A Chinese shipping magnate acquired a Dutch pigeon at a whopping $328,000, setting a world record for the priciest pigeon ever sold, according to the international pigeon distributor that coordinated the auction.
Belgium-based PIPA, the self-proclaimed “largest meeting place for pigeon fanciers” in the world, auctioned off 245 of the birds, raking in a record $2.5 million. Hu Zhen Yu, the owner of a Chinese shipbuilding company, coughed up the cash for the priciest pigeon of the bunch. He told PIPA the purchase marked his first step toward getting more involved in the world of pigeon racing, a sport which is said to have a cult following in European nations and, increasingly, in China. Several well-known figures, from Queen Elizabeth II to Pablo Picasso, have been known to keep racing pigeons.
But even if the sport moves farther out of obscurity and into the public spotlight, at more than $300,000 per bird, it’s not likely too many people will be flocking to participate.