A trader bought more than 4,000 pounds of elk antlers at the annual antler auction in Jackson on Saturday and plans to ship them to the Orient, where many believe they have aphrodisiac and medicinal properties.
Most of the 94 other bidders at the auction in the town square, however, simply wanted a hefty rack of five-pointers to hang above their fireplaces.Collectively, the bidders from across the country and around the world spent $111,257 for a total of 7,833 pounds of antlers that had been gathered by local Boy Scouts on the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, said Jim Wallace, local Boy Scout coordinator.
The sales in dollars more than doubled the amount collected last year, he said. The majority of the proceeds will go to pay for feed for the elk refuge where the animals spend the winter.
The highest bid for a single set of antlers came from Dale Hutchings of Jackson, who paid $663 for a matched pair.
Byung T. Chung of the Palma Trading Co., of Kent, Wash., had the largest buy of the day, paying $59,094 for the 4,020 pounds of antlers.
In the Orient, antlers are often ground into powder and slipped into tea - believed to have amorous effects.
The second highest price paid for a large quantity of antlers came from Richard Stewart of Olympia, Wash., who spent $17,636. Don Schaufler, of Ennis, Mont., spent $10,799.
Bids ranged from $8 a pound to $25.50 a pound.
The annual auction has been held since 1957.