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No one knows how the secretive artist activated a shredder hidden within the frame of his painting "Girl with Balloon" just after it was sold last week by Sotheby's for £1,042,000 (US$1.4 million, 1.2 million euros).

Sotheby's representatives have already contacted the buyer, he was "surprised".

Posting a picture of the moment on Instagram, Banksy wrote: "Going, going, gone..."

Banksy later posted a video of the self-destructing painting on Instagram in which he claimed he equipped the frame with a shredder in case the painting was ever sold. Sotheby's has described the painting as a "framed work, spray paint and acrylic on canvas", and notes that it's "the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself".

Those who believe it was a publicity stunt point out several oddities related to the work.

Art experts attempted to warn and dissuade people on social media against damaging their Banksy pieces after receiving initial enquiries who wanted to increase their value.

The painting was the final item to be auctioned at Sotheby's in London, which was sold for just over £1 million (RM 5.45 million).

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Girl With Balloon appeared on a wall in Great Eastern Street, London. "We are busily figuring out what this means in an auction context".

Orange County-based artist Jeff Gillette, whose 2010 "Dismayland" works portraying a slum surrounding the theme park were included in Banksy's similarly titled project, calls Banksy's newest prank 'brilliant'. The artist known as Banksy took part in that tradition recently, at the high priced auction for one of his Girl with Balloon paintings.

However, instead of becoming worthless after being shredded, the painting has almost doubled in its value since the stunt.

"We've had a number of #Banksy print owners contact us today asking if they shred their artwork will it be worth more".

Banksy is a Bristol-born artist whose true identity - despite rampant speculation - has never been officially revealed.

The bidding climbed to an extraordinary US$1.4 million, an amount that tied the artist's own auction record from 2008.


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