Art Market

Banksy’s “Love is in the Bin,” Explained

Benjamin Sutton
Oct 14, 2021 6:37PM

Banksy, Love is in the Bin, 2018. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Banksy’s iconic Love is in the Bin (2018)—the version of his beloved Girl with Balloon image that was partially shredded the moment the hammer came down at a Sotheby’s sale three years ago—sold at today’s marquee evening auction of contemporary art in the very same London salesroom after a 10-minute, nine-way bidding war. It ultimately sold for £18.5 million ($25.3 million), more than tripling its presale high estimate of £6 million ($8.1 million), and setting a new auction record for a Banksy. That price represents a nearly 17-fold jump from the just-over £1 million ($1.3 million) the piece previously fetched at the infamous 2018 auction.

Banksy’s market gained new momentum after that sale three years ago. On Artsy, the number of collectors inquiring about the secretive artist’s work surged 175% the month of the shredding. At the time, Love is in the Bin’s £1 million ($1.3 million) was the second-highest price achieved by a Banksy work on the secondary market; three years later, it is his 25th-highest auction result.

Love is in the Bin’s journey is far from over. Speculation about the new buyer’s identity (Sotheby’s said it went to an Asian collector) and where the work will appear next began immediately after the gavel came down. The seller’s identity is also still a mystery—Sotheby’s only said it was a “private European collector,” while a museum that exhibited the work in 2019 said it was on loan from an unnamed European woman. But today’s sale caps a remarkable three-year circuit for the work, and Artsy has been following along every step of the way. Here, from our past coverage, is everything you need to know about the shredded Banksy:

Benjamin Sutton
Get the Artsy app
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play
Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019