Founding Fathers’ hair to be offered at Auction
A relic can be defined as “part of the body of clothing of a saint (holy person),” or “an object from the past…with no modern use but is often valued for its meaning or importance in history.” Today, objects associated with individuals from the past are collected and venerated by many, including those belonging to both holy figures as well as important historical or popular culture figures icons. Collectors of memorabilia may often see high prices paid for personal items or pieces of clothing that once belonged to a famous individual, particularly if they can be verified as having been worn. Hair samples from historical figures have been collected throughout history as part of this trend towards keeping a piece of the individual for future veneration or remembrance.
In 2009, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers sold a large quantity of Elvis Presley’s hair that had been given to Gary Pepper as the president of the Tankers Fan Club to mail to Elvis Presley fans. In 1958, the nation’s newspapers announced that Elvis Presley, having been newly recruited into the U.S. Army, had received two haircuts trimming his famous locks and sideburns down to a greatly modified crew cut. Individual strands of Elvis Presley’s shaved locks have since been treasured by his fans who wish to own a piece of the king himself. The relic sold for $18,300.
One of the more strange and spectacular items to be offered in our upcoming November 11th Fine Books and Manuscripts auction is a letter written by the son of Alexander Hamilton, James, presenting four locks of hair belonging to four of the greatest leaders of our nation: Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, and Charles Maurice de Talleyrand. The younger Hamilton was aware in 1865 of the value of these physical pieces of our Founding Fathers to future generations. Today, to own a small piece of four of the early leaders of the United States is a rare opportunity and will enable the owner to perhaps feel the presence of these great men in a more real way than normally attainable.
The letter, along with the locks of hair will be offered for sale on Wednesday, November 11th, at 10am CT. The presale estimate is $3,000-5,000.
The auction in general will certainly spark the interest of individuals with a range of collecting interests. Leading the sale is a session of Currier & Ives lithographs from the collection Wilton Jaffee Jr., from Denver, Colorado, as well as a selection of rare and important maps and Audubon prints from various private collectors. This auction will include 516 lots with numerous fine bindings, early printed works, fine art books, early medical works, and important first editions. Rounding out the sale is a large session of numismatics featuring ancient Greek, early Roman, and rare American coins, from the collection of Hubert Frank, of Northbrook, Illinois.