Artnet have a very interesting article on the companies formed around providing some credibility (note, not authenticity) around street art and more specifically Banksy’s work.
The first is Pest Control, which is loosely based around Lazarides gallery.
This in itself isn’t very surprising as it is the largest distributor of Banksy artwork and prints and owner Steve Lazarides is Banksy’s publicist.
What is surprising is they are only going as far as original artworks and prints and not to actual streetworks.
And this is where the second “entity”, Vermin is coming in to lend certification around street items. And it is bizarrely these items that could potentially retrieve the largest returns but which currently fetch relatively low amounts due to their uncertified nature.
And here is the secretive Vermin’s basis for their “professional opinion” not certification of authenticity:
“Anyone who has bought or collected street pieces in the past may send in the images, which will then be put in front of our board, formed of a panel of established Banksy dealers who have been dealing since the early days in secondary-market Banksy’s. We will then look at the piece from all angles, research it and, as long as each work is then assessed on its own merit, if sufficient criteria are met (through “time line” documentation, publications and photographic evidence), the work is placed on a “Salvaged + Saved” register for a period of one month, during which any counterclaims against the piece can be investigated. At the end of this period, if no valid counterclaim to ownership/authorship is revealed, the piece is issued with a “Vermin Certificate.” The register will be on an open resource website for other people and organizations to use in the future for both commercial and educational purposes.”
So what I found interesting about that is that if this service is generally accepted by the market as legitimate then building a market in “time-lining” of street art could prove useful to people with original works but not the documentary proof of history and location of the original.