Everything is collectible, it seems: Even human hair. Outbidding an international field of collectors, an unnamed Londoner paid $13,000 last week to purchase a lock of Napoleon Bonaparte's hair, reportedly snipped a day after the emperor's death in 1821. For those in the know, that's a relative bargain. Here, a rundown of what collectors have spent on strands from other famous heads:
$115,000 for a "small jar" of hair, 2002
Presley's barber had reportedly saved his hair in a bread bag. "I have no idea what [the collector] intends to do with it," said a representative from the Chicago company, MastroNet, that held the internet auction.
This four-inch dreadlock was a rare find. According to Marley's Rastafarian faith, he should not have cut his hair, but the Jamaican reggae star gave this strand to a girl he had met after a concert. "Memorabilia like this does not come on to the market regularly," an auctioneer told the U.K.'s Independent.
The lock in question was reportedly trimmed by Gustavo Villoldo, a C.I.A. operative who helped capture Guevara in 1967. Villoldo told The New York Times he felt he "was cutting off the very symbol of the Cuban revolution."
This pricey piece of hair came packaged inside an autographed copy of Lennon's book A Spaniard in the Works, according to reports. "To have some of Lennon's hair along with a signed note from him really does give it fantastic provenance and authenticity," a spokeswoman for the English auctionhouse said.
Some insiders felt that the four strands of presidential hair sold to an unnamed Virginia man should have fetched more, but their authenticity was not entirely assured.
In this special instance, locks from the beloved 19th century novelist "had been fashioned into a weeping willow, a symbol of mourning or resurrection," according to English auctioneers.
The prize: 12 singed hairs, allegedly burnt during filming of a Pepsi ad in 1984. One of the commercial's producers collected them and kept them "in a wallet" for 25 years before selling them at the height of Jackson memorabilia following the star's death last year. The auctioneer told the U.K.'s The Sun that it was a "highly unusual souvenir."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 10 things you need to know today: July 25, 2014
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
Subscribe to the Week