Armando، a champion-bred racing pigeon from Belgium، sold at an auction over the weekend for a world record amount — nearly $1.5 million.
“Nobody expected this. No one،” auctioneer Jorge Ferrari، of Pigeon Paradise in Brussels، told Reuters.
The previous record for a homing pigeon sold at auction stood at $425،000.
Two Chinese millionaires engaged in a furious bidding war for Armando in the last hour of a two-week online auction، according to the Guardian. The gavel came down at $1.42 million. The winning bidder wasn’t named.
Pigeon racing in China is a big sport with race purses in the seven figures.
“The two Chinese [men] had told me in advance that they absolutely wanted Armando،” the pigeon’s breeder، Joël Verschoot، 63، told the paper.
“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.”
Vershoot said Armando was the best in Belgium in 2017 and 2018 and the best in Europe in 2018.
“Three years ago it was clear he would reach the top،” he told the Guardian.
Next up for the 5-year-old Flemish flier is a breeding date with a valuable hen when he arrives in China.