By Walt Hickey Welcome back! Pigeon A Belgian-bred racing pigeon has sold at auction for 1.6 million euros ($1.9 million) to a Chinese buyer. New Kim, the million-dollar bird, beat the record sale price for a racing pigeon — set last year by the pigeon Armando — by 350,000 euros ($406,000), and Armando’s owner is reportedly the buyer. The sport — once a niche hobby in Western Europe that has since exploded among wealthy elites in China — is booming, and the cause for the auction was a breeder behind one of Belgium’s finest coops retired and was looking to unload his 445 birds. Belgium had been the center of the breeding component of the sport for some time, and while the game is in decline there — after World War II there were 250,000 Belgians in the pigeon fancier federation and today there are just 18,000 — the rise of the fandom (and gambling on it) in China has given the moribund hobby a new lease on life.
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