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?

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. The amount doubled 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 was taken by Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes 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, 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. 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."

Other items auctioned included the following.

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, 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, for $30,000. The show displayed the mummified remains of a man claimed to be Booth.

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?

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  • morgann-war
    2/06/2015 - 01:59 p.m.

    This article I found interesting because I never knew people would sell things of other peoples, like their hair or a letter that they found with that other persons signature on it.

  • nichoias98
    2/26/2015 - 03:14 p.m.

    Even though I think he is a great president I would still not buy his hair. It would be a cool thing to have, but with what there betting its not worth it. Unless they are making clones of him what is the point of it. Hint whoever bought it give it to some smart scientists, but make sure your run some DNA testing to make sure it is his hair. What's next selling his fingers.

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