One of the most famous works of the anonymous artist, Banksy Girl with balloon self-destructed right after it was sold at Sotheby's in London. Banksy did this in case the eventuality arose that the painting was put up for sale on auction.
When Forbes magazine estimated Banksy's personal wealth at around £14 million ($A26 million), he responded with regret, saying he wished his works were worthless.
The price paid in London Friday evening for "Girl with Balloon" matched the artist's previous record at a 2008 auction for another work, Sotheby's said.More news: Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, Washington report cases of polio-like illness called AFM
But it was quickly evident that one of the art world's most fascinating figures had orchestrated his most daring and brilliant stunt yet.
The 12-year-old painting had just been sold for 1,042,000 pounds ($1.37 million) - matching Banksy's all-time record. The German artist Gustav Metzger coined the genre "auto-destructive art" in the 1960s, and used the inherent ephemerality of his work as a commentary on the post-World War II collapse of the geopolitical order.
As the auction listing described, the painting was also "bordered by an ornate gilded frame, an integral element of the artwork chosen by Banksy himself".
The auction house said it was "in discussion about next steps" with the buyer, whose identity was not disclosed. In 2015, the artist conceived "Dismaland" - a haunting exhibit he called a "festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism".
For an artist who's known for his stunts, this could be Banksy's most flawless art world prank.
While Banksy's stunt has been called a conceptual master stroke, pulling it off was no easy task.