‘Lionel Messi of pigeons’ sold for record fee of more than €1.25m

A pigeon described as the best ever has been sold for a record fee of just over €1.25m.

Joel Verschoot’s bird Armando was sold by auction house Pipa for €1.252m after a two-week online bidding war.

Nikolaas Gyselbrecht, the founder and chief executive of Pipa, told the Press Association: “This pigeon has a race record that has never been matched by any other pigeon.

“In football terms you have Messi and Ronaldo – it’s that level.”

Armando attracted bids from countries around the world (Pipa)

The figure made Armando the most valuable bird ever sold in an online auction, according to Pipa, dwarfing the previous record of €376,000, which was set in November.

It also beat the record offline price of €500,000 paid for a pigeon named Mr Fantastic, Mr Gyselbrecht said.

Armando attracted bids from countries around the world, including the United States, South Africa and Belgium.

But the price, already a record, was pushed up by about €700,000 by two Chinese fanciers in the final hour of the two-week auction.

“There was nobody in the pigeon world who thought that would happen,” said Mr Gyselbrecht.

“We were hoping for four or five hundred thousand, and maybe a little bit dreaming of six.”

Armando is retired from racing at five years old, but holds such high value because of his breeding potential.

A number of his offspring were sold for five-figure sums in the same auction.

Armando is retired from racing (Pipa)

The bird has been described as the “Lewis Hamilton of pigeons” but the name does not impress Mr Gyselbrecht.

“I don’t know how important Lewis Hamilton is in Formula One,” he said. “Is he the best ever?

“Maybe Schumacher. This pigeon is the best ever.”

While the high-value sale has brought publicity to the pigeon world, it has not been without controversy.

“A lot of people I know congratulate me and think it’s good,” said Mr Gyselbrecht.

“But there’s also a group of people that do not like that so much money is involved.

“It’s like in football, some people can’t believe the money being paid. There are some who don’t like it.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Man injured in reported explosion in Donegal

Ukraine’s parliament rebels against new president’s decree

China cuts taxes to encourage chip makers in face of US pressure

Calls for Ireland to ban single-use plastics

More in this Section

Tesla ‘hires social media manager behind viral absolute unit sheep meme’

Kapuki the rhinoceros gives birth at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo

Philippines lightning strike captured in dramatic mobile phone pictures

Game of Thrones: 12 quotes that will stay with fans until Winter returns


Lifestyle

Talented Waterford hurler Seanie Barry surprised to learn he has Type 1 diabetes

From snail facials to blood moisturiser: the strangest things people have done for their skin

Thrill of the grill: 7 reds to fire-up the taste buds this barbecue season

How to make Selina Periampillai’s sunny-side-up egg, chicken and pak choi rice bowl

More From The Irish Examiner