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Old 11-15-2007, 06:53 PM
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Default Celebrety Hair

Posted By: Mark

Here is one area of collecting that's always baffled and sort of fascinated me... Does anyone here collect samples of celebreties or athletes' Hair? It seems to be pretty constant and recurring, especially in high-end auctions like Mastro, Lelands and REA. I think I have seen hair from Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe, to name just a few (plus some others I've forgotten...)

I would love to hear from someone who actually collects this, and why (as a part of me believes the bidding is fabricated).

Also... how does one prove the hair to be original? Are there specific authenticators for this, or companies that will "slab" it? Will they assign a Grade, based on the percentage of grey in the hair, or perhaps the extent of the split-ends?

OK... not very funny, but I am really curious as to what motivates people to collect this.

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Old 11-15-2007, 07:44 PM
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Posted By: brian

I have bought locks of hair from Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II at auction. Looking at them and holding them in my hand gives me cold chills. I had them both framed for wall display.
Harold Shigley is supposed to have had the most famous persons locks of hair ever, and his grandson inherited them. Coincidentally, he also had a huge sportscard collection and his grandson has been selling them for years now on eBay one at a time.
John Reznikoff is listed as the most prolific collector of hair in the Guinness Book, but they must mean "living" collector since Shigley had thousands and Reznikoff's collection only numbers in the hundreds?
Not sure what you mean by the bidding being fabricated? Shill bidding?
Heritage just sold a lock of Che Guevara's hair for over 100K. As far as the hair being considered original and authentic, it is based mainly on provenance (origin). With an entire lock of hair coming from a collection like Shigley or Reznikoff, it would be highly regarded and practically a given that it was authentic. But hair sold by the "single strand" sellers are probably about as authentic as Bigfoot tracks. Also, they are now putting hair on modern insert cards like the new Allen & Ginter. The ones I saw sold on eBay went for thousands apiece.


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Old 11-15-2007, 08:12 PM
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Default Celebrety Hair

Posted By: Mark

Thanks, Brian for your insight and background on this specialized area of collecting. Can you tell how you obtained the hair of Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II? Would someone typically ask a celebrity for this in person? Would that be deemed rude or unusual?

Are celebrity hair samples ever collected off the apron or floor of the salon? Do celebreties' stylists/barbers often keep the cut samples and subsequently sell them? Or is this something that should be done with the celebreties' blessing?

This is interesting to me... the reason I made the comment about "fabricated bidding" was that in 20 years, I had never encountered another collector in this genre... My mistake, and sorry if that was an impulsive/ignorant comment.

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Old 11-15-2007, 08:34 PM
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Posted By: brian

Mark, I'm sure there are people who know a lot more than I do about collecting hair, but I'll try to answer your questions. Not sure if there are any books on the subject but I have read a lot about it online over the last couple of years.
I won the religious locks of hair in a European catalogue auction a few years ago and they came from a source within the Vatican. Nowadays, it would probably be considered rude to ask a celebrity for a piece of hair, so people probably get them off the salon or barber floor. But back in the old days (1800s and before), people asked for a lock of hair more often than they did autographs. Also heard that it wasn't safe to auction hair belonging to a living person since they might sue. One of the astronauts...I think Buzz Aldrin....sued his barber for selling his hair to Mr. Todd Mueller and I never did hear the outcome of the court case.
There must be thousands of hair collectors today and from what I have heard, a great number of them are the rare art collectors and ultra wealthy.


edited to change buyer's name to the correct person




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Old 11-15-2007, 08:54 PM
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Posted By: Dan Bretta

The astronaut was Neil Armstrong.

edited to add link: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0601052armstrong1.html

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Old 11-15-2007, 09:46 PM
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Posted By: brian

Dan, great article. I had the wrong person in both cases (Armstrong and Mueller).

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Old 11-16-2007, 09:06 AM
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Posted By: JC

After reading this thread, I sent a message to Harold's grandson and asked about the locks of hair. He said after the sportscard collection is eventually sold off, he will start selling the locks of hair, autographs and other sports memorabilia but that it might take several more years to sell all of the sportscards. He also said that his grandfather managed to collect locks of hair belonging to nearly every notable baseball HOFer and star from the old days. I actually met his grandfather about 35 years ago in Chicago at a coin auction where he won nearly every gold coin that was up for bid. Interesting fellow.

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Old 11-25-2007, 09:38 AM
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Posted By: dennis

http://s210975194.onlinehome.us/blog/?p=6

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Old 11-25-2007, 11:29 AM
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Posted By: JC

I bet Upper Deck and Topps were bidding on that one.

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Old 11-25-2007, 01:48 PM
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Posted By: 1880nonsports

two nights ago I saw a repeat(?) of an antiques roadshow where one of the featured items was an accumulation of hair jewelry - hair home decorations - as well as literature related to the persuit. While a bit macabre for me at least there is a personal connection - to a greater degree than an autograph or item they might have held. There's a barbed wire collecting community - people that collect VIRTUAL items on some websites (hmmm.) - and a guy what bought a piece of turf with chew spit stains.... As I understand it there is currently DNA and similar tests performed on the hair when possible. I guess you need to slab it or things could get hairy......

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