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Record-breaking Extinct Huia bird feather sells for 15 times over estimated price at NZ auction
Kiwi As
Kiwi As

Record-breaking Extinct Huia bird feather sells for 15 times over estimated price at NZ auction

The bird was last seen in the early 1900s.

A single huia bird feather has sold at auction, breaking records by a whopping 450%.

Webb’s Auction House had expected to pull in around $2-3k for the rare feather, but all expectations were blown as the item sold at the hammer for a staggering $46,521.50.

It is now reportedly the world’s most expensive feather, and rightly so.

The huia bird, from the wattlebird family, was said to have last been seen in 1907. 

Their feathers were extremely important to Māori, often worn as headpieces by chiefs and their families and were used to gift or trade.


SOURCE: Webb's Auction House

When it came to the auction of the huia feather, all potential buyers had to provide a permit from the Ministry for Culture & Heritage before being considered eligible to bid.

The record-breaking feather, now owned by a private unnamed collector, was sold at Webb’s Material Culture live auction, where other items brought in some impressive prices. 

A Large Hei Tiki went for $10,157.50, a Prestigious and Chiefly Taiaha (staff) for $9,560, and a Pā Kahawai Fishing Hook for $1,553.50.

On the huia feather, Leah Morris, Head of Decorative Arts at Webb’s said: “We are very pleased the rare item of natural history has achieved such huge bidder interest, highlighting the fragility of our ecosystem and the importance of looking after its fauna.” 

The previous record for a huia feather was set in 2010, also by Webb’s and went for  $8,400. 

Pulling in these sorts of prices in 2024, it’s clear that the huia bird's legacy continues to hold a special place in Aotearoa.