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A half-shredded Banksy piece is auctioned for $25.4 million, a record for the artist

14October 2021

Banksy’s “Love is in the Bin” (2018) is installed at Sotheby’s on Sept. 3, in London. On Thursday it was auctioned for $25.4 million, a record for the artist.

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby’s

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby’s

Sold!

Banksy’s world-renowned shredded painting, “Love is in the Bin,” has fetched $25.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction, according to the auction house website.

Nine people battled for the piece for around 10 minutes before an anonymous collector, represented by Nick Buckley Wood, won the auction, BBC News reports. The sale is a record for Banksy, beating out a piece that was sold for around $22 million in March, with proceeds benefiting a UK charity.

“Love is in the Bin” made history with its creation mid-auction in 2018. The original piece, an image of a girl holding a balloon that was aptly titled “Girl With Balloon,” garnered $1.4 million at auction but the crowd was shocked when a shredder built within the frame activated as soon as the sale was complete, partly shredding the piece.

It was an unforgettable moment in the art world, and the first time that a work of art had actually been created during an auction, according to Sotheby’s.

Auction officials have maintained that they had no idea what Banksy had planned for the 2018 auction. They were, simply put, “Banksyed,” Oliver Barker, auctioneer and chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said in a news release.

Banksy himself confirmed as much in an Instagram post where he stated plainly that the piece really was shredded and that the auction house was not “in on it.”

After Sotheby’s announced last month that “Love is in the Bin” would soon be up for sale, the piece was taken on a brief global tour before returning home to London. The auction house estimated then that it would go for $5 million to $8 million, a pretty substantial return for a piece of art that was purchased for only a fraction of that price.

On Thursday, “Love is in the Bin” went back up for sale in the very same room where it was created three years ago, according to Sotheby’s. But unlike then, this week’s auction was uneventful — no artwork was created or destroyed during the proceedings. It seemed to be a source of relief for Barker at least, who remarked, after all was said and done, that he was glad the work was “still there,” according to BBC News.

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