Banksy dominates Bonhams print sale

Two masters of satire went head-to-head at Bonhams’ Prints & Multiples this week in London with works by Banksy and James Gillray achieving impressive results, including several world auction records for both artists.

Works by Banksy dominated the top 10, with many far exceeding their top estimates and hammering five new world auction records (Barcode, Pulp Fiction, HMV, Granniesand Toxic Mary, from the unsigned editions). The top lot was Banksy’s Barcode, which achieved £100,250 against an estimate of £30,000 – 50,000.

Banksy Barcode
Banksy (British, b. 1975), Barcode. Sold for £100,250

Continuing Bonhams’ success in selling works by the legendary street artist, other Banksy highlights included:

  • Banksy (born 1975), Pulp Fiction. Sold for £81,500. Estimate: £30,000 – 50,000.
  • Banksy (born 1975), Laugh Now. Sold for £75,250. Estimate: £25,000 – 35,000.
  • Banksy (born 1975), Morons. Sold for £62,750. Estimate: £18,000 – 25,000.
  • Banksy (born 1975), Jack and Jill. Sold for £44,000. Estimate: £25,000 – 35,000.
  • Banksy (born 1975), HMV. Sold for £62,750. Estimate: £8,000 – 12,000.
  • Banksy (born 1975), Happy Chopper. Sold for £60,250. Estimate: £25,000 – 35,000.

A selection of over 130 works by the leading 18th-century caricaturist James Gillray from The Arthur N. Gilbert Collection of Important Prints by James Gillray (1756-1815) also struck a chord with bidders, achieving a total of £175,605. The historically important etchings, which spanned the last three decades of the late 18th and early 19th  centuries, captured Gillray’s outstanding body of political and social satire.

James Gillray (British, 1756-1815), The Plumb-pudding in danger: -or- State Epicures taking un Petit Souper. Sold for £8,925

Highlights of the collection included:

  • James Gillray (British, 1756-1815), Presages of the Millenium; – with – the Destruction of the Faithful. Sold for £7,905.
  • James Gillray (British, 1756-1815), The Gout. Sold for £7,012.
  • James Gillray (British, 1756-1815), Fatigues of the Campaign in Flanders. Sold for £5,100.
  • James Gillray (British, 1756-1815), John Bull Taking a Luncheon: -or- British Cooks, Cramming Old Grumble-gizzard, with Bonne-Chére. Sold for £4,845.

Bonhams Prints Department Director at London, Knightsbridge, Carolin von Massenbach, said: “We are extremely proud and thrilled with the auction result, the best in the history of the Prints department at London, Knightsbridge. From Banksy to Gillray, the masters of satire achieved record results in a year like no other. These results are extremely encouraging, and we are delighted to continue the Knightsbridge identity of offering a variety of works that provide something for everyone.”

The sale made a total of £1,321,610 with 81% sold by lot and 95% sold by value.


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