Bird Feather Sold at Auction for $46,521

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.23 - 2024 9:12 AM CET

Photo: Webb's Auction House on YouTube
Photo: Webb's Auction House on YouTube
In a surprising auction event, a feather from the Huia bird fetched an astounding 46,521 New Zealand dollars (around €26,200) at an auction in Auckland.

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A single feather from the extinct New Zealand Huia bird has set a new world record price at an auction conducted by Webb's in Auckland.

The rare feather, characterized by its distinctive brown and white coloration, sold for a staggering 46,521 New Zealand dollars, far surpassing its pre-auction estimate of 2,000 to 3,000 New Zealand dollars.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Historic Auction

The auction house Webb's expressed astonishment at the record-breaking sale.

"Webb's is pleased to announce this major auction success, which exceeds the previous world record by 450 percent," the auction house reported to the German Press Agency. The previous record for a Huia bird feather was 8,400 New Zealand dollars, set in 2010.

"We are very pleased that this rare object of natural history has attracted such strong bidding interest," shared Leah Morris, head of the decorative arts department at Webb's.

The feather serves as a reminder of how fragile ecosystems are and how important it is to protect wildlife.

The Extinct Huia Bird

The Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris) was last seen in New Zealand in 1907 and has been considered extinct since then.

The bird held significant cultural value for the Maori, New Zealand's indigenous people. Huia feathers were highly prized, often used in the ceremonial headdresses of chiefs and traded as valuable items.

For the Maori, Huia feathers were more than just ornamental; they were symbols of status and respect. The feathers were integral to ceremonial attire and were often given as prestigious gifts or traded among tribes.

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