Armando, the 'Lewis Hamilton of pigeons' sells for record €1.25m

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A champion pigeon has been sold for a record €1.25m ($1.42m; £1.07m).

Auction house Pipa called Armando the “best Belgian long-distance pigeon of all time”. He’s also been dubbed the “Lewis Hamilton of pigeons”.

Before this sale, the record was €376,000 (£321,800). However, Pipa says this was beaten within a day of Armando being put up for bids.

The champ, who turns five this year, is now enjoying his retirement and has already fathered a number of chicks.

“It was unreal, the feeling – it was something out of this world,” Nikolaas Gyselbrecht, the CEO of Pipa – short for “Pigeon Paradise” – told the BBC of the moment someone put down a bid of more than €1m.ADVERTISEMENT

“In our wildest dreams, we had never hoped for a price like that. We hoped for around €400,000 to €500,000, and we only dreamed of €600,000.”

Armando the pigeon
Image captionHe’s going to turn five this year

Mr Gyselbrecht said that two buyers from China ended up in a bidding war, escalating from €532,000 up to €1.25m in just over an hour.

To put it all in perspective, he says, the usual price for a racing pigeon is around €2,500.ADVERTISEMENT

But Armando is no usual pigeon. The last three races of his career were the 2018 Ace Pigeon championship, the 2019 Pigeon Olympiad and the Angoulême – and he won them all.

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