A Banksy piece which was shredded as it sold at auction thanks to a device built in by the secretive artist will still be collected by its buyer, it has been confirmed.
The art world was left stunned when Girl With Balloon, one of Banksy's most widely recognised works, passed through a shredder built into the frame after the hammer went down at Sotheby's in London on October 5.
The 2006 piece was shown dangling in pieces from the bottom of the frame in front of stunned auction goers, according to the Daily Mail.
However, far from being destroyed, the piece is now believe to have doubled in value from $2 million to $4m because of the stunt.
The new work has been given a new title, Love Is In The Bin, and has been granted a certificate by Pest Control, Banksy's authentication body.
The buyer, a female European collector and a long-standing client of Sotheby's, is proceeding with the $2.5m purchase.
She said: "When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realise that I would end up with my own piece of art history."
Joey Syer, co-founder of MyArtBroker, said the woman was wise to go through with the sale which has now netted her an extremely valuable piece.
Before the auction, it was estimated to fetch up to $608,637.
He said: "The auction result will only propel this further and given the media attention this stunt has received, the lucky buyer would see a great return on the £1.04 million they paid last night.
"This is now part of art history in its shredded state and we'd estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50 per cent increase to it's value, possibly as high as being worth £2million plus."
Alex Branczik, Sotheby's head of contemporary art, Europe, said: "Banksy didn't destroy an artwork in the auction, he created one.
"Following his surprise intervention on the night, we are pleased to confirm the sale of the artist's newly titled Love Is In The Bin, the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction."
Girl With Balloon
first appeared on a wall in Great Eastern Street, London.
The framed, stencil spray painting shows a girl reaching towards a heart-shaped balloon
The gallery version featured spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on a board.
Banksy rose to prominence through a series of graffiti pieces that appeared on buildings across the country, marked by deeply satirical undertones.
Last week's self-destruction was the latest in a long history of anti-establishment statements by the street artist.
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".
Banksy made the revelation that he created the shredder in a video he posted on Instagram.
In it, he is seen building the shredder, which he said is operated by a remote device.
Footage showing the shocking moment the shredder whirred into life at Sotherby's is also included in the video.
He explains: "A few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting in case it was ever put up for auction..."
However he may have inadvertently helped to reveal his own identity because other people filming the scene caught him on camera.
The man who is believed to be the person who shot the video that Banksy uploaded bears a strong resemblance to Robin Gunningham who has previously been named as the elusive artist.
The artist also dropped a strong hint that he was behind the shredding of his iconic artwork in an interview with Channel 4.
In the interview, the Bristol artist is said to have quoted Mikhail Bakunin, telling flagship news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy: "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge."
However, far from devaluing the art, experts believe that last night's stunt may have actually doubled the price of the work because of the huge interest it generated.
Immediately after the auction Alex Branczik, Sotheby's senior director and head of contemporary art in Europe said: "It appears we just got Banksy-ed."
As the sale concluded to a phone buyer the canvas suddenly passed through a remotely activated shredder installed in the frame and an alarm went off.
Posting a picture of the moment on Instagram, Banksy wrote: "Going, going, gone..."
The artwork was photographed dangling in pieces from the bottom of the frame as auctioneers removed it from the wall.
The Girl With Balloon, which was signed and acquired from Banksy by a mystery buyer in 2006, was the final piece auctioned in a contemporary art sale on Friday night.
The framed stencil painting is one of Banksy's most recognised murals, and the original appeared on a shop wall in east London, depicting a girl reaching towards a heart-shaped balloon.
Sotheby's described the work ahead of the sale as "authenticated by Pest Control", the handling services organisation that acts on Banksy's behalf. It was signed and dedicated on the reverse and had been acquired by the vendor directly from the artist in 2006, the auction house said.
However, there is speculation that the shredded art could be fake. It is not known who bought the work from Banksy in 2006 and whether or not they were in on the stunt.
One person on Twitter said: "It's not shredded. It's still rolled up inside the frame. A pre-torn canvas rolled out from behind the one in front that is rolled up behind itself."
It would appear that Sotheby's did not know about the stunt, though, nor the buyer who now simply owns shreds of paper. Whether or not he or she will still have to pay the huge price is also unclear.
But some people on social media claim that Sotheby's was actually involved in the prank.
One said: "How did all of the experts at Sotheby's who evaluated the piece fail to notice the piece contained a shredding mechanism?"
People online also thought that Banksy's prank was a rebellious statement against the art world because his pieces are made to be "experienced" and not owned.
One person on Twitter said: "Banksy was clearly making a statement about anyone who thinks you can actually own his art. He's essentially saying art is free and isn't meant to be owned"