New Kim holds the title as the most expensive racing pigeon.
The bird was sold for a staggering $1.9 million in December of 2020.
Before New Kim, the most expensive racing pigeon was Armando, who was purchased for $1.3 million dollars.
Both pigeons were bought by a Chinese breeder, a country where the sport of pigeon racing is very popular.
Before New Kim and Armando broke the $1 million dollar mark, racing pigeons could be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Previous highest prices were much lower
- Bolt – 2013 – $400,000
- Golden Prince – 2017 – $580,000
- Nadine – 2017 – $470,000
- New Bliksem – 2018 – $435.000
Interestingly, the pigeons that have traditionally commanded these prices are mostly from Belgium – the place where pigeon racing began!
Why are Racing Pigeons so Expensive?
You’re probably wondering why anyone would pay so much money for a bird, especially a pigeon, which you can find in droves wandering the streets in cities everywhere.
The reason they cost so much is because of the demand, mainly in China.
Both New Kim and Armando demanded such high prices because of a bidding war between dueling pigeon fanciers.
In China, and many other places around the world, racing pigeons are classified as a luxury.
For people with the money, owning luxury goods is a lifestyle, as is engaging in expensive hobbies.
Even when the birds can no longer fly, they can still be used to breed future award-winning racing pigeons.
Armando, for example, was not raced after being obtained for his then-record price but was purely used for breeding.
How Do Racing Pigeons Compare To Other Animals?
Pigeons aren’t the only animals used for racing. So how do their costs compare to other animals used for racing and breeding?
A sheepdog once sold for ￡18,900, which is equivalent to more than $26,000.
Another status symbol in China is the Mastiff dog, one of which sold for￡945,000 or more than $1.3 million.
In Tokyo, a giant tuna was auctioned for $3.1 million and a show cow once fetched $1.2 million.
The animal that trumps all others though is the horse.
Top horses used in various sports including racing, eventing, showjumping etc can reach prices that are stratospheric compared to other animals.
One reason is that there is huge money at stake in equine sports – particularly horse racing.
The current record price for a racehorse is $70 million that was paid for Fusaichi Pegasus who won the Kentucky Derby.
Racing pigeons may not be the most expensive animal in the world, but they certainly rank right up there.
For someone passionate about pigeon racing and who loves the breed, it may be a small price to pay to get the best pigeon on record.