Sotheby’s 'Banksy-ed' as painting 'self-destructs' live at auction

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After the gavel fell Friday at Sotheby's auction house in London, Banksy's Girl with Balloon was reduced to shreds - another apparent act in the disruptive career of the anonymous British graffiti artist.

"Girl with Balloon" had just sold at Sotheby's Friday for £1,042,000 ($1.4 million, 1.2 million euros) - a joint record for the maverick artist - when it unexpectedly passed through a shredder hidden in the frame, according to the auction house.

A post on Banksy's official Instagram account showed the moment - and the shocked reaction of those in the room - with the words "Going, going, gone".

"We've just been Banksy'ed", Alex Branczik, Sotheby's senior director, told the crowd after the shredfest, adding he hadn't known ahead of time that this was going to happen and that "tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius".

Shaw also reports that there was speculation "that the elusive artist had himself pressed the button that destroyed the work".

Joey Syer, co-founder of says the shredded version could be worth upwards of £2m as it is one of a kind.

The stunt blew people's mind present at the auction.

A rare piece of artwork from Banksy went up for auction this evening - only to self-destruct moments after it was sold.

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed", he said immediately after the sale.

"You could argue that the work is now more valuable", he said.

Other recent works included the opening of Dismaland, his dystopian, Disneyland-esque theme park in 2015, which he described as a "family theme park unsuitable for children".

Sotheby's admitted it was pranked by the unknown artist, and took it all in stride.