Auction record set by shredded Banksy painting

An auction record has been set by the sale of the shredded Banksy painting

‘Love is in the Bin’, the remains of the famous Banksy piece ‘Girl With Balloon’, has sold at auction in Sotheby’s, London, for a record £18,582,000 (€21,194,000). It had been expected to sell for between £4m and £6m (€4.7m and €7.07m), but this huge bid is a record for any piece by the renowned anonymous street artist.

This work was what was left of the original ‘Girl With Balloon’ which – in an incredible feat of performance art – had been shredded immediately after its final bid had been accepted and the hammer went down in 2018. An unnamed buyer, a European woman, had bid £1m (€1.17m) for the Banksy piece, in the exact same auction house in London.

Suddenly, alarm bells broke out, and in front of a stunned crowd of people, a shredder that had been hidden inside the bottom of the painting’s large Victorian-style frame started to pull the canvas into it and eat it. When the shredder stopped, all that was left inside the frame was the top part of the painting, depicting a heart-shaped red balloon, on a white background.

Chairman of modern and contemporary art at Sotheby’s Asia, Alex Branczik, commented, “It is almost three years to the day since one of the most ingenious moments of performance art this century made auction history. Banksy is no stranger to making headlines, and this latest chapter in his story has captured imaginations across the world – we can only begin to guess what might come next”.

Oliver Barker, the Sotheby’s auctioneer who sold the painting, after dropping his gavel on the winning bid, commented jokingly that the artwork was, “still there, I can’t believe it”.

That image had become one of Banksy’s most famous images, and had originally been stencilled on a wall in east London. Many copies of it have been reproduced since, but the real piece that was shredded had been placed in Germany since 2019, on loan to the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart Museum.

The enigma that is Banksy first came to light via a series of satirical pieces of graffiti that kept appearing mysteriously on buildings dotted around the United Kingdom. It is unknown who the anonymous artist is, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at