A Belgian racing pigeon named ‘New Kim’ was sold for a whopping €1.6-million [R29 135 232] on Sunday, November 15.
New Kim is now the most expensive racing pigeon of all time, as the amount of money it fetched bettered the previous record, which also belonged to a Belgian-bred bird, named Armando, by €350 000 [R6 378 165,78].
Armando was considered to be the best long-distance pigeon of all time, according to Pipa, the organisation that organises the sale prestige of pigeons.
Two Chinese bidders who used pseudonyms — ‘Super Duper’ and ‘Hitman’ — drove up the price by €280 000 [R5 102 532,62] with their frantic bidding during the last half hour of bidding on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
“Super Duper got the hen, and behind the pseudonym is said to be the same wealthy Chinese industrialist who already had Armando, allowing for breeding with the two expensive birds,” says Raf Casert from the AP.
The bidding took place at the Pipa pigeon centre and all the animals on auction belonged to the successful fancier’s Hok Van de Wouwer from Berlaar in Belgium.
Hok Van de Wouwer is a father-son team made up of 76-year-old Gaston Van de Wouwer and his son Kurt. They have been one of the names to beat in national races and have produced title-winning pigeons over the years, according to Pipa.
Hok Van de Wouwer decided to sell their complete collection of old birds because Gaston retired and Kurt has too many professional commitments to continue to look after the pigeon coup full-time.
At the end of the first day of bidding, the fancier’s sold 157 out of 445 pigeons. ‘Mother New Kim’, the second-most expensive pigeon sold, fetched €400 000 [R7 289 332,32] and was followed by ‘Palme Kim’, which went for €204 000 [R3 717 559,48].
All but one of the ten most expensive pigeons sold on Day 1 were sold to a Chinese buyer, according to Pipa.
The 157 sold on the first day earned a total of €4 770 850 [R86 940 777,75], which means that each pigeon had an average value of €30 388 [R553 770,58].
The pigeons were sold to buyers from China (115), Belgium (23), the Netherlands (7), Taiwan (6), South Africa (2) and the buyer each from the USA, Romania, Germany and Iraq.
The prize pots for pigeon racing in China can reach into the tens of millions, according to AP. The millionaire-making pigeon racing season in the country takes place in October and November, according to CNN.
As of Monday, November 16 at 4.40pm, the Hok Van De Wouwer auction has raked in €9 061 900 [R165 138 001,38], at an average value of €19 925 [R363 099,87] per pigeon.