Phillips’s Banksy exhibition includes a mix of editions and unique works. On the lower end are unsigned prints, priced in the range of $HK90,000–500,000 ($11,500–63,800), while signed prints in the show are for sale in the region of $HK270,000–2.5 million ($34,500–319,000), and unique works start around $HK3.2 million ($408,600). The exhibition’s title is a riff on one of its marquee, one-of-a-kind pieces: the 6-meter-long painting Laugh Now (2002). It features the repeating stenciled image of a monkey wearing a sandwich board, some of which reads: “Laugh now, but one day I’ll be in charge.” When it came up for sale at Bonhams in 2008, it sold for £228,000 ($450,236). For Heiden, the work “is very timely in this world.”
The exhibition also marks the return to market of Bacchus at the Seaside (2009), a found painting in a classical style that Banksy updated by cutting out the two figures’ faces and adding a strategically placed painting of a traffic cone. The piece sold at Sotheby’s in London in March, where it nearly doubled its high estimate to sell for £669,000 ($929,166), currently making it Banksy’s fifth-highest auction result.
The sale also includes two versions of the iconic Girl with Balloon image that passed through the shredder last month at Sotheby’s. Both from 2004, one features a red heart-shaped balloon, while the other has a golden balloon. The versions for sale at Phillips don’t have custom frames like the one that self-destructed at Sotheby’s, and Heiden isn’t especially worried about the secretive street artist pulling a similar stunt in Hong Kong.