Banksy’s “Love is in the Bin” is now Banksy’s most expensive work, selling for US$25.4 million in an auction in London. This makes it his most expensive artwork. This piece of art had beat out his previous painting “Game Changer” which sold for US$23 million. The original artwork, “Girl With Balloon” was sold for US$1.4 million three years ago in the same salesroom, and promptly destroyed itself with a shredder hidden inside the frame slicing the photo in half. A shocking moment in the art world, and also the first time an artwork was created at an auction.
Banksy took ownership of the stunt and revealed it was supposed to shred itself entirely, but the shredder had malfunctioned halfway through the process. He issued the artwork a new certificate of authenticity and renamed it “Love is in the Bin”.
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art in Europe, said in a statement at the time. Banksy confirmed as much in an Instagram post, in which he stated that some people in Sotheby’s were in on it but confirmed that they weren’t. This week, an anonymous buyer of the work put it back on the market at Sotheby’s where it was expected to fetch somewhere between US$5.5 and US$8.2 million. It ended up being sold for three times the estimate and being 18 times more than what the buyer had paid for three years ago.
Banksy’s auction market had exploded over the past year. In the first seven months of 2021, his works generated about US$125.5 million on the block, making him the fifth best-selling artist. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sotheby’s went to great lengths to ensure Banksy was not planning any additional funny business. They weighed the framed canvas for additional components and double-checked that the batteries had been removed from the shredder.