Art | October 16, 2021 1:09 pm

Shredded Banksy Painting Sells for $25 Million at Auction

A massive sale for "Love Is In the Bin"

Banksy painting
Banksy's Love is in the Bin (2018) is installed at Sotheby's on September 03, 2021 in London, England.
Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's

Destroying a work of art does not, as a rule, increase its value. This is true in nearly all cases, whether you’re talking about a pastoral Renaissance-era landscape or a surreal work by an obscure Modernist genius. When pondering the career of Banksy, however, it’s often helpful to disregard precedents — which is a somewhat roundabout way of pointing out that a work of art by the mysterious artist that famously shredded itself just sold for $25,000,000.

At Hyperallergic, Valentina Di Liscia has more details on the sale of Banksy’s Love Is In the Bin. In 2018, the painting — then titled Girl With Balloon — sold at auction for $1.4 million and immediately self-destructed. When it went back up for sale earlier this year, it had a new title; its capacity for self-destruction was also no longer a secret. At the time, Sotheby’s estimated that it would sell for the equivalent of between $5.5 million and $8.2 million.

Turns out there was a bit more demand for Love Is In the Bin than anyone predicted.

A Wall Street Journal report on the auction offers more details — including the fact that at least nine different prospective buyers all competed for the sale. This sets a new record for a work by Banksy; that was previously held by his Game Changer, which sold at auction earlier this year.

It’s worth emphasizing here that someone who bought a painting for $1.4 million which then shredded itself went on to resell it for more than 10 times what they paid. Not a bad return on investment there.