When did you last check the value of your art collection?

When it comes to home insurance, we are coming across under-insurance situations on an ever increasing basis.

Here we take a look at a specific example of the increase in value of art over the last few years which illustrates the importance of having your collection valued regularly to with an article from Ben Hanly, Modern and Contemporary Art Specialist at Doerr Valuations:

2017 saw a seismic change in the UK’s artistic tastes – a national poll showed that Constable’s Hay Wain is no longer the Nation’s favourite art work; instead this venerable icon of Britishness has been supplanted by Banksy’s Girl with Balloon which now tops the Nation’s list of favourites.

This change in taste away from traditional art towards Urban and Street art has been developing for the past ten years and has resulted in a very significant strengthening of the commercial Urban market.

One of the main factors influencing this growth is normally a limited supply of work, which creates a desire in the market to acquire an artist’s work, which in turn leads to higher prices. With Banksy’s this is simply not the case as it is not uncommon for his prints to be produced in editions as large as 350 or even 500 – the prints are also often produced as both a signed and unsigned edition. Even his canvases are often produced in editions of 25, alongside unique pieces.

This is normally a recipe for commercial disaster; however coupled with the intense notoriety surrounding him, it has actually been a positive factor in his growth as it has resulted in huge trading activity. The fact that Banksy’s works were also so affordable when they were first sold has helped to fuel his market. Many of Banksy’s early prints were sold for £20-£50 and originals sold for a couple of hundred pounds. Due to this high volume of early trading, steady and continued increases in value were seen almost immediately. Prints bought in 2002 for £50 were being sold three years later for low thousands – thus fanning a frenzy to collect the artist’s work which has never abated.

Banksy (British, 1974) Girl with Balloon, 2003; Spray-paint and stencil on canvas, edition of 25; 40.5cm x 40.5cm.
2015 – £175,000 Now – £600,000

A case in point is the nation’s favourite image, Girl with Balloon – this print was produced in 2004 in both a signed and unsigned edition. Both were sold at the time for under £100 (the signed costing more). The signed edition of 150 prints currently retails in galleries for close to £100,000, and the unsigned edition of 600 sells for £30,000. Not a bad investment in 13 years. It is easy to see why collectors are drawn to Banksy like bees to honey.

In terms of insurances, art professionals and savvy collectors follow the market very closely and are fully aware of the rises in prices, however, the average collector who perhaps bought a print five years ago might not have an idea of the huge appreciation that has occurred in the value of his work in recent years and will, as a result, find themselves in the position of being significantly under insured.

Here are some further examples of prices changes since 2014:

Andy Warhol (American, 1928- 1987), Marilyn (no. 31), Screen-print, edition of 250, 91.4cm x 91.4cm.
2015 – £175,000 Now – £300,000

David Hockney (British, 1937), Pool Made with Paper and Blue Ink for Book, 1988, Lithograph, edition of 1,000 26.5cm x 22.5cm.
2015 – £10,000 Now – £25,000

As a general rule, insurance valuations are recommended every 5 years, however in the case of Banksy this is totally inadequate – it is strongly recommended that under current circumstances all collectors should reassess their collections every 18 months in order to stay fully covered. In the case of many of Banksy’s iconic works, these are increasing by 10% a year – how long this growth can continue is unknown, but collectors should react to it as long as it does.

Doerr Valuations offer independent service to provide valuations of fine art, antiques, jewellery, watches and classic cars.

If you are concerned about being under-insured, do not hesitate to contact us.



  • For full terms and conditions, click here.

    Entries close 31 March 2021.


  • How Can We Help You?


  • How can we help you?