Not all pigeons are created equally, apparently. Forget the ones that leave droppings on statues and consider the case of Armando, a racing pigeon for Belgium who was auctioned pigeon for 1.25 million euros (roughly $1.42 million) on Sunday.
That’s a record for the most expensive pigeon ever sold in an online auction — in a hotly contested bid that finally saw a Chinese buyer snap up the star racing
The prized bird is said to be Belgium's best long-distance racer of all time and many were expecting the pigeon to break the previous record set when a bidder forked out 376,000 euros ($425,000) to secure a pigeon called Nadine, Yahoo reported. However, nobody could have anticipated the wide margin between the two sales.
Homing pigeons are used in races by releasing them far from home, sometimes several hundred miles. First one home wins.
The sport was big in Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and part of France but has waned in popularity. Asian buyers have given the sport a boost recently, though.
The auction kicked off March 4 and within minutes Armando's price had jumped to 300,000 euros, noted specialist websit Pigeon Paradise (Pipa.be). The next two weeks saw an intense bidding race as top names from across the globe scrambled to place the winning bid.
Pigeon Paradise did not say who purchased Armando but noted that two Chinese bidders battled it out in the closing hour of the bidding contest.
By Sunday morning the top bid was 532,000 euros, but the eventual sale price shot up to 1,252,000 euros in just an hour, making Armando the most expensive pigeon in Belgium.
According to Yahoo, Armando was sold by acclaimed breeder Joel Verschoot, who reportedly sold 178 pigeons for around 2 million euros. Commenting on the sale of Armando, Verschoot said he could not have anticipated such a massive record being set.
"The two Chinese had told me in advance that they absolutely wanted Armando," he said, according to The Guardian. "But I didn’t see this coming. This is a crowning glory of all those years in the pigeon sport. The icing on the cake."
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