A Prize Ham Hammers for $1.6 Million at a Kentucky Auction

A Prize Ham Hammers for $1.6 Million at a Kentucky Auction
"Are pigs the new cats?" New York Magazine fashion blog The Cut asked this week, noting the sudden omnipresence of porcine creatures in the fashion world as the animal-accessory of choice. Now ARTINFO has a question to ask: Are hams the new Hirsts? A 16-pound country ham earned an outsize, contemporary-art-style $1.6 million at the 47th annual Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast in Louisville, Kentucky, yesterday morning, according to the Lexington Herald-Ledger.

The winning bid, an all-time record for the annual tradition, was made through a partnership between Bernard Trager, who was bidding on behalf of the Republic Bank and Trust, and Mark Lynn, who runs a local ophthalmology firm. Each party agreed to contribute $800,000 to the purchase the ham, which will now go to a charity of their choosing. Lynn has designated that his share will go to the University of Louisville, the Visually Impaired Preschool Services, and Eastern Area Community Ministries. Trager is still making up his mind.

The long-running ham auction dates back to 1964, when the prize porker sold for $124. (Adjusting for inflation, that's about $849 today.) The Lexington Herald-Ledger notes that bids have shot up in recent years, with the ham averaging a $462,000 price tag over the past decade. In total, the event has raised $5.6 million for local charities. There is no word on how Trager and Lynn plan to manage the joint custody of their $100,000-a-pound delicacy, but ARTINFO has a great ham-heavy quiche recipe if they are interested.