The most expensive feather in the world sold at auction in New Zealand

The most expensive feather in the world sold at auction in New Zealand

A feather from a huia, a symbolic bird of New Zealand, was sold at auction on May 13 for more than 26,000 euros. This specimen, now extinct, represents a part of New Zealand's history.

On May 13, a feather from the now-extinct New Zealand huia sold at auction for 46,521 New Zealand dollars (NZD), or more than 26,000 euros, becoming the most expensive feather in the world, the daily reported. New Zealand Herald.

The Hoya is an emblematic bird of New Zealand, easily recognized by its ivory-coloured beak and long black feathers tinged with white at the end of its tail. The hoya is found mainly in the North Island, and was last seen in 1907, according to Auckland City Museum of Natural History.

A symbol of strength

The Hoya feather, carefully preserved under protective glass, comes from the tail of a specimen and measures 205 x 45 mm. It is extremely rare, having surpassed initial sales estimates of between $2,000 and $3,000, making it the most expensive pen in the world.

The last record dates back to 2010 when another Hoya feather was sold at auction for $8,400.

“The huia feathers were very valuable and were exchanged for other valuable goods,” Leah Morris, director of Whipps Auctions in Auckland, where the feather was sold, told the New Zealand Herald.

Feathers symbolize Mana She added: “And prestige.”

A symbol of nobility and leadership, Hoya feathers were worn as head decorations to represent chiefs and people of great influence. Mana (Power and strength).

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Hoya diplomacy

According to the Auckland City Museum of Natural History, huia feathers were also presented as a sign of friendship and respect to other nations. Europeans, who realized the value of the hoya, loved to wear the dried heads and beaks of these birds in the form of gold-adorned necklaces, and to decorate Victorian dresses with their shiny black feathers. A craze that eventually led to the disappearance of this native species.

However, the desire to own a bit of hoya remains strong internationally. According to the daily WatchmanIn 2023, a pair of stuffed hoyas were sold at a British auction for NZ$466,000, despite opposition from the New Zealand government.

“The huia is such a distinctive bird that many people recognize it in one way or another,” Leah Morris told The Guardian.

A huia feather sold in May was registered in New Zealand as Taunga Totoro (Authentic Treasure) from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage Zealand. This situation means that the collector registered with the ministry is the only one authorized to purchase this feather, which is considered part of the local heritage. It is also prohibited to transport it outside New Zealand without a permit.

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