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Shredded Banksy artwork sells for $25 million at auction

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FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2021 file photo, art handlers at Sotheby's auction house hold Banksy's 'Love is in the Bin', before it returns to auction at Sotheby's, London, The work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally self-shredded just after it sold for $1.4 million could make several times that price at an auction on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. “Love is in the Bin” is being offered by Sotheby’s in London, with a pre-sale estimate of 4 million pounds to 6 million pounds ($5.5 million to $8.2 million). (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP, file)

LONDON (AP) — A work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally self-shredded just after it sold at auction three years ago fetched 18.5 million pounds ($25.4 million) on Thursday, a record for the artist.

"Love is in the Bin" was offered by Sotheby's in London, with a presale estimate of 4 million pounds to 6 million pounds ($5.5 million to $8.2 million).

The sale price was three timed the high estimate.

The piece consists of a half-shredded canvas in an ornate frame bearing a spray-painted image of a girl reaching for a heart-shaped red balloon.

When it last sold at Sotheby's in October 2018, the piece was known as "Girl With Balloon." Just as an anonymous European buyer made the winning bid, a hidden shredder embedded in the frame by Banksy whirred to life, leaving half the canvas hanging from the frame in strips.

Sotheby's had described the work created in the stunt as "the ultimate Banksy artwork."

Banksy, who has never confirmed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world's best-known artists. His mischievous and often satirical images include two male police officers kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words, "Laugh now, but one day I'll be in charge."

Several of his works have sold for multiple millions at auction. In March, a Banksy mural honoring Britain's health workers, first painted on a hospital wall, sold for 16.8 million pounds ($23.2 million) at a Christie's auction, a record for the artist.

"Girl With Balloon" was originally stenciled on a wall in east London and has been endlessly reproduced, becoming one of Banksy's best-known images.

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