Banksy artwork 'doubles in value' after being shredded in front of stunned buyers at Sotheby's auction

 The artwork self-destructed moments after it was sold to an anonymous phone bidder for £1m

Clarisse Loughrey
Saturday 06 October 2018 15:53
Banksy sells for over $1m then immediately self-destructs

The Banksy artwork that self-destructed moments after it was sold for £1m may now have doubled in value, according to an expert.

Girl with Balloon was shredded by a mechanism hidden within its own frame in front of a stunned audience in London on Friday night, moments after the auction was won by an anonymous phone bidder at Sotheby’s auction house.

Joey Syer, co-founder of, told The Evening Standard: "Today said that the shredded artwork could now have doubled in value. Girl with Balloon is one of the most iconic images of recent times. It’s seen some of the sharpest price increases over previous years with signed/unsigned prints and canvass showing an average of +20% yoy. Prices now are regularly exceeding £115,000 for signed authenticated prints."

"The auction result will only propel this further and given the media attention this stunt has received, the lucky buyer would see a great return on the £1.02m they paid last night, this is now part of Art History in its shredded state and we'd estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50% to it's value, possibly as high as being worth £2m+."

Banksy, whose true identity remains unknown, celebrated the prank with a post on Instagram with the caption: “Going going gone”.

“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” said Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director and head of contemporary art. The 2006 artwork, which depicts a girl reaching out to a red heart-shaped balloon and is one of Banksy’s most iconic images, was valued at around £300,000 but eventually sold for £1,042,000.

As the gavel went down to signal the end of the auction at 9pm, an alarm went off and the canvas began sliding downwards through the frame. It emerged at the bottom sliced into ribbons, prompting officials to rush in to take the artwork from the wall in a doomed bid to save it.

Sotheby’s described the surprise as “instant art world folklore” and said it marked “the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself after coming under the hammer.”

The auction house said that the successful bidder was “surprised by the story” and added: “We are in discussion about next steps”.

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