In a matter of minutes, this black and white Muscovy became Britain’s most expensive duck – and was then handed back to its Shropshire owner for free.
It was all thanks to a touching gesture by friends of breeder Graham Hicks, who secretly raised £1,500 to buy it as a retirement gift in a dramatic bidding war at auction.
Graham was lost for words when he found out 40 pals had clubbed together to buy his prize-winning Muscovy drake – as he was the one who had put the bird up for sale in the first place.
Top poultry breeder Graham auctioned off around 1,400 birds, including geese, bantams and heavy and light ducks after announcing his retirement.
But friends and colleagues secretly formed a syndicate to place a winning bid of £1,500 for the prized drake, and presented it back to him as a memento of his 30-year career. An almost speechless Mr Hicks, from Selattyn near Oswestry, said: “It was a real surprise that they did it. It is so nice that the drake will be coming back to me.”
The price was the highest ever paid for a Muscovy drake in the UK. The average in Britain is less than £50.
Andy Cawthray, part of the syndicate at Park Hall Showground last Sunday, said dealers from all over the UK were at the sale: “It was a once-in-a-lifetime sale. It is the Red Rum of wildfowl and there was huge interest.
“People came with packed wallets because Graham is a top breeder.
“Our hearts were in our mouths – because we didn’t have any more money. It was unbelievable.”