Two Chinese fanciers battled it out in an online auction to buy the star racer, smashing the previous record of €376,000 ($425,000). New interest from Asian markets in recent years has given the flagging practice a lift.
Belgium’s best long-distance racing pigeon, Armando, was the subject of a bidding war between two anonymous Chinese buyers, putting enthusiasts into a spin.
Armando was expected to break the previous record of €376,000 ($425,000), paid for a pigeon called Nadine by another Chinese buyer, but not by so much.
“No one expected that the magical cap of a million euros would be pulverized,” the Belgian enthusiast site Pigeon Paradise said, after the final bid of €1,252,000 was placed in the closing hour.
The site said the average price of €13,489 for the 178 pigeons sold in the auction was the second-most expensive stable it had seen sold.
Respected west Belgian breeder Joel Verschoot picked up a total of around €2 million through the auction, with the top bird expected to be used for breeding more stars.