Another Banksy print fraud comes to light

The publisher of the artist’s works on paper issues warning over forgeries

Just months after we revealed that unauthorised prints by the anonymous graffiti artist Banksy were being sold on eBay, another fraud involving the sale of the artist’s editioned works has come to light.

On 6 March, Pictures on Walls (POW), the company which publishes and sells the artist’s works on paper, emailed members of its mailing list warning that: “It has come to our attention that a number of forged Banksy prints are currently in circulation. These include Rude Copper, Laugh Now..., Happy Choppers, Girl With Balloon and I Fought The Law. They are screen printed, numbered and embossed with a replica POW stamp.

“The forged prints have been allocated print numbers registered to specific retailers that POW supplied some years ago and are sold alongside bogus receipts from these retailers. Only a handful of these have so far come to our attention and they are easily identified as fake by anyone familiar with POW products, but please be aware that buying prints on the secondary market at bargain prices should be undertaken with extreme caution.”

In October 2007 we published the testimony of a whistleblower who had collaborated in a fraud with POW employees which involved the sale of unauthorised prints from the Grin Reaper and Soup Can series on eBay. According to our source, a network of external collaborators placed these on the website and then illegally inflated their prices through a process known as shill bidding whereby the consignors of items, or people working in conjunction with them, place fake bids on objects.

These unauthorised prints were sold with fraudulent provenance and were stamped with a replica POW blind stamp.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 190 April 2008