Lock of Lincoln's Hair Sells for $25K

Boastful letter from assassin fetches $30K
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2015 12:33 AM CST
Lock of Lincoln's Hair Sells for $25K
This 1861 letter written by actor John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s future assassin, to a friend sold at auction Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 for $30,000.   (AP Photo/ Heritage Auctions)

A lock of hair taken from Abraham Lincoln's head by Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes soon after the president had been assassinated sold for $25,000 at a Texas auction—$5,000 less than a buyer paid for a letter from assassin John Wilkes Booth. The sale of a gallery owner's 300-item collection of Lincoln memorabilia fetched more than $800,000 on Saturday, more than double what Heritage Auctions had predicted, although an 1862 letter in which the president admitted the Civil War was not going well remained unsold, reports the BBC.

Booth boasts about his acting career in the letter he wrote to a friend in 1861, which fetched such a high price because 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," a Heritage Auctions director explains to the AP. Other items in the sale included Booth's military arrest warrant, bloodstained linen from Lincoln's deathbed, and an 1864 letter signed by Lincoln authorizing a prisoner-of-war swap involving the son of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. (More John Wilkes Booth stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.