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?

Assign to Google Classroom

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?

Assigned 123 times

  • benjif-2
    2/05/2015 - 04:07 p.m.

    This article is about collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia that has been sold at auction for more than $800,000. I think I think this is not right because Abraham Linconls stuff are thing and treasures of history. I technically would not buy Lincolns hair.

  • DylanM-4
    2/05/2015 - 07:02 p.m.

    A piece of Abraham Lincoln's hair recently sold in an auction for over $880,000. The price is doubled what they thought it would go for. They sold several other things during the auctions, and one of the most important ones was a letter from John Wilkes Booth. These letters are so precious because after he died, people burned most of his letters. This is a cool thing for whoever bought this piece of hair because they now own a piece of American History.

  • JonathanAA-4
    2/05/2015 - 07:31 p.m.

    This article was about how Abraham's Lincolns hair was collected and bidder for $803,889 but then sold for 25,000. Also a piece of linen from Lincoln's death bed and stained with Lincoln's blood sold for $6,000. These two things were extremely expensive. I thought this article was interesting because i think its cool that people can get pieces of past presedents from so long ago and retrieve them.

  • JasonW-1
    2/05/2015 - 07:45 p.m.

    A bunch of things about Abraham Lincoln were sold at an auction for a lot of money. This included some hair, some pictures, some letters and a bunch of other stuff. Everything was sold for a total over than $800,00. Well now a bunch of people have historical artifacts and stuff. I certainly would not pay for all that stuff.

  • ZachG-1
    2/05/2015 - 08:25 p.m.

    Many of president Lincoln's possessions are being sold off at auctions. A man named Dow has a piece of Abe's hair. He said "My father who died five years ago was fascinated with presidential assassinations." The piece of hair sold for more than eight-hundred thousand dollars! Many people have bought old documents and paintings that were Abe's.

    Wow, im so amazed that they still have a piece of the presidents hair from one hundred fifty years ago! In my opinion I think the price is a little over exaggerated for one piece of hair.

  • SpencerR-2
    2/05/2015 - 08:30 p.m.

    This is an article asking you how much you would pay for Abraham Lincolns hair. Someone bought a $803,889 piece of hair. This is a piece of hair from our 16th president. You may know him as the top hat president. This piece of hair was supposed to be sold for half that price but that wasn't the case.

    This article was very interesting. It was cool to hear the back story of this auction piece of memorabilia.

  • Hannahmab-3
    2/05/2015 - 08:39 p.m.

    Would you pay thousands for a dead presidents things? Nearly 300 years after president Abe Lincoln was assassinated some of is belongs were sold in a major auction. It was called the Donald P. Dow collection after the owner of the collections father. Greg Dow said is father who passed away five years ago was intrigued by presidential assassinations. Many amazing things were put on auction and were sold for outrageous amounts. A lock of hair cut off by the surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes who operated on Lincoln sold for $25,000. A piece of the Lincoln sheet of his death bed that was bloody sold for $6,000. There were many more letters and other important documents from the time that were related to Lincoln, his assassination, or John Wilkes Booth. Don Ackerman, who works for consignment director for Historical Americana at Heritage Auctions says that it would be hard to find a collection like this anywhere else other than a museum. The collection is large and in good condition upping the prices and making it more valuable. Some pieces are so rare because people were so appalled Booth's actions that they burned anything that had to do with his and Lincoln's assassination.

    I find it disgusting that someone would want some of these things. I can see a piece of paper, the documents and all, but a piece of hair that is almost 300 years old. Or a bloody be sheet that is just nasty. I do find it interesting however that some people keep these things for centuries and then sell them . Also that someone had s complete collection like this. To have a collection this bug with rare memorabilia is truly fascinating.

  • KellerB-2
    2/05/2015 - 08:43 p.m.

    i think that these artifacts should be stored in a museum and not sold at an auction. these pieces of history can tell historians a lot about Lincolns lifestyle if given a chance to be studied. this article is about quite a bit of Lincolns belongings including his hair, being sold at an auction.

  • JaclynK-4
    2/05/2015 - 09:02 p.m.

    Earlier this year, Abraham Lincoln's hair was sold for more than $800,000. Surprisingly, many people are willing to pay this much money for anything associated with our united states presidents. Many things have sold for high amount of money such as linen from Lincoln's death bed or a letter which Lincoln signed.

    I think this article was very interesting because I personally would not pay that much money for something so little yet but I do find it interesting how people do.

  • allies-4
    2/05/2015 - 09:04 p.m.

    At a recent auction Abraham Lincoln memorabilia was sold for upwards of 800,000 dollars. The artifacts included a letter, a lock of hair, signatures, pictures, documents, and a bloodstained piece of cloth. Each item sold for 10,000 or more dollars. Not all of the things sold were of Lincoln though, they included things from John Wilkes Booth and Boston Corbett. Why are people willing to pay so much, for so little?

Take the Quiz Leave a comment