As soon as the 'girl with balloon' painting was sold to a phone bidder, part of the painting shredded due to a previously hidden device within the frame of the artwork.
"We've just been Banksy'ed," Alex Branczik, Sotheby's European head of contemporary art, told journalists following the auction.
"We have not experienced this situation in the past... where a painting spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist. We are busily figuring out what this means in an auction context," he added.
In a statement, the auctioneers Sotheby's said they were in discussions with the purchaser of the destroyed artwork, who they described as "surprised."
"We have talked with the successful purchaser who was surprised by the story. We are in discussion about next steps," they said in a statement.
However, there was immediately speculation by art experts on social media who predicted that the value of the work would have been hugely increased by the prank.
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