Record-Breaking Pigeon Sells For $400K, May Never Race Again

A record-setting pigeon sold for a cool $400,000 at a racing pigeon auction earlier this month, according to the Pipa auction house. Its motto is “Pigeons in Paradise,” and the prices ascended to heavenly heights indeed in a recent sale that resulted in an entire racing pigeon collection of 530 birds being sold for a world-shattering $5.6 million.

Pipa CEO Nikolaas Gyselbrecht admitted to being shocked by the final prices, although he knew that the champion Belgian-bred birds would be highly sought after by serious collectors.

Belgian diamond merchant Leo Heremans decided to sell out his world class collection of top quality racing pigeons. His birds had won many important titles during his time in the sport, a success Pipa credited to Heremans applying the same level of detail to their breeding and training that he applies to polishing a fine diamond.

Bolt, the most valuable pigeon sold, is named after the famous Olympic gold sprinter Usain Bolt. The Heremans pigeons as a whole have been celebrated for “their amazing performances of the sprint pigeons.”

The previous record-setting pigeon sold for a mere $322,000, so that’s quite a leap in value for the world-class racers. Nine of the ten most valuable birds were purchased by Chinese or Taiwanese investors.

So what does a $400K pigeon look like? Well, I hope I’m not disappointing anyone, but racing pigeons are bred for speed, not looks. They can look shockingly like a fit, athletic street pigeon to most of us.

The valuable Bolt was crowned Belgium’s 2012 National Ace Pigeon in the Young Birds category. However, according to Gyselbrecht, the lightning-fast winner will not race again.

Instead he will be placed into a breeding program that will allow him to father his own line of highly competitive racing pigeons.

What do you think of the price paid for the record-setting pigeon?

[racing pigeon photo by Calle via Wikimedia Commons]