As the gavel hit the block one final time at Sotheby's London auction on Friday, signaling the sold status of Banksy's Girl with Balloon, the $1.4 million painting shredded itself, shocking all present at the event. The shredder, according to a news release from the art dealer company, was hidden in the golden frame that displayed the anonymous street artist's iconic work.
"It appears we just got Banksy-ed," said Alex Branczik, Sotheby's Senior Director and Head of Contemporary Art, Europe London. This is definitely the first time any work of art "self-destructed" the moment it was auctioned off to an anonymous phone bidder. Banksy celebrated his statement art piece with a post to Instagram, captioned "Going, going, gone..."
But there's no need to feel sorry for the buyer because the stunt only increases the value of the work. Joey Syer, co-founder of www.MyArtBroker.com, told The Evening Standard, "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+ ($2.6m +)."