Markets in everything China bid of the day

Wealthy Chinese have been snapping up contemporary art, top wines and some the world’s most expensive cars. Now they’re adding pigeons to their must-have list.

A Chinese shipping magnate last weekend spent 250,400 euros ($328,000) for a Dutch pigeon, a new world record according to Pipa, the firm that ran the online auction.

These aren’t your ordinary birds that eat scraps in the park but ones bred for the arcane sport of pigeon racing, which has a cult following in England, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and, increasingly, China.

The buyer, Hu Zhen Yu, runs Zhenyu Holding Group in Wenzhou. He told Pipa that he wants to “focus more and more on the pigeon sport.” Zhenyu last year sponsored a pigeon race in Wenzhou that awarded 7 million yuan ($1.1 million) in prize money.

But all is not well with the pecuniary externalities:

Pigeon racing has traditionally been a rural pastime, and the entrance of wealthy Chinese hobbyists is ruffling some feathers. The Telegraph quoted veterans of the sport complaining about the high bids and loss of the birds to another continent.

The link is here and for the pointer I thank the excellent Daniel Lippman.  Here is also another MIE in China link.  Here are China’s hard landing odds, updated.


When money creation is too high, people will put their money into odd places.

My grandfather, a German, was really into racing pigeons. They are actually alot cooler birds than you would think just watching the one-winged, scruffy birds you see in big cities. They were so tame that they would come down and land on family member's shoulders.

How does one tell the pigeon where the race course ends?

rahul, you take the pigeons away from home and they race back to their homes. So they are just returning to the coop, but to humans they are racing

It's understandable that they're complaining about the loss. Pigeons are a non-renewable resource, you can't just make more of them. Oh wait...

"the arcane sport of pigeon racing": that's a bit parochial, isn't it?

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