A champion racing pigeon being auctioned on the internet has become the most expensive ever sold in Europe.
New Kim is two years old and is being sold by the trainer Gaston Van De Wouwer from Berlaar in Antwerp province, close to Lier (and not to be confused with Berlare in East Flanders).
At the age of 76, his poor health has forced him to give up racing, and put all 400 of his birds up for sale.
New Kim, daughter of Kim, is described as being short, of normal size and build, with supple muscles and a strong back. She competes in short, middle and long distance races.
The sale is taking place on PIPA (Pigeon Paradise), the international pigeon-fanciers’ online saleroom, set up by another Belgian, Nikolaas Gyselbrecht from Knesselare in East Flanders. Last year he sold another Belgian pigeon, Armando, to a Chinese buyer for the then-record European price of €1,252,000, pocketing a commission of €720,000 in the process.
The bidding on New Kim started on 2 November at €200, and rose to €420,000 within five minutes. The price now stands at €1,320,000, offered by a Chinese bidder using the pseudonym Hitman, in real life the billionaire Guo Weicheng.
He intends to pair New Kim with one of his male birds, and is willing to pay whatever it takes. Bidding ends tomorrow.
De Wouwer, meanwhile, has never spent anywhere close to as much for a pigeon. As he explained to Het Nieuwsblad, he used to breed his birds with those of other owners, and produced winners through the skill of his selections.
UPDATE: The auction closed on Sunday with a final bid of €1.6 million. According to the sales site, the buyer is the same as bought the previous record-holder Armando last year. The winner, who has not been named but went under the pseudonym Super Duper, came in this morning with the price standing at €1.32 million. He then entered a race with the leading bidder Hitman, and the two leapfrogged each other in increments of €10,000, until Super Duper took the prize seconds before the auction closed, with a final price of €1.6 million.