Bonhams had led the way with their inaugural sale of Urban Art on February 5, a streamlined selection of 75 lots, about a third of them by Banksy, which featured seven new artists and sold out to the tune of £1.27m.
Dreweatts cast the net wider, providing a platform for 22 artists who had never appeared at auction before, as well as attracting bidders with classic Banksys and other big names.
They offered almost twice as much material, with 146 lots, 89 per cent of which sold to total £667,500.
"We were extremely pleased," said Dreweatts chairman Stephan Ludwig. "The results we achieved demonstrated a depth and breadth of appetite in the buying community for this art that had, over the past few months, been questioned as a possibly fickle and overly faddist market."
Of the 22 artists who had never sold at auction before, many created works specifically for the sale. For most it was a successful debut - all but three of the works sold to total £77,000.
Beyond the statistics, though, the evening sale was also a learning experience for the auctioneers, for the buying public not used to the Artist's Resale Right and structure of auction charges, and for art market professionals.
Mr Ludwig said he hadn't appreciated just how many people used the Internet to buy, sell, and follow the market. Many of the new artists featured here had previously only sold through online galleries, and one street art forum received 22,000 hits related to the sale.
Dreweatts, who have established a dedicated Urban Art department and are planning two sales a year, see the discipline as an important part of their calendar now. Their glossy catalogue opened with a brief history of street art by urban culture writer King Adz (who finally cleared up that Banksy's real name is Robin Banks). They listed all of the artists with nationalities and birth dates (some of which still aren't available on Artnet), and included artist biographies written either by the artists or their representatives.
There were also three sale previews - one in the Paintworks, the creative quarter in Bristol, the home of British graffiti art, a second in the upmarket Ultralounge at Selfridges, and a third at Village Underground, the warehouse space in Shoreditch where the sale took place.
On the evening, both auctioneers on the rostrum, Clive Stewart-Lockhart and Richard Madley, donned dinner jackets, bringing an air of professionalism to a packed space, where the suits were outnumbered by jeans and T-shirts.
So, did it all pay off?
At face value it certainly appeared to - up to 500 City professionals, entertainment industry representatives and established contemporary art collectors were in attendance, and 90 per cent of the 300 registered bidders were new to Dreweatts.
Five continents were represented on the phones and online, and at least one pre-registered bidder came from West Hollywood. Mr Ludwig was also very surprised at the number of institutions looking to diversify collections; there were half-a-dozen institutional buyers including an Oxford college.
Predictably, Banksy dominated the price sheet, with two works knocked down at £100,000. A unique stencil spray paint-on-paper version of Laugh now but one day we'll be in charge, which closed the sale, was contested by at least four people before being knocked down on the phone.
A framed, signed spray paint and acrylic version of Bombing Middle England also sold on the phone after a battle between three people.
Unlike the canvas version that made a then record £85,000 at Sotheby's Olympia in February 2007, this one was uniquely executed on board. Interestingly, all of the Banksys had been 'authenticated by Pest Control', a managing/vetting committee set up by the artist to stop fakes being offered.
Banksy's Portrait of an Artist, an early 3ft 3in x 4ft 7in (1m x 1.4m) oil on canvas from the 1999 Easton Exhibition, had been touted as the expected top lot. But it was uncharacteristic of his style and drew no interest with its £100,000-150,000 estimate.
Mr Ludwig said its failure could have been down to condition issues, and he expected it to sell around the estimate after the auction.
Other stars of the evening included Adam Neate (b.1978), who has three works on offer in Christie's upcoming contemporary sale. His Red Lips, a 3ft 7in x 3ft 2in (1.1m x 98cm) mixed media on cardboard, was contested by three people in the room before one of them secured it at the £40,000 high estimate.
Nick Walker (b.1969) also looks set to become a household name. All but one of his 13 pieces found buyers, led by Mood Board, a 6ft 6in x 3ft 1in (2m x 1m) signed, unframed stencil spray paint on canvas that the vendor purchased from the artist, which sold in the room below estimate at £36,000.
Standing out among the first-time auction participants was <bbbbbbbbb>Eelus (b.1979)<bbbbbbbb>, who has participated in the annual Santa's Ghetto exhibition organised by Banksy, but only recently quit his day job to pursue a career as an artist.
Among others, he submitted Raven Haired, a stencil spray paint on pallet board that was signed, inscribed and dated 25/03/08. Guided at £1800-2200, it drew lots of interest in the room and on the phone before selling for £5500.
Mr Ludwig said the next sale will also view in Bristol and take place in London, if not at Village Underground then at an equally unusual but perhaps more corporate location.
By Stephanie Harris