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

  • mattf-Koc
    2/09/2015 - 03:29 a.m.

    800,000 for a lock of hair. It just amazes me what people will buy and the price they will purchase the product at. However if this is the case than I do think i might just go cut a lock of Beyonces hair and keep it for a rainy day. You never know what someone is willing to pay.

  • JU00baseball
    2/09/2015 - 08:50 a.m.

    While reading this article I was fascinated by how much money people were actually willing to spend on history. When they said a piece of his hair went for over 800,000 I was so surprised. He's been dead for a while now but he's still what people are talking about its crazy.

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    2/09/2015 - 09:24 a.m.

    I personally feel that it is very odd to keep a dead person's hair. I have heard of it before, but I know for sure that I would never feel comfortable to do that. No matter who's it is.

  • Damikus123
    2/09/2015 - 01:13 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.

  • TreyvaunT
    2/09/2015 - 01:29 p.m.

    I would pay absolutely nothing for Abraham Lincoln's hair. That is just weird. Why would you want anybody's hair. What would you even do with it. Put it on your shelf.

  • ratiaira
    2/09/2015 - 01:32 p.m.

    I honestly would not pay anything for some one else hair because I would think it was a waste of money I know he was a famous president but that is just creepy

  • MadisonSch
    2/09/2015 - 01:35 p.m.

    I would most certainly not pay over $500,000 for someones hair, even if they were famous. What am I going to do with the hair. Stare at it all day and brag to all my friends about it.

  • CharismaM
    2/09/2015 - 01:40 p.m.

    Unless I was someone who is fascinated by old artifacts, I definitely wouldn't pay thousands of dollars for a lock of hair. I would probably spend my money on other things that are more important.

  • stephanieg-Che
    2/09/2015 - 01:49 p.m.

    To be honest I pay anything for president hair I think that's nasty president Lincoln died like a long time ago. I really don't care about the presidents and the stuff they left behind. If someone wants to buy some hair for 25,000 dollars they can. Honestly these things are boring for me.

  • carlosv-Che
    2/09/2015 - 01:51 p.m.

    to be honest I wouldn't even pay like 808008 dollars just for some dead person hair all ill give them would be the nickel were his face is at on it.

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