This post was first published by My London on 4/10/2019.
Rare Princess Diana £10 notes drop over crowds at Croydon Banksy shop
Around 20 fake notes were dropped from above Banksy’s Gross Domestic Product shop
Understandably, there has been a lot of excitement in Croydon since news of Banksy opening a shop in the town centre filtered around the borough.
The pop up exhibition of thought-provoking artwork, called Gross Domestic Product, opened without any prior announcement in a former carpet shop, underneath Pure Gym, on the corner of Church Street and Frith Road, early on Tuesday (October 1).
It features the Union Jack stab vest the world-famous artist designed for Thornton Heath’s own Stormzy at Glastonbury Festival earlier this year, as well as a Tony the Tiger rug and a cradle surrounded by CCTV cameras.
Crowds gathered around the store – which will not actually open but act as a display for items that will be sold online – on Tuesday morning. For those who turned up around lunchtime on the first day, Banksy had another surprise.
Fake £10 notes, that replaced the face of Queen Elizabeth II with that of the late Princess Diana, were dropped from above.
“I just went to see [the Banksy shop] and a bunch of these fake tenners fell from above and landed on the pavement,” said one woman on Twitter .
“Oh, wow. I must have just missed that. Keep hold of those, get them framed maybe,” said one man in response.
The woman estimated that around 20 of the fake notes fell over those who were there.
Those who picked up one can count themselves incredibly lucky as they have been sold online for £500 each to collectors.
“To own a genuine thing by Banksy – wow! I’d never sell something so amazing, I’d frame it and look at it every day,” said one person.
Banksy printed £1 million worth of the fake £10 notes, entitled Di-faced Tenner, in 2004 as part of a planned art stunt. Banksy then dropped the money on crowds at the Notting Hill Carnival and at the Reading Festival.
Items on display in the new shop, which are only available to buy online, range in price from a £10 signed spray paint can to a handbag made from a house brick.
They include welcome mats made from life vests salvaged from the shores of the Mediterranean, disco balls made from used police riot helmets and a toddler’s counting toy where children are encouraged to load wooden migrant figures inside a haulage truck.
Outside the shop, security guards with red ties have been stationed outside since the opening.
Why did Banky open the shop?
Banksy was forced to make this rather strange move in opening his own homeware store because of a legal dispute with a greetings cards company.
The artists explained: “A greetings cards company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art, and attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally.
“I think they’re banking on the idea I won’t show up in court to defend myself.”
Banksy added: “The proceeds from these products will go towards buying a new migrant rescue boat to replace the one confiscated by Italian authorities.
“So you may well be committing a criminal offence by purchasing them.