A special visit
The Chinese was accompanied by a Belgian interpreter.
Normally I am not keen on visitors, but they would only stay for one hour to talk about pigeons and I felt like opening some eyes.
He had already spent fortunes on pigeons the interpreter said.
People often exaggerate when they talk about money but this man seemed to be serious and mentioned some Belgian names where they had bought birds and the money that was paid for them.
That day they had bought 6 babies from 'a great champion' for real much money, the birds were in the trunk of the car and they asked if I would want to see them.
I was not interested because I knew that "great champion" and his pigeons.
There was nothing wrong with him but in the races he meant nothing, he was just a seller. But what surprised me was that they had paid so much money, since this 'great champion' was not that expensive.
"Do you think we did the wrong thing buying these birds?" the interpreter asked.
I shrugged and asked whether he was sure that the pigeons were so expensive. The interpreter blushed and began to tell.
In fact, the price was "only" 100 e indeed but if he would have mentioned that price the Chinese would have been offended. He only wanted the very best and cheap pigeons could not be any good the Chinese thought.
Therefore he had increased the price to 500 e each.
I should understand that 'his friend' had not made that long trip (business class) to buy pigeons at 100 e each.
He would also make a fool of himself if his friends would hear he had bought birds at such a cheap price.
I asked whether the interpreter himself was a fancier.
That was not the case.
"Look" I said, "I can follow your reasoning, I know how immensely na've some foreign buyers are, despite their wealth.
That is because they are brainwashed by the press, auctioneers and middle men whose only goal is to make money.'
He ignored me and insisted:
'Is that champion not honest? Would you not want any of these 6 birds?'
'The man is ok' I said, 'but you have no idea how many babies he breeds annually. When his birds train it looks like a solar eclipse and he does not have even one real good bird. He is just a name abroad.
His birds have good pedigrees indeed but so what?'
Then I asked how old those 6 babies were.
'At least 5 months' he said.
I should know that Chinese have little patience and want to breed from birds directly after they buy them, therefore they want older birds.
"Then you certainly bought junks 'I said.
"Early breeds in which the breeder has confidence he keeps for himself to race. Or do you think he will sell his favourites and keep the lesser ones?"
This remark made him sink into deep thought. Then he asked if they could see some of my birds.
That was no problem.
I handed the Chinese a pigeon, he got some glasses from his pocket, then he
carefully examined the eye and nodded approvingly.
'Good pigeon' he said and went on in Chinese that I should give it a partner with yellow eyes. In that case he would want youngsters of this pair.
The interpreter asked me to write down the price in USD, 30% I should give to him.
I wrote down '600'.
He explained to 'his friend' but I clearly understood the word 'euros' and was stunned.
Apart from his 30% commission he also made money by mentioning the wrong currency, since 600 euro or 600 USD is quite a difference.
And how could the visitor say 'a good pigeon?'
I always thought that the results or the results of the babies would tell if a bird was any good as a racer or a breeder. Am I too simplistic and could this man who could hardly handle a bird see if a bird was any good?
'But wasn't the father a pure Janssen?' he said.
"So what?" I replied again and ignored his question to buy babies of it.
When he told me then that his client had bought a National winner for very much money, a bird that apart from this 1st prize National had only won 2 more prizes in 3 years' time I knew for sure: This Chinese with two loft managers was a nice man but in pigeon sport he would never make it, despite his wealth.
That National winner was clearly a lucky winner. Lucky winners exist!
I shook hands and heard that they left for a big name in Holland.
With the emphasis on name.
On their way to him they would pass numerous fanciers with much better birds, but those were people with no name, no strain, no own website, no agent.
And during the racing season the last thing they worry about is the birds of those names that are so famous abroad.
What I mean is this:
- Today fortunes are paid for pigeons but many of them fall into the hands of collectors, breeding stations and people who want to show off.
- If you want to improve your family do not buy early breeds or old birds. No serious fancier sells 'his future'.
- Don't believe all amounts that are circulating and watch out for some(!) middle men. - Do not be discouraged because others can afford to buy expensive pigeons. It is even an advantage if you have little money to spend because you will think twice before you buy. Furthermore people with little money will select stricter. And the story about the Chinese? No letter of it is fake.
Unfortunately there are many people like him; doomed to fail!