An unidentified Chinese buyer paid a world record of 1.6 million euros ($ 1.9 million) on Sunday for a carrier pigeon named New Kim, according to online auctioneers Pigeon Paradise (PIPA).
According to PIPA, sales exceeded the 1.25 million euros paid last year for the male pigeon Armando.
New Kim, a well-bred two-eared boy from a renowned Antwerp loft, was auctioned for only 200 euros.
“I think it’s a world record, there has never been an officially documented sale at such a price,” PIPA chairman Nikolaas Gyselbrecht told AFP.
“I didn’t think we could reach that amount.”
The buyer, who was not named, “will likely want to breed them,” he added.
New Kim won the crown in 2018 as “Ace Pigeon Grand National Middle Distance” at competitions in Chateauroux and Argenton-sur-Creuse in France.
Top European birds have gained worldwide fame in recent years, particularly in China, where pigeon races can generate huge profits.
Wealthy Gulf and Asian buyers have raised the prices of champion birds because of their instinctive ability to fly hundreds of kilometers (miles) and still find their way home.
The pigeon fantasy is rooted in Belgian and Dutch life, with the tradition spreading to northern France.
The sport was seen as in decline until the auctions showed serious prices for potential champions and proven winners.
According to Gyselbrecht, there are 20,000 breeders of racing birds in Belgium alone, which are to take part in major competitions.
New Kim was trained by father and son Gaston and Kurt Van De Wouwer in their world-class loft in Berlaar near Antwerp. They sold their entire “collection” of pigeons on Sunday.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)