racing pigeons
In this Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 file photo, pigeons fly inside their coop at Pigeon Paradise in Knesselare, Belgium.
AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, file
  • There’s a new group of 800 racing pigeons up for auction after a record-breaking sale in November.
  • They include descendants of previous record-breaker Golden Prince, and they all come from breeder Gino Clicque.
  • Racing pigeons have picked up interest among the ultrawealthy in the past couple of years, particularly those from China.
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A flock of 800 racing pigeons are up for auction starting today, following a historic sale in November.

In 2017, Belgian racing pigeon «Golden Prince» broke records when he was sold for €360,000 (almost $430,000 at today’s exchange rate). Since then, prices have been flying up for prize pigeons. 

In November, «New Kim» sold for $1.9 million – shattering the prior record set by the same owner for «Armando,» who reportedly plans to mate the pair.

The new crop of pigeons include several of Golden Prince’s descendants. All 800 of the pigeons come from one breeder, Gino Clicque; they were either born before 2019 or are new, «unflown» descendants.

Golden Prince’s then-record-breaking sale «proved that the Golden Prince bloodline is very interesting to potential buyers,» according to Sjoerd Lei, who works in the sales department of Pipa, the Belgian auction house that specializes in pigeons and is hosting the sale. His granddaughters, First Lady and Golden Princess, are among the more acclaimed pigeons up for sale.

New Kim’s record-breaking sale in November is part of a larger trend surrounding the sport. Pigeon racing, which began as a working-class sport after World War One, has become something of a prestige symbol for the wealthy. China in particular has seen a huge surge of interest.

Pipa’s Niels Cuelenaere previously told Business Insider that China has around «1 million pigeon fanciers,» and their numbers were only growing.

Lei said it’s «common sense» that Chinese buyers will be interested in the new auction, although it’s unclear if it will yield another record-breaking sale.

During New Kim’s record-breaking sale, visitors to Pipa’s site surged, according to Lei, but that has since quieted a bit. He said he expects interest to pick up again with the new sale. 

At press time, the bidding for pigeon «Golden King» was already up to €202,000 – around $245,345. 

Read the original article on Business Insider