Two South African farmers spent a record R5 million on a racing pigeon described as “one of the best long distance pigeons ever”.
A report from Businesstech has it that the two South Africans paid a this specie sum of R5 million in the purchase of a Belgian pigeon called “Golden Prince”.
The so-called “Golden Prince” was put up for auction by conservation group Pipa with a closing bid of €360,000 (R4.94 million).
The pigeon is now regarded as the most expensive bird ever sold in the world according to the international pigeon distributor that coordinated the auction. It has now also replaced the former record holder “Bolt”, which sold for €310,000 (R4.25 million) in 2010.
According to Pipa, the winning bidders were two pigeon farmers from Gauteng, South Africans Mark Kitchenbrand and Samuel Mbiza, who outbid a Chinese syndicate in the auction.
PIPA is the self-proclaimed largest meeting place for pigeon fanciers and Belgium enjoys a long-time tradition in the breeding of racing pigeons as buyers often come from all over the world to acquire them.
Golden Prince’s previous owner was Gino Clicque, a Belgian breeder from Wevelgem, who auctioned off 405 of his racing birds online – for a combined price of R30 million.
Bolt, known as the second most expensive pigeon released together with 400 of his friends, but approximately 1,200 racing birds are still captive because of a dispute over import duties and because they had to pay for his transport around €75,000.
Speaking on the benefit of selling these specie of birds, Yi Manna, chief of the PIPA pigeon auction house which organizes sales in Belgium said: “The Chinese know there is one big economic advantage with these racing birds, a bottle of wine remains one bottle. You have a nice pigeon and it will have more children, grandchildren.”
Both Golden Prince and Bolt are believed to be the fastest pigeons in Europe.
Pigeon racing across Europe involves releasing specially trained racing birds of this specie which then return to their homes over measured distance. It requires a specific breed of pigeon, called the Racing Homer.