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Feather from extinct bird sells for record-breaking $28,417

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May 22 (UPI) -- A New Zealand auction house said a single feather from an extinct huia bird became the most expensive feather in the world when it sold for $28,417.

Webb's Auction House said the feather had been expected to sell for up to $1,800, but shattered expectations -- as well as the previous record, which was set by a feather from a bird of the same species when it sold for $5,150 in 2010.

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The huia bird was considered sacred by the Māori people, and their feathers would adorn the headpieces of chiefs and their families.

The last confirmed sighting of a huia bird was in 1907, although unconfirmed sightings were reported over the course of the ensuing 30 years.

"We are very pleased that this 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," Leah Morris, head of Decorative Arts at Webb's Auction House, said in a news release.

Morris told the BBC that the record-breaking feather was "in wonderful condition."

"It still has its very distinct sheen to it, and there was no insect damage," she said.

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The feather is registered under a program to protect objects of cultural significance to the Māori people. The program required all bidders to be registered collectors, and the feather cannot be taken outside of New Zealand without written consent from the Ministry of Culture & Heritage.

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