When an authentic Banksy print unexpectedly shredded itself during an auction last week, thanks to a device the artist built into the artwork’s frame, the art world assumed it was yet another prank on wealthy art investors.

It was. But more specifically, it was a prank on one particular gronk, who apparently took a knife to a Banksy print they already owned in an attempt to bump its value.

British appraisal website MyArtBroker reports that after Banksy’s stunt, which experts claim doubled the print’s value to $3.8 million, they received multiple messages from owners of similar Banksy prints asking if a DIY shredding would up the value of their artworks.

Despite politely informing those owners that the value was in the fact Banksy shredded his own work while it was under the hammer at Sotheby’s, one owner went ahead and mutilated their artwork anyway.

MyArtBroker states they received a seller enquiry from someone who cut up their authentic numbered print of Girl With Balloon, asking how much it would be worth.

A mint condition version of the original print would be worth around $75,000, the site states. The home-done slice job? $1.80.

Here’s what it’s meant to look like in a non-shredded state, FWIW.

“We have refused to list this item for a number of reasons,” the site states.

“One of them being we just can’t believe the stupidity involved and the opportunistic vandalism.”

It’s rich discussing “opportunistic vandalism” while defending the integrity of Banksy’s work, sure. Regardless, a statement from MyArtBroker’s founder Ian Syer sums it up. He added that what “this person today seems to have done is needlessly ruin a print worth around £40k and reduce its value to almost nothing.

“We strongly recommend nobody else takes valuable art and tries to cash in on what history will judge a simply brilliant stunt.”

Source: MyArtBroker
Image: Anton Vaganov / Getty Images