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December 13, 2017

Exclusive Banksy auction fails to reach pre-auction sale estimate

By Luke Christou

A selection of 40 artworks by mystery artist Banksy went under the hammer at Forum Auctions’ Banksy NYC yesterday evening, with sales tipped to reach $1.1m by the auction house.

However, sales fell well short of that estimate on what was a somewhat disappointing evening for street art.

Forum expected total spending to fall between $770,400 and $1,101,000. However, the sale total failed to reach the lower end of that estimate, coming in at $746,200.

The Banksy NYC auction followed the success of Forum’s Wanted: Banksy sale in October 2016, which was the first ever auction sale dedicated exclusively to the artist.

Wanted: Banksy was given an estimated total of £402,800 to £563,300 and generated a sale total just short of the higher estimate at £531,150. Likewise, a total of 15 records were set, with a number of lots, such as Rude Copper and Kate Moss prints, selling for record prices.

This is likely what convinced Forum to hold a similar sale again this year. However, Banksy NYC ultimately fell short of expectations.

Banksy NYC: a few positives

While the overall total failed to impress, some lots performed better than others on Tuesday evening.

Lot 12, Girl with Balloon was expected to be the standout item in the sale and that it was. Given an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000, the final hammer price stood at $110,000 on the night. That beats the previous record price paid for the print, which was set at £69,000 at last year’s auction.

Likewise, Rude Copper (2002), estimated to sell for $20,000-$30,000, eventually sold for $34,000. Morons (2006), Pulp Fiction (2004) Soup Can Poster (2010) and Monkey Parliament (2009) also beat their estimates.

However, these gains were offset by a number of disappointingly low hammer prices. The Turf War (2003) print sold for $4,000 below its low estimate of $30,000. The likes of Gold Flag (2008) sold for $2,000 below its low estimate of $20,000 and Happy Choppers (2003) sold for $30,000, $3,000 below estimate.

Soup Can (2005), Queen Vic (2003), Love Rat (2004), Christ with Shopping Bags (2004), Grannies (2007), Bomb Hugger (2003), Box Set (2017) and Donuts (2009) also failed to reach their guide prices.

Likewise, three of the 40 lots also went unsold. Choose your Weapon, expected to fetch upwards of $52,000, failed to find a buyer. As did I Fought the Law (estimated at $5,000-$8,000) and Watchtower (estimated at $40,000-$60,000).

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