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?
Lexile

A collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia has been sold at auction for more than $800,000. It includes a lock of the slain president's hair.

The Donald P. Dow collection brought top bids totaling $803,889. The amount doubled expectations, said Eric Bradley. He is 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 was taken by Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes. The physician obtained it shortly after Lincoln was shot in 1865 by John Wilkes Booth. It sold for $25,000.

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

The Booth letter is very rare and valuable because the public was so disgusted by his crime. Almost all letters, signatures and documents mentioning him were destroyed after Lincoln's death, said Don Ackerman. He is consignment director for Historical Americana at Heritage Auctions.

"The Dow Collection gave us a unique perspective of the assassination. I doubt we'll ever see a grouping like this outside of a museum setting."

Here are some of the other items.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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COMMENTS (89)
  • BrennaWalker1
    2/05/2015 - 10:34 a.m.

    What would you pay for Abraham Licoln's hair?
    I would not pay a dime for something like that. Yes, I know he was a president but what would I do with it? Hang it up next to my soccer trophies? Yeah right... I will leave all of the biding to the "old" people who are interested in those things. So, how much would I pay for Abrahams Licoln's hair? I would pay nothing for it.

  • serenas-boo
    2/05/2015 - 11:16 a.m.

    The Martyn , The Assassin and The Avenger refer to Abarham Lincoln.
    In my option i find it extremely pointless to auction off dead president hair also it is very creapy.

  • EmilyF-Mau
    2/05/2015 - 11:20 a.m.

    wow i would never pay $800,00 dollars for the presents hair first that would be creepy second how did they get the present hair? who would even pay that much for the presents hair did they opened his grave and shaved the hair off abraham

  • WesleyDOrange
    2/05/2015 - 11:58 a.m.

    i read a book called chasing Lincoln killer it told the whole stories of the assassination of Lincoln and the chasing of his killer if you like stuff about Lincoln you would like that book. I thought 800000 $ for a piece of his hair is a crazy amount of money.

  • Riley-Arm
    2/05/2015 - 01:02 p.m.

    Honestly I think it would be weird to own a person's hair, but some people for some reason would pay thousands of dollars for Abraham Lincoln's hair!

  • RJC2000Red
    2/05/2015 - 01:11 p.m.

    The Martyr, Assassin, and The Avenger I guess refer to John Wilkes Booth for the assassination of president Lincoln. Then again I wouldn't call this an assassin just a murder because it was probably planned

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

    I don't think I would pay to have Lincoln's hair. I say that it is kinda gross! I can understand why someone would want to buy it, I mean it is the president's hair! I wouldn't buy it because the article said that it was cut off him after the assassination and that means that it was cut off of a dead man. I would buy some of the other items if I had the money, but not the hair.

  • Kaelyn-Arm
    2/05/2015 - 01:25 p.m.

    How could a piece of Abraham Lincoln's hair be sold for $803,889? I know that he was a president in all, but really! Just for a lock of his hair? I know that I wouldn't spend that much money on a presidents lock of hair! I wouldn't pay for one of his autographs or anything of his because that would be weird!!!

  • hystericalcat
    2/05/2015 - 02:44 p.m.

    I can't believe that they sold a piece of his hair for $25,000. They also sold A framed White House Funeral Admittance Card sold for $11,875. That's a lot of money just for that stuff.

  • ksadat-5
    2/05/2015 - 04:05 p.m.

    Abraham Lincoln memorabilia has been sold at very high prices in the past, one actually selling for eight hundred thousand dollars. One of those items that was sold was a lock of Lincoln's hair. Many people are fascinated by assassinated presidents and memorabilia. The lock of Lincoln's hair was sold for twenty five thousand dollars and a letter to Booth was sold for thirty thousand dollars. According to sources, a Booth letter is a rare find and can be worth lots.

    I think that it is amazing that some pieces of presidential memorabilia was sold for more that eight hundred thousand dollars. I also find it very odd that someone would spend that much money. It's not a solid gold Rolex of a Ferrari, its just a piece of memorabilia. Many people may be fascinated, and so am I but I would never, ever spend more than fifty dollars. It's cool to see it but not worth the money. Either way, this was a very informative article.

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