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Banky's secret shredder stunt will only raise prices for his work

10 October 2018

Anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy has pulled off another stunt that seized the attention of the art world - this time at the expense of his own work.

Share image via Banksy / Instagram.

The painting soared to a final price of £1,042,000 ($1,357,726), equalling the auction record for a Banksy work originally set back in 2008.

The artist devised a frame containing a shredder that destroyed the print of "Girl with Balloon" as soon as the winning bid was confirmed, leaving the victor with a print that looked like the remains of an old bank statement.

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"In its shredded state, we'd estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50 per cent to its value, possibly as high as being worth 2 million pounds". But perhaps the most improbable notion of all is that anyone truly feels that this most rote and replicated Bansky image is worth either a million dollars or a great deal of kerfuffle about its sensational destruction.

And the photos of the man - wearing a cap and sunglasses - were taken before Banksy had even claimed the art as his own. In 2013, he made headlines when he sold off a batch of original signed works, some valued at six-figure sums for just US$60 each in Central Park.

But Alex Branczik, the senior director and head of contemporary art at Sotheby's, said it was "the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself after coming under the hammer". "If the upper management knew, I can't speculate". "We have not experienced a situation where a painting has spontaneously shredded upon achieving a record for the artist".

Sotheby's bought the small version of his iconic "Girl With Balloon" in 2006 and while some people had commented on the unusual depth of the frame, they had no idea the shredder was concealed inside.

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"We had no prior knowledge of this event and were not in any way involved", he said.
"It was meant to be a criticism of the art market, and I think it's going to double the value of the work".

A buyer would not normally be expected to go through with the purchase if a work is damaged while in the care of an auction house.

Art experts predict that the value of the painting could have nearly doubled with the latest stunt that has received widespread media attention.

Banksy is well known for his anti-establishment street art which often points a satirical finger at the world as it is today.

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"It's a stencilled piece that can be easily replicated".

Banky's secret shredder stunt will only raise prices for his work