"'The only thing I can see is we are in total shock,' said Kurt Van de Wouwer, whose family bred New Kim."
During a frantic last half hour Sunday at the end of a two-week auction, two Chinese bidders operating under the pseudonyms of Super Duper and Hitman drove up the price by 280,000 euros ($325,000), leaving the previous record that Belgian-bred Armando fetched last year well behind by 350,000 euros ($406,000). Super Duper got the 3-year-old hen.
successful breeder Gaston Van de Wouwer retired at 76 and his son had too busy a professional life to continue the famed pigeon coop. All 445 birds were put on auction and the overall sale was closing in on 5 million euros ($5.8 million). A second part of the auction is ending on Monday, but did not include any bird that could match New Kim.
Belgians have long stood out as the best breeders, both because of their generations-long experience and the density of a network where many breeders can organize races close together. It's not a short-term endeavour, however, since becoming expert at genetic breeding with the constant mixing and mating of birds takes years, if not decades. Birds can live up to 15 years.