Love is in the Bin by Banksy, which is composed of the shredded bits of his Girl With Balloon, fetched a record price of $25.3 million at a Sotheby’s auction.
The work went for auction on Thursday in London, with a pre-sale estimate of £4 million–£6 million. However, it was sold within 10 minutes with an astounding price of £18.6 million ($25.3 million). This marked the highest-ever bidding price for a Banksy work. The reclusive artist, who is known for his outrageous art stunts, did not make a comment regarding the sale. Sotheby’s also didn’t reveal who won the winning bid.
Girl With Balloon was a 2006 painting by Banksy, a replica of his famous graffiti series that started in 2002. The work originally went for the auction block in 2018 with a pre-sale estimate of £200,000. Ultimately, it was sold for £1 million (or $1.4 million). However, moments after the sale was finalized, the painting spontaneously self-destructed. A hidden shredder was installed within the bottom frame that shredded the painting into bits.
At the time, the event generated huge buzz across the world. Sotheby’s took the event in its stride, calling it “the first work in history ever created during a live auction”. However, Banksy later denied that the shredding was pre-mediated or a publicity stunt. The bidder who had purchased the work decided to keep the shreds, later redubbed as “Love is in the Bin”. It had been on public view at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and the Museum Frieder Burda in Germany.