A Texel lamb named Double Diamond and described by many as “genetically perfect” recently became the world’s most expensive sheep, commanding a price of 350,000 guineas ($490,000) at a Scottish auction.
Texel sheep, originating from the tiny island of Texel, just off the coast of the Netherlands, routinely command five-figure prices at auctions, thanks to their lean meat and wool used for hosiery yarns, but a particularly special specimen just made other Texels look cheap.
Double Diamond, am outstanding lamb featuring the best genetics, had sheep breeders in the whole of the UK up in arms trying to somehow get their hands on him.
Even before the Scottish National Texel sale in Lanark had started, some breeders had already partnered up to bid a higher price for Double Diamond.
“It was more nerve-racking than excitement,” Jeff Aiken, one of three breeders who allied to bid for Double Diamond, said.
“We knew it was going to be something really special. He was just an outstanding animal, backed up by all the best genetics. There were about seven or eight people who really, really wanted him and that’s what led to the price.”
Before the auction, Aiken and another breeder had decided to bid for the lamb together, but as competition became stiffer, a third breeder joined the partnership. Thus the trio managed to outbid everyone else, offering a whopping 350,000 guineas ($490,000) for Double Diamond.
The previous record for a sheep sold at auction stood at just over $307,000, set in 2009.
“Don’t get me wrong, it is an obscene amount of money to pay for a sheep, and it definitely should not be a reflection on the farming community,” Aiken pointed out.
So what’s next for Double Diamond, the new world’s most expensive sheep? Well, his three owners will be sharing him on their farms, pairing him off with dams for a premium price, and as he gets older, his sperm will be collected for artificial insemination, so he can continue passing on his exceptional genetics.
One thing is for sure, Double Diamond will have a lot of work to do to justify his price tag…