Banksy has managed to surprise the street art world again again. The interview in „The Village Voice“ revealed that the reason for his New York stunt has no monetary motivation. As if to prove this point Banksy set up a shop in central park to sell original urban art pieces for 60$. An ironic, brilliant and authentic move by UK’ street art legend. The art sale was unannounced and took place in the context of the weekly art sale in central park. Because Banksy tends to remain anonymous, he hired an older man to set up stall in the New Yorker park and sell original, authenticated and signed canvases’ for merely 60$ each. Considering that Banksy originals are sold for at least several hundred thousands, everyone lucky enough to realize the opportunity presented to them, is now in possession of a very valuable street art piece. Buyers only need to take a look at the prices Banksy artwork achieves at auctions to fathom the real art world value there recent purchase has.
In 2007 an untitled picture of a monkey with a sign saying “Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge” on red painted canvas was sold for approximately 300,000$. This is one of Banksy first street art transfers to canvas, created in 2000 before the great hype, this piece would have sold for 100 $, tops at the time of creation. Now Banksy canvas pieces are sold for up to 1.8 million dollars, as seen in 2008 when “Keep it spotless”, a Damien Hirst homage, was sold at Sotheby’s auction house in New York. Only two weeks later another Banksy canvas also managed to breach the 1 million dollar barrier. “Simple intelligence testing” reached 1.2 million dollar at an auctions at Sotheby’s London. The art work is separated into five piece oil on canvas elements laid onto a board.
Although it is doubtful that the recently acquired Banksy canvases’ from central park will be auctioned for these amounts, they will surely be a more profitable for the buyers than for the seller. The yields from this art sale for Banksy were a meager 425$. Only few people actually believed the street art canvases’ to be originals. Only by taking a closer look could potential buyers see that the pieces were signed, numbered and authenticated. The first sale was only made after several hours of waiting for the Banksy merchant. It was the mother of two kids who got the sale going. She bought two stencils for her kids after negotiating a 50% discount. The seller was more than happy to give her what she has asked. Two Banksy stencils for 60$ in total will definitely turn out to be a good investment.
Despite the high investment return Banksy’s art has, the buyers should really consider to keep their urban art in their home, rather than selling it. Owning authentic art is definitely more valuable than any price achieved at auctions, even more so if this is one of Banksy’s artworks.