Steve Lazarides’s Banksy Collection to Hit Auction Block at Bonhams

Early screen prints offer "a wormhole back to 2003."

Banksy, Flower Thrower (2003).

Bonhams is breaking out the Banksy this month, with an auction of the guerrilla graffiti artist’s work from the collection of his former agent, Steve Lazarides. The January 28 contemporary art and design sale, held at Bonham’s London headquarters, will feature 32 lots by the anonymous British street artist, including two sculptures.

The auction focuses on Banksy’s earlier work, with pieces dating from 2002–07. Lazarides met Banksy at a photo shoot, and began dealing his work out of the trunk of his car. Though Banksy is best known for his graffiti murals, his prints are more readily available to the average buyer. As Lazarides told the Art Market Monitor, he loves the way prints serve “as a gateway for many people to access the world of art collecting.” 

Among the most anticipated lots are the screen prints Flower Thrower (2003), Rude Copper (2002), and Christ With Shopping Bags (2004), three of Banksy’s best-known images, which are each expected to fetch $12,000–18,000.

“I have decided to open up my personal vault and let go some of my collection, and I hope whoever lands up with them derives as much enjoyment from them as I have had,” said Lazarides of the works available.

Banksy made his Bonham’s auction debut in 2003, and Lazarides called the current sale, which includes a suitcase full of a decade’s worth of Banksy ephemera, “a wormhole back” to that time. Each of the works has been certified by Pest Control, the artist’s official authentication body, established in 2008 to sell Banksy artwork and prevent forgeries from hitting the market.

Nevertheless, an authorized Banksy market has sprung up in recent years, with many of his graffiti pieces being removed from their locations and sold to the artist’s general disgust (see “Month-Old Banksy Mural Removed and Headed to Auction,” and “Banksy Sales Spur Illegal Mural Excavation in New Orleans“). Banksy did, however, give his blessing to a Bristol youth club on the brink of closing when they sold one of his paintings in order to stay in business (see “Sale of Banksy’s Mobile Lovers for $670,000 Saves Youth Club“).

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