MastroNet December 2005
Category:
Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on: 12/9/2005

In MastroNet's April 2005 Premier Auction, a lock of three hundred strands of Abraham Lincoln's hair realized over $30,000. The offered, comparable lock originates from the same prominent collection, documented in Carl Sandburg's book Lincoln Collector: The Story of Oliver R. Barrett’s Great Private Collection (1949). Among the many cherished objects of Chicagoan Oliver Barrett (1873-1950), Sandburg notes, on Page 208, "A small box with three locks of hair indicates 'No. 1. Willie Lincoln's hair'; 'No. 2. Abraham Lincoln's hair taken from his head after death'; 'No. 3. Abraham Lincoln's hair clipped from his head at the tomb.'" As with our offering in April, which was similarly configured in a vintage hinged display, it is the second of those three historic locks from which the several hundred strands here presented were culled.

The sequence of events, as outlined in the accompanying provenance, is as follows: 1) Barrett's three locks, housed in their original box, are sold by Parke-Bernet Galleries (908 Madison Ave., New York) as item 155 in the Oliver R. Barrett Lincoln Collection Public Auction, held on February 19-20, 1952. A photocopy of the catalog page is included here. 2) Winning bidder Glenn Blodgett retained the box of hair locks until his death in 1966, at which point his widow sold the hair to C. W. Loud of Petersberg, IL, an auctioneer who offered the new acquisition as item L-14 in his "Sale No. 4, Famous Names Auction" on November 27, 1966. A photocopy of the auction catalog's cover and description page accompanies. 3) The winning bidders this time were James T. Hickey, curator of the Lincoln Collection of the Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield, Illinois, and R. Gerald McMurtry, Director of the Lincoln National Life Foundation in Fort Wayne Indiana. On December 6, 1966, the locks of hair and the original box in which they had resided since 1865, were photographed (images are included) and then evenly divided between Hickey and McMurtry, each receiving half of the three different locks. All of the preceding information, from Barrett's collection to Hickey and McMurtry's "splitting hairs" in 1966, is attested to in an accompanying notarized letter from McMurtry dated December 14, 1966. 4) The lock of hair here offered was acquired from McMurtry by noted Lincolniana collector Lloyd Ostendorf in 1967. Beautifully framed with a vintage portrait image of Lincoln in an ornate hinged thermoplastic case (6-1/2" x 3-3/4" when open), the hair then changed hands to a Dr. W. A. Hammond, who ultimately gave the hair to the collection of Miami University of Ohio—from whom it was acquired by our consignor. 

The hair and all of the pertinent documents have been examined in person by John Reznikoff of University Archives. Mr. Reznikoff is not only one of the nation's foremost collectors of hair, but also one of the most respected and trusted authorities within that specialized field. Having examined all of the available evidence, he has stated, unequivocally, that he believes this hair, short of being positively certified by DNA testing (which in and of itself can be, for a variety of reasons, inconclusive), is authentic, an opinion which will also be provided in writing to the winning bidder in the form of John Reznikoff's signed Letter of Authenticity. The well-documented provenance and sheer, incredible quantity of this offering combine to create a rare opportunity for the enterprising collector, as April's winning bidder clearly understood. There is an unlimited potential here for marketing possibilities—a consideration that a few strands simply would not offer. Each individual hair could be sold separately or even marketed as part of a corporate promotion. It is with an appreciation for the rich history of hair collecting that MastroNet presents this sizable, impressive lock of hair from the head of arguably our most renowned U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln. LOA from John Reznikoff/PSA DNA.

Abraham Lincoln's HairAbraham Lincoln's Hair
Abraham Lincoln's Hair
Click above for larger image.
Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,500
Final Bid(Includes Buyers Premium): $21,763
Number of Bids: 0
Auction closed on: 12/9/2005