Feather Of New Zealand's Extinct Huia Bird Auctioned For Rs. 23 Lakh

The huia bird was last seen in 1907 but existed until the 1920s. 

Feather Of New Zealand's Extinct Huia Bird Auctioned For Rs. 23 Lakh

The feather weighs approximately 9 grams

When we think of valuable articles or items, a feather is perhaps the last thing that strikes our mind, right? However, a feather of New Zealand's now-extinct huia bird has been auctioned for a staggering NZD$46,521.50, approximately ₹23 lakh. That makes it the world's most expensive feather ever sold at auction.

According to the most recent data by Gold Broker, the feather weighs approximately 9 grams, which makes it significantly more expensive than gold. 

Leah Morris, the Head of Decorative Arts at Webb's Auction House, told BBC that the feather was in wonderful condition. “It still has its very distinct sheen to it, and there was no insect damage,” she added. To ensure the feather had a “really long life”, the authorities at the auction house placed the item behind UV-protective glass with archival paper, Morris further said.

Florence S Fournier, the decorative arts specialist at the auction house, claimed that the huia bird feather was almost 100 years old, reported Morning Report. It arrived from a private collection, she added. “It's been with the vendor for some time, and they now feel it's time to move it on so some other person can enjoy it.” 

As per Webb's Auction House, the feather shattered the previous record of another feather belonging to the same bird species by 450 per cent. According to The Guardian, the huia bird was the largest wattlebird species in New Zealand. It was known for its melodious chirp, glossy black feathers, and white-coated tail feathers at the tip. 

The last Huia bird was spotted in the country back in 1907. However, it is believed that they existed even in the 1920s, before completely disappearing from Earth.  

For Māori natives, the bird held great significance and it was always mentioned in songs and sayings. A headpiece made from the huia bird's feather was allowed to be worn only by the Maori chiefs. When European settlers arrived in New Zealand, this bird was already rare, according to The Guardian. And their obsession with its feathers ultimately caused the extinction of the huia bird.