boom during the tumultuous time of the pandemic as it is seen as a safer investment than the usual stocks and shares market. Along with other areas such as gold and fine whisky, which are also soaring, art has benefitted from closer inspection from buyers with more time to research their purchases. How much further this will go remains to be seen, but presently it shows little sign of slowing down. Ensuring clients have completed up to date valuations and are insured correctly, is more important than ever.

This article was originally written by Quastel Associates and published in our February Newsletter. Image rights belong to Quastel Associates and used with their permission. 




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