Yes, you read that correct – a pigeon was recently sold for $1.42m. Said to be the ‘Lewis Hamilton of pigeons’, Armando, a champion, has been dubbed the “best Belgian long-distance pigeon of all time”. Hence his high value!
Two Chinese buyers entered a bidding war which is where to price escalated in just under an hour. This kind of money on a pigeon is not considered normal by PIPA, the auction house. Before Armando, the record sale for a pigeon was $426,850, which was beaten within a day when the bidding began for Armando. To provide some context, racer pigeons are usually sold for $2,800.
Armando is going to turn 5 this year, meaning he’s entering his retirement phase and has already become a father to a number of chicks.
Pigeons of Armando’s calibre aren’t often put on sale, which is another reason why bidding got so tense. Being the best long distance pigeon of all time is no easy or regular feat. The last three races of his career were some of the biggest races, which were ‘Ace Pigeon Championship 2018’, ‘Pigeon Olympiad 2019’ and ‘Angoulême’ – Armando won them all.
Pigeon Racing in China
Buying pigeons is very popular among China’s most elite, and in recent years they have been pushing up pigeon prices to record highs. “When rewards are high, brave men must emerge,” says Chen Shiyi, a pigeon breeder/business tycoon based in Yiwu, Zhejiang. When Mr. Shiyi isn’t looking after his hundreds of pigeons, he is running an extremely successful cosmetics business.
Economic development and the increase in wealth among Chinese already very rich is what has instigated these extra high pigeon prices. A few years ago, regular pigeons were usually bought for no more than $40-60, but now they’re being sold for over 10x that, and 10x that again when they’re racer pigeons.
But with the increase in racer pigeon prices, it means that competition rewards have skyrocketed too. China’s notorious 500km ‘Iron Eagle’ pigeon race now boasts a competition prize worth $67m (¥450m)!
Want to know more about pets in China? Click here to find out the top 10 pet names in China.