Rare Banksy Painting Self-Destructs After Selling For £1 Million
Reclusive street artist Banksy played a hilarious prank on an unsuspecting buyer by destroying the piece that had been bought just seconds after the hammer came down to sell it.
Well, we say hilarious, we hadn't just agreed to pay around a million quid for it.
The piece, a print of Banksy's 'Girl With Balloon', was being auctioned off at Sotheby's auction house in London.
The piece was actually expected to fetch around £200,000 - £300,000 ($263,400 - $393,600) but when the hammer fell down and all bids were in it was auctioned for a cool £860,000 ($1.13 million).
If you add a buyer's premium onto that, that's around £1.04m ($1.36m). Not exactly pocket money unless you're a very rich person.
However, even if you're the richest person in the world, you'd imagine your heart would still be in your mouth after what happened next.
A hidden mechanism in the frame of the painting was triggered and the painting itself began to be shredded out of the bottom of the frame.
Everyone at the auction gasped and watched in horror as the newly bought piece fell to pieces before their eye.
It actually stopped halfway through, though. This means that there is a good chance that the piece is still worth something. It's at least still largely intact and has now been part of a story, whereas it was just a print before.
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That could mean that it's worth even more now than it was when it was initially auctioned.
After the incident, the largely anonymous artist took to social media to poke yet more fun. He uploaded a picture of the shocked crowd inside the auction house with the caption: "Going, going, gone..."
Sotheby's European head of contemporary art told the press afterwards: "We've just been Banksy'ed.
"He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius."
He continued: "The shredding is now part of the integral art work.
"We have not experienced this situation in the past where a painting spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist.
"We are busily figuring out what this means in an auction context."
The auction house also revealed that it's in discussions with the buyer, regarding what to do about all of this nonsense.
Sotheby's said: "We have talked with the successful purchaser who was surprised by the story. We are in discussion about next steps."
'Girl With Balloon' was originally painted by the artist on a wall in Great Eastern Street, London.
Featured Image Credit: Sotheby's