A Chinese bidder just spent a record $1.42 million to buy a racing pigeon named Armando in an “unprecedented” sale.
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According to Pigeon Paradise (PIPA.be), a Belgian pigeon-racing website that managed the online auction, Armando nabbed the record-setting sale after a last-minute bidding war ensued between two Chinese buyers.
“This type of champion is rarely offered for sale ... And Armando was almost bound to set a new record," the auction site stated.
The previous record-holder — a pigeon named Nadine — sold for close to $427,000, according to PIPA.
Joel Verschoot, the Belgian breeder who raised the bird and put it up for sale, told the Guardian he spends about 12 hours a day working with his 500 pigeons. Armando has been described as the “Lewis Hamilton of pigeons," a nod to the British race car driver and five-time Formula One world champion, the Guardian reported.
“In 2017 and 2018 [Armando] was the best in Belgium, and in 2018 the best in Europe,” Verschoot told the British newspaper.
Pigeon racing, which dates back to at least the 1800s, has become increasingly popular among the elite and middle class in China.