That’s the sky-high sum that a prized Belgian racing pigeon named New Kim fetched at auction on Sunday, setting a new world record.
Two Chinese bidders, operating under the pseudonyms Hitman and Super Duper, battled for the bird as the two-week auction wound down early Sunday, with Super Duper coming out on top.
Behind the moniker is believed to be the same deep-pocketed, anonymous Chinese industrialist who set the previous record last year by plunking down $1.4 million for Armando, another champion racing pigeon.
“These record prices are unbelievable, because this [New Kim] is a female. Armando was a male,” said Nikolaas Gyselbrecht, CEO and founder of auction holder Pipa. “Usually a male is worth more than a female because it can produce more offspring.”
If New Kim’s new owner is indeed the same buyer, they could make like lovebirds to combine their championship pedigree.
New Kim was considered the crown jewel of a larger, ongoing auction involving hundreds of birds, as 76-year-old Belgian breeder Gaston Van de Wouwer enters retirement.
The liquidation has already brought in more than $7 million, and runs through Monday.
Pigeon-racing is a booming gambling sport in China, and Belgian-bred birds like New Kim and Armando are regarded as among the best in the world.
“Everybody is interested in our pigeons,” said Pascal Bodengien, head of the country’s pigeon federation. “To be the best, it has to be your life’s work. For some, it may seem boring. Day in, day out, winter and summer, always those pigeons.”
With Post wires