A RACING pigeon from Bridlington has sold for a British record sum – even though it can’t fly.
The champion bird is on his way to Holland for 19,000 Euros (more than £16,700), a sum which may have been inflated because his ring number ends 666.
Owner Kerry Mellonby said the amount Champion Treble Six sold for amazed him. “It is a dream to me. I was flabbergasted. I will never own another bird like this.”
The champion pigeon was retired from racing two years ago after an injury, but he has been bought for his breeding pedigree.
And his distinctive ring number may have boosted his price tag because, although 666 is said to be the number of the devil, Kerry thinks it may be considered lucky in some cultures.
He said: “In 2009, he broke his wing exercising, so the new owners know that he can’t even fly. He has been a tremendous pigeon, I could guarantee he would be in the first four or five places every week.
“I have won overall first prize in Bridlington for the past few years, and some years Treble Six won me the title pretty much by himself.”
The on-line auction for Champion Treble Six was due to end at 1pm last Saturday but was extended by almost three hours because of the international interest.
“In the morning it was at 4,200 Euros and I thought we would reach 5,000. Then three new big bidders came in,” said Kerry.
“The leading English bidder went up to 12,600 Euros, but the eventual winner Yong Lin didn’t even come in until 13,000. I don’t think he would have stopped.
“I took my laptop into the garden because I was waiting for my other birds to come back from Eastbourne. I was so excited I can’t remember seeing them return.”
Kerry’s wife Lisa owns The Quay hair salon in Quay Road, and was desperate to keep up to date with the auction’s progress.
“I was ringing the shop to tell her it had pased 5,000 Euros, then 6,000, then 7,000. When I got to 15,000 Euros I could hear the screams,” said Kerry, of Mill Lane.
He has been racing pigeons for 30 years and knows that the very best can attract big prices.
Kerry added: “WIth online auctions, you do see £100,000 paid for one pigeon but they have told me this is a British record.
“This strain of bird is red hot on the Continent at the moment and he was the grandson from a champion called Bliksem who bred a national winner.
“A friend of mine breeds them and I race them, and I’ve had 20-odd first prizes with this bird.
“He started breeding with us straight away after his retirement so that made him even more valuable.”