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Banksy Sale – Impressive Results

March 28, 2020
Banksy's Girl With Balloon (Pink). Photo: Sotheby's

Banksy’s Girl With Balloon (Pink). Photo: Sotheby’s

While a majority of the art world is closed for business, and many fairs and auctions have been postponed or canceled, there is still some activity which is very encouraging (unless otherwise noted, all prices include the buyer’s premium – w/p).

On March 26th, Sotheby’s held an online only sale of limited edition works by Banksy (you remember him, the artist who caused a sensation when one of his works shredded itself just after the auctioneer’s hammer came down).  The sale included 25 works, and the top-selling piece was Girl with Balloon – Colour AP (Dark Pink). According to the catalog, this was a rare screenprint in black and pink, 2004, signed in pencil, numbered AP 21, one of 88 artist’s proofs printed in various colourways, on wove paper. The piece carried a £300-500K estimate and sold for £375K ($458K) … not bad for a contemporary print. Coming in second was another version of Girl With Balloon (Screenprint in colours, 2004, inscribed with a heart in pencil, an impression outside the editions of 150 and 600, on wove paper) that was estimated to bring £50-70K and sold for £106,250K ($130K).  In case you are asking yourself, what is the difference between the two?  Well, they are both interesting items… an artist proof is a print made in the working stages of the image – the work may still be incomplete or the artist may be trying out color variations before printing the full edition. The other seemingly printed as a one-off, and did not bear the artist’s signature but simply a heart in the lower corner.

Third place saw a tie – Nola (White) carried a £40-60K estimate while Love Rat was expected to bring £30-50K .. both sold for £60K ($73K).

Of the 25 works offered in the sale, 24 sold (96% sell-through rate) and the total take was £1.076M ($1.31M).  The presale estimate range was £672-1.04M, so with the buyer’s premium they beat the upper end.  Also, 21 of the works sold above and 3 within their estimate ranges … not the best accuracy rate (12%); but then again, who cares since most of the works surpassed their ranges.