Real and not real
The 'room auction' with 49 pigeons, bred by Boeckx, was in the little town of Schilde.
I was surprised to see how many people were present. Apparently they had nostalgic feelings about the good old days, when there were lots of such auctions every weekend.
Those were REAL auctions I heard in Schilde, to-day's Internet auctions are not.
Only a fool buys babies that he has never seen before for tens of thousands of euros.
The only reference such birds often have is their pedigree.
After all, you do not even buy a cheap cat or canary without having seen them, let alone a young pigeon.
Real auctions are those in which fanciers from Belgium and neighbouring countries are interested. The pigeons offered for sale are real and so are the prices paid for them.
Many internet auctions are not taken serious by most fanciers here, apart from those few that think prices of 15,000 euros or more for just a baby are normal.
Do not take me wrong. This is a free world. You cannot blame people who try and make as much money as possible for their birds.
In the past staggering amounts of money could be won in the races.
In to-day's pigeon sport much money can be made by selling, provided' foreign buyers are interested.
And many of those foreigners have wrong ideas about quality and prices.
They think there is a relation and do not realise pigeons are different.
An expensive watch is better than a cheap watch.
An expensive car is better than a cheap car.
But with pigeons there is not such a relation between quality and price.
It would not be the first time that a Chinese fanciers is not interested in birds because they are too cheap.
So to-day it looks that there are two kinds of auctions.
The sale in Schilde was a real one with normal prices.
Because let's still be honest and realistic. Is 300 or 350 ' for a young pigeon for the majority of the fanciers not more than enough?
I am pretty close with Boeckx who had told me which were his favourites.
Since I have a foreign friend that is always interested in good birds I informed him about the auction. And I told him about the birds that were Boeckx' first choice.
Buy me three of his favorites if they look good, he said and you may pay 'xxx' euros maximum for each of them.
So to the auction I went and handled all the birds that Boeckx had said, might be good. Not that I can see if a bird is good, but I can see if there is a CHANCE.
Two of them I liked and I bought them for my friend.
I paid 15% of the price that he was willing to pay.
When I am writing this we are two days later.
Some fanciers from abroad heard about the auction and prices that were paid. 'So cheap?'
'Hmm. Kind of normal for an auction with no Chinese bidders' I reacted.
And why were not they there? Because they do not know about Boeckx.
Boeckx has no website.
Boeckx never advertises.
Boeckx does not flatter press men with free birds to push him.
Boeckx has very simple hand written pedigrees.
What he does have is birds which are hard to beat at short distance.
The fact that Dutch and Belgian fanciers are not interested in pedigrees but in good birds explains why not one chair was free in the auction room.
Famous names that never bid on birds in Internet sales were there and bought birds
for little money.
Did they buy good birds?
Did I buy good birds?
No one can tell. But it is for sure there were some supers among those 49.
The question is which ones.
In fact every bird is 'a question' and why pay fortunes for 'questions?'
The auction reminded me of Mr X, perhaps the best racer in Belgium. Once he and me stood in his aviary amidst about 200 young birds.
'Will 10 percent of them be any good?' I asked this super man.
'I wish this were true' he said.
This super man is not only famous in Europe, but in China as well.
When he auctioned a round of babies there the average price was 6,000 euros.
Food for thought.
AFTER THE AUCTION
When the auction was over both Boeckx and me saw fanciers go home with carton boxes that contained one or more pigeons.
And we both thought the same thing: 'Which of them will be the lucky guys?'
Personally I think I have a good chance, but no more than that.
Good luck is SO important.
On my way home I was thinking about the late Klak.
He had one fixed price for ALL his birds.
Again food for thought.