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The most expensive Banksy artworks ever sold

With Banksy confirming his latest piece in north London, Yahoo News walks through the street artist's most expensive works to go under the hammer.

Hornsey, London, UK. 18th Mar 2024. A 'Banksy' artwork on the side of a building in north London. Credit: Matthew Chattle/Alamy Live News
Hornsey, London, UK. 18th Mar 2024. A 'Banksy' artwork on the side of a building in north London. Credit: Matthew Chattle/Alamy Live News

Banksy has confirmed that a tree mural that popped up overnight by a block of flats in north London is his work.

The elusive street artist announced the piece was his in an Instagram post on Monday following speculation over the display in Hornsey Road, Finsbury Park.

He sprayed green paint on the side of a building, which lies directly behind a cut-back tree, creating the impression of being its foliage. Banksy also left a stencil of a person holding a pressure hose on the wall.

The installation has generated plenty of excitement locally, with Hornsey Road resident Wanja Sellers saying: “We’re so proud and delighted that Banksy chose our road and chose Finsbury Park for his work."

She said choosing the same green colours used for Islington Council's street signs felt like a "personal message to us residents," adding: "We just feel so proud."

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People look at a new Banksy painting on a wall in London, Monday, March 18, 2024. A new Banksy mural drew crowds to a London street on Monday, even before the elusive graffiti artist confirmed that the work was his. The artwork in the Finsbury Park neighborhood covers the wall of a four-story building and shows a small figure holding a pressure hose beside a real tree. Green paint has been sprayed across the wall, replicating the absent leaves of the tree, which has been severely cropped. Banksy claimed the work by posting before and after photos of the location on his official Instagram accou
Banksy's latest work, on a wall in Finsbury Park, north London. (Alamy)

While some may view it as unwanted graffiti, Banksy's street art has been known to add value to people's properties. For example, The owners of a model village in Great Yarmouth sold their attraction for £1 million in 2022 after Banksy installed a piece inside

In 2020, an estimated £5 million was added to the value of a £300,000 house in Bristol after Banksy left a mural on its side. His works have also made some serious money at auctions, with one work selling for £18.5 million.

Here, in this interactive chart below, Yahoo News lists the most expensive Banksy artworks that have been sold.

Love is in the Bin

04 February 2019, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Baden-Baden: The shredded Banksy painting
The shredded 'Love is in the Bin' is hung in the Frieder Burda Museum. (Getty Images)

Banksy's "Love is in the Bin" initially sold for around £1.1 million at Sotheby’s in central London in 2018 – moments before it unexpectedly passed through a shredder hidden inside the Victorian-style frame.

Of course, this stunt was all part of Banksy's plan, and sure enough it generated plenty of media attention. Many in the art world, including Sotheby’s themselves, viewed it as a rebellious piece of performance art.

It might have been a nightmare for the auctioneer initially, but according to Artland magazine, even Sotheby's described the occasion as "the first work in history ever created during a live auction".

Bidders believed they were making offers for Banksy's famous "Girl with the Balloon", depicting a stencil of a young girl letting go of a red heart-shaped balloon.

However, upon passing through the shredder, the piece had been renamed "Love is in the Bin". Amid speculation that the auction house was in on the stunt, Banksy later wrote: “Some people think it didn’t really shred. It did. Some people think the auction house were in on it, they weren’t.”

The unnamed woman who bought the work agreed to keep it in its new state, and later loaned it to the Stuttgart Staatsgalerie. A few years later, in October 2021, the piece was back up for auction at Sotheby's – this time fetching a record bid of £18,582,000.

As bidding came to an end, auctioneer Oliver Barker joked: "I can't tell you how terrified I am to bring down this hammer."

Game Changer

A person walks past the new artwork painted by Banksy during lockdown, entitled 'Game Changer', which has gone on display to staff and patients on Level C of Southampton General Hospital. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
An NHS worker walks past Banksy's 'Game Changer' in Southampton General Hospital. (Getty Images)

Banksy's "Game Changer", an original work on canvas, was installed in Southampton hospital in May 2020 as a thank you to NHS staff for their work during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The artist depicts a child playing with a masked nurse, with a superhero-style cape flying behind her, with dolls of Marvel and DC Comics' Spiderman and Batman shown in the bin nearby.

Game Changer was later sold for £14.4 million (£16.7 million with fees) at Christie's in London, against an estimate of £2.5-£3.5 million, according to the Art Newspaper. The auction house said all of the hammer price would be donated to "help support health organisations and charities across the UK that enhance the care and treatment provided by the NHS", along with a "significant portion of the buyer's premium".

Sunflowers from Petrol Station

Mitzi Mina from Sotheby's looking at Banksy's work 'Sunflowers from Petrol Station' (2005), at a press preview for the exhibition Banksy: The Unauthorised Retrospective, curated by Steve Lazarides, at S|2 Gallery in London.   (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Mitzi Mina from Sotheby's looking at 'Sunflowers from Petrol Station'. (Getty Images)

In November 2021, Banksy's "Sunflowers From Petrol Station" sold for $14.5 million (£10.7 million) at Christie's New York branch.

Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s "Sunflowers", the piece was sold by British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith, who had it in his private collection.

The artwork reimagines Van Gogh’s painting as a withered bunch of sunflowers which have shed their petals.

Before going under the hammer, the painting was valued at between £8.8 million and £13.2 million by Christie’s.

Devolved Parliament

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27: Banksy's Devolved Parliament (est. GBP1.5-2m) is displayed to the press during the preview for Sotheby’s Frieze Week Contemporary Art Auctions at Sotheby's on September 27, 2019 in London, England. Banksy's Devolved Parliament will be offered in Sotheby’s Frieze Week Contemporary Art Evening Auction alongside works by Basquiat, Fontana, Borgeois, Hackney, Bacon and more. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's)
Banksy's 'Devolved Parliament'. (Getty Images)

A large Banksy painting depicting chimpanzees sitting in the House of Commons sold for a hefty sum of £9,879,500 at Sotheby's in October 2019 – massively exceeding its estimate of £1.5-2 million.

It was painted in 2009, but many commentators thought it had stood the test of time, portraying the brutish exchanges in Parliament pending Britain's departure from the European Union in 2016.

Love is in the Air

Bonhams assistant Bernice Robaglia views Banksy's 'Love is in the Air' which is expected to fetch 100,000 at auction on the 27th of June at Bonhams in London.   (Photo by Anthony Devlin/PA Images via Getty Images)
'Love is in the Air' was later divided up into NFTs. (Getty Images)

Arguably one of Banksy's most instantly recognisable pieces, "Love is in the Air" sold for £9.2 million at Sotheby’s in New York in May 2021.

The canvas made history by being the first physical artwork to be sold at an auction where the buyer had the option to pay in bitcoin, ether or US dollars.

Depicting a masked rioter poised to lob a bouquet of flowers, instead of a Molotov cocktail, the piece was purchased by Particle, a platform co-founded by former Christie’s post-war and contemporary art chairman Loïc Gouzer.

The work was divided into 10,000 NFTs (non-fungible tokens) – unique digital identifiers based on the same blockchain technology used for cryptocurrencies, allowing collectors to purchase individual fractions of the artwork.

Show me the Monet

Artwork entitled
'Show me the Monet' is a fresh take on an iconic impressionist piece. (Getty Images)

Banksy's "Show me the Monet", a fresh take on Claude Monet’s impressionist water lilies, sold for just over £7.5 million, against estimates of £3.5-5million, in October 2020.

Created in 2005, the painting shows shopping trolleys and a traffic cone dumped in an otherwise picturesque scene of a lily pond.

The piece, which sold at Sotheby’s in central London, formed part of a series titled Crude Oil, which “remixes” canonical works, which also included Sunflowers from Petrol Station.

Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s European head of contemporary art, said of the work: “More canal than idyllic lily pond, Banksy litters Monet’s composition with discarded shopping trollies and a fluorescent orange traffic cone.

“Ever prescient as a voice of protest and social dissent, here Banksy shines a light on society’s disregard for the environment in favour of the wasteful excesses of consumerism.”

Forgive us our Trespassing

Standing at 7m tall, the painting, depicting a kneeling boy with a spray-painted halo, is among Banksy's largest known canvases. (SCMP/Xiaomei Chen)
Standing at 7m tall, the painting, depicting a kneeling boy with a spray-painted halo, is among Banksy's largest known canvases. (SCMP/Xiaomei Chen)

Banksy's 2011 "Forgive Us Our Trespassing" sold to an anonymous collector at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in October 2020 to an anonymous collector for HK$64.1 million (£6.3 million).

Standing at 7m tall, the painting, depicting a kneeling boy with a spray-painted halo, is among Banksy's largest known canvases, and is a reworking of his 2010 graffiti painting in Salt Lake City, Utah, according to My Art Broker.

"Trespassing is an act and word that underlies the very modus operandi of graffiti and street art, as street artists must trespass on private property in order to tag or paint a wall or surface," says Banksy Explained.

"By asking for forgiveness, Banksy acknowledges the concerns of those who see his work as vandalism, but seems to convey that he ultimately means well, asking for understanding."

Subject to Availability

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 24: A staff member looks at 'Subject to Availability' by Banksy, estimate £3,000,000 - 5,000,000 during a photo call for the 20th/21st Century: London Evening Sale at Christie's auction house in London, United Kingdom on June 24, 2021. (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
'Subject to Availability' is a commentary on humanity's destruction of the Earth. (Getty Images)

Another twist on a classic piece of work, Banksy's Subject to Availability sold for £4.58 million at Christie’s London in June 2021.

The artist takes an 1890 painting of Mount Rainier in Seattle by the German-American artist Albert Bierstadt and adds an asterisk next to the dormant volcano, adding the caption "*subject to availability for a limited period only" – an apparent reference to environmental degradation.

Vandalised Oil (Choppers)

LONDON, UK. 21st Feb, 2022. (L to R) BANKSY, Girl With Balloon, 2006, Kissing Coppers, 2005;Vandalised Oil (Choppers), 2006. The three paintings owned by ROBBIE WILLIAMS ahead of a sale of Modern and Contemporary Art, at Sotheby's auction house. Credit: amer ghazzal/Alamy Live News
Vandalised Oil (Choppers), shown on the right, was previously owned by Robbie Williams. (Alamy)

Previously owned by singer Robbie Williams, Banksy's Vandalised Oil (Choppers) shows two low-flying military helicopters shooting past an idyllic pastoral scene.

Described by Sotheby's as depicting an "anti-war message", the painting was expected to sell for between £2.5 million and £3.5 million, but ended up fetching £4.4 million when it went under the hammer in March 2022.

Sale Ends Today

Portugal, North region, Porto, Banksy, Genius or Vandal exhibition at the Alfandega Congress Center, Sale Ends Today
Sale Ends Today suggests modern day consumerism is bigger than Jesus.

Banksy's "Sale Ends Today", showing a group of people praying to a sign bearing the piece's title, sold for just over HK$47 million (£4.3 million) in May 2021.

A satire of modern-day consumerism, the piece shows people in tunics kneeling before a sign in a way you might expect them to do in front of Jesus.

Trolley hunters

Banksy's
Banksy's 'Trolley Hunters' was paid for using Ethereum. (Getty Images)

Depicting three prehistoric figures hunting a herd of empty supermarket trolleys, Banksy's Trolley Hunters sold for a tidy sum of £4.15 million in November 2021.

It was sold at the same auction as Love as In the Air, with the buyer paying in Ethereum, the world's second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.