This single feather was sold for $28,000

  • A single feather from an extinct bird sold for more than $28,000
  • It came from the now-extinct huia bird
  • The sale took place in New Zealand

Published on May 22, 2024 at 1:56 PM (UTC+4)
by Siddharth Dudeja

Last updated on May 23, 2024 at 3:28 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

On today’s episode of ‘Most Unusual Auctions’, a single feather from an extinct huia bird was sold for $28,000.

You read that right — the quill from the now-extinct bird from New Zealand was up for auction, and someone just spent a huge amount to own it.

This purchase makes it the world’s most expensive feather by quite a margin.

The purchase broke the previous record sale held by another huia feather, which sold for $5,100 in 2010.

READ MORE: Unique Dubai license plate sells for $2 million to highest bidder

So, what’s so special about this huia relic?

Obviously, it’s not like this rare Rolex that sold for $3.5 million, but it has its place in history.

The huia bird was the largest wattlebird species in New Zealand, most commonly known for its pleasing song.

These birds had long-tailed, black glossy feathers with their tip covered in an attractive white color.

Furthermore, the species went extinct in the early 1900s, with the last confirmed sighting in 1907.

Some reported seeing one about 20-odd years later, but nobody could confirm it.

It has a sacred history, too.

The Māori people respected the bird, and their chiefs and other high-ranking officials often wore the quills as headpieces.

Essentially, it was a sign of respect, and Māori also used the feathers for gifting and trading.

The species became so popular at one point that many hunters went after the bird in large numbers during the 19th century.

According to the Museum of New Zealand, they did it to sell the bird’s skin to collectors and fashion merchants.

The sale is so unique that it could make it to the list of the craziest items ever sold at auction.

Coming back to the item that fetched a hefty price — it sold for a much higher amount than the auction house expected.

According to Webb’s Auction House, the feather was expected to sell for $3,000 but went for way higher.

Someone paid almost $30,000 — well, $28,417 to be precise — for the extremely rare huia feather.

“This rare huia feather is a beautiful example of Aotearoa’s natural history and reminds us of the fragility of our ecosystem,” Leah Morris, Head of Decorative Arts at Webb’s Auction House, said in a statement.

So, it has a great history, is a true artifact of natural history, and represents a proud culture.

Still, that’s a lot of money for a feather from a dead bird, right?

But, if it’s important enough to someone, no amount is too much.


Siddharth Dudeja

Siddharth is a tech nerd with a secret love of all things cars. He has been writing for a few years now, and on his free time you would find him gaming when he's not procrastinating.