What would you pay for Abraham Lincoln's hair? An 1861 letter written by actor John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's future assassin, to a friend boasting about his career and value (AP photos)
What would you pay for Abraham Lincoln's hair?
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A collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia that includes a lock of the slain president's hair has been sold for more than $800,000 at auction.

The Donald P. Dow collection brought top bids totaling $803,889, doubling expectations, said Eric Bradley, spokesman for Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.

Greg Dow said his father, who died five years ago, was fascinated with presidential assassinations.

The lock of hair, taken by Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes shortly after Lincoln was shot in 1865 by John Wilkes Booth, sold for $25,000.

An 1861 letter, written by Booth to a friend, boasting about his career and value as an actor sold for $30,000.

"The public was so disgusted by Booth's atrocity that most all letters, signatures and documents mentioning him were destroyed after Lincoln's death, making any that survive 150 years later exceedingly rare and valuable," said Don Ackerman, consignment director for Historical Americana at Heritage Auctions. "The Dow Collection gave us a unique perspective of the assassination and I doubt we'll ever see a grouping like this outside of a museum setting."

Other items auctioned included:

a clipping of linen from Lincoln's death bed and stained with Lincoln's blood, for $6,000.

an 1864 letter signed by Lincoln and authorizing a prisoner-of-war swap involving Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's son from a Union POW camp, for $27,500.

A display of photographs and autographs from Lincoln, Booth and Boston Corbett, the soldier who shot and killed Booth. The set is nicknamed "The Martyr, The Assassin and The Avenger" and sold for $30,000.

a set of four oil paintings created for a carnival side show displaying the mummified remains of a man claimed to be Booth, for $30,000.

Booth's military arrest warrant, for $21,250.

a framed White House Funeral Admittance Card, for $11,875.

a letter signed by Mary Todd Lincoln on her personal mourning stationery, for $10,625.

Critical thinking challenge: "The Martyr, The Assassin and The Avenger refers to who?

Assigned 12 times


COMMENTS (32)
  • 8annat
    2/05/2015 - 11:35 a.m.

    A recent auction was held and many things that had belonged to Abraham Lincoln and other older historic figures. A total of 800,000 dollars was collected. Some of the things that were sold there included a piece of Abraham Lincoln's hair, A letter signed by Lincoln, and a copy of Booth's military arrest warrant. Lastly, a piece of linen from Lincoln's death bed which was stained with his blood was sold for an incredible 6,000 dollars.

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    2/05/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    People pay ridiculous amounts of money to get famous people's stuff and things they've touched. This said, I can't even imagine how much a dead, famous person's hair. However, some crazy person might try to like clone him or something because if they have enough money to pay for the hair, they'd have enough money to do something like that.

  • nicholas.jones07
    2/05/2015 - 01:14 p.m.

    I think that this is very interesting. I think everything that had anything to do with a president was worth a lot of money but, 800,000 dollars that's a lot. I wish I had that much money. They were also selling linen with Lincoln's blood on it. I think that's interesting.

  • JacobM-5
    2/05/2015 - 09:40 p.m.

    In this article it was about a auction of president Lincoln's hair. This item was expected to sell for 400,000, but it got sold for far above that. The final price for the lock of hair was over 800,000 dollars. There was other items from that time soled as well like warrants, letter, painting, and other thing. I enjoyed this article because it talked about some of the old parts of history and what has become of it now.

  • jameswill-DiB
    2/06/2015 - 08:47 a.m.

    I can't believe people would pay that amount of money for something so simple like a piece of hair. I wonder what the value of current historical figures personal items will be worth 100 years from now.

  • HarperChristopher-DiB
    2/06/2015 - 09:40 a.m.

    I would pay like 1000000 million dollars for it because when I have his hair I would preserve it in a container and when I am about to die I would sell in the market for a lot of money and the. Give the money I get to my grandson

  • anthonyt-DiB
    2/06/2015 - 10:56 a.m.

    The martyr is Lincoln, the assassin is Booth and the avenger is Corbett. Corbett killed Booth to avenge Lincoln's assassination. Lincoln is the martyr because he was against slavery in a time when slavery was a hot issue.

  • jasonm-Koc
    2/06/2015 - 12:48 p.m.

    I would not pay one dollar for his hair. I think that is very weird tht people actually want old hair. That is very weird in my opinion.

  • MikaylaStazewski-Ste
    2/06/2015 - 01:21 p.m.

    I could see and understand why people would want to buy Abraham Lincoln's hair, but I most likely would never pay any amount of money for his hair.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    2/07/2015 - 06:56 p.m.

    I can kind of understand people wanting to buy official documents that historical people wrote or signed, but hair, i just don't get it. It's kind of weird that someone would just cut another person's hair and hold onto it all these years. I can imagine some people in this world passing in down through their family, the precious hair of Lincoln.

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