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A Banksy Piece Was Shredded At Auction In 2018. Now, It May Sell For Millions More

Banksy's "Love is in the Bin" is installed at Sotheby's on September 03, 2021 in London, England.
Banksy's "Love is in the Bin" is installed at Sotheby's on September 03, 2021 in London, England.

Would you pay millions of dollars for a partly-destroyed work of art? What if it were a Banksy piece?

It was an iconic Banksy moment. In 2018, the "Girl With Balloon" piece was sold at auction for $1.4 million dollars, but the work of art "self-destructed" the moment the deal was done. The piece unexpectedly lowered itself through a shredder that had been built into the bottom of the frame unbeknownst to anyone involved in the sale, according to Sotheby's. The bottom half of the painting was cut into strips in what Sotheby's has referred to as a moment of "instant art world history."

Now, collectors have a chance to own that piece of history. The partly-shredded work — which has since been renamed "Love is in the Bin" — will be auctioned at Sotheby's London on October 14, the auction house recently announced. It's expected to go for between $5 to $8 million — a huge jump from the original selling price.

Banksy, a British artist whose often-political street art helped turn him into one of the most well-known artists of our time, has never revealed his identity to the public. He has, however, dispelled rumors that the 2018 incident was a publicity stunt, commenting on Instagram shortly after it happened.

"Some people think it didn't really shred. It did," he wrote. "Some people think the auction house were in on it, they weren't."

There will be time to see the piece before its sale next month. Following the 2018 incident, the owner allowed the newly-transformed piece to be displayed, according to an Artnet report. The piece was exhibited in London again over the weekend and will next be heading to Hong Kong, Taipei and New York before returning to London for the auction, the report states.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.