Clippings from long-dead celebrities’ hair have emerged widely at auctions in recent years.
In November 2009 alone, two blondish locks from George Washington and one clump from John Brown, retrieved after he was executed in 1859, brought a few thousand dollars each at auctions in Maryland, North Carolina and Massachusetts.
This September a single mustache hair pulled from John Dillinger’s death mask was part of a crime artifact lot that brought $5,400 at RR Auction in New Hampshire. Last month a gold pendant containing braided hair from Robert E. Lee sold for $12,500 at Doyle auction house in Manhattan. On Saturday Heritage Auctions in Dallas sold locks from Lincoln (for $38,837) and Ulysses S.Grant ($5,975).
A few major players currently dominate the hair market. Louis Mushro, a dealer and collector in Grosse Pointe, Mich., maintains an eBay site that promises authenticity affidavits for “historical hair” obtained “from the families of the great and from their barbers.”