What’s An Antler Worth? Part II

In my last post I described my visit to the Whitetail Classic and Antler Auction last week. There were some serious piles of antlers for sale, and a good-sized crowd of folk present to bid on them. I found the experience fascinating; a glimpse into a subculture/industry that, until this show, I barely knew existed.

Prices were all over the map, but as a rule, antlers from wild deer are far more valuable. Two examples that I witnessed; a single antler scoring 138-2/8" that went for $2,700, and a matched set (with a drop tine on one side) scoring 202-3/8 that fetched $2,900. Moose sheds are similarly valuable, as they are rarely raised in captivity and they are difficult to find. As in all collecting, rarity influences value in the antler world.

The man in this photo is one of the top antler buyers in the country. He's holding a matched set of very impressive whitetail sheds. However, they will go for a fraction of the cost of the examples I noted above, because these come from a captive deer. So here's a quickie quiz; how can you tell these are from a pen-raised buck? Hint: Size isn't the answer.

Sorry, no prizes for guessing correctly this time. But I'll hop in to the comments and tell you who got it right first and why.