Halle, Belgium (AP) – New Kim is worth her weight in gold and then some – really, very much.
A wealthy Chinese pigeon racing fan held a world record value of 1.6 million euros ($ 1.9 million) for a Belgian-bred bird, stating only what kind of money can be made in a one-time bizarre game, which Has survived a few years ago had declined.
During a frantic final half-hour on Sunday, at the end of the two-week auction, two Chinese bidders working under the pseudonym Super Duper and Hitman took a price of 280,000 euros ($ 325,000), the last Belgium’s Bermondo took. Lee was behind 350,000 euros ($ 406,000) last year. Super Duper got 3 years old hen.
This was again proof that an aging hobby in Western Europe identified with working men now has a new, aristocratic foreign lease on life. Relying on generations of family experience, top breeders can now sell their birds at prices unheard of just a decade ago, and China is often their destination.
On this occasion, the successful breeder Gaston Van de Vouver retired at the age of 76 and his son lived a professional life to continue the famous pigeon coop. All 445 birds were put on auction and total sales were closing at 5 million euros ($ 5.8 million). The second part of the auction ends on Monday, but does not include any birds that can match New Kim.
Belgium has long stood as the best breeders, both due to their generations’ long experience and the density of a network where multiple breeders can organize a race together. This is not a short-term endeavor, however, as it takes decades to specialize in genetic breeding with frequent mating and mating of birds. Birds can live up to 15 years.
“Everyone is interested in our pigeons,” said Pascal Bodengian, head of the Belgian Pigeon Federation, The Associated Press.
Only a decade ago, the record price for the pigeon was at one-tenth the price of New Kim. And the current gold price is around 26,000 euros ($ 30,350) per pound.
As often, globalization has made a difference.
With the increase of trade money in China also came a new place for exclusive consumption and gambling. Somehow, pigeons fit the bill. China often features one-loft racing, where pigeons have a habit of one-on-one coop for months and are then released several hundred miles away to return with their unique prudence and specialized speed training. Prize vessels can reach millions of euros.
For breeding, however, there is no such place as Belgium. This is where, compared to a generation ago, it was announced after national weekend radio news that the pigeons were released to distant locations in France or Spain and what weather conditions the birds faced having had.
After World War II, Belgium had more than 250,000 members in the Pigeon Protestant Union. There are now 18,000, Bodenjian says.
Pigeon breeding demands constant attention every single day of the year. Those demands had turned down many modern folk, once sending the game into decline.
“To be the best, it must be your life’s work. For some, this may sound boring. Day in day out. Winter and summer, always those pigeons. ” he said.
However once harvested, many remain committed to life. And news that a pigeon could sell for $ 1.9 million may prompt new challengers to enter the game. Bodenjian welcomed that development but urged patience and a reality check.
“Nobody thought about going to our game to get money, to think again and step into another game.”