A Lock of Famous Hair Sells for $81K

It was taken from Abraham Lincoln in postmortem exam
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 14, 2020 8:53 AM CDT
A Lock of Famous Hair Sells for $81K
A bloodstained telegram and lock of hair from former President Abraham Lincoln.   (Nikki Brickett/RR Auction via AP)

A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair along with a blood-stained telegram about his 1865 assassination have been sold at auction for more than $81,000, reports the AP. No information about the buyer was disclosed. The roughly 2-inch long lock of hair was removed during Lincoln’s postmortem examination after he was fatally shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth. It was originally presented to Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd, a Kentucky postmaster and a cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln, the 16th president’s widow, according to RR Auction of Boston. Dr. Todd was present when Lincoln’s body was examined. The hair is mounted on an official War Department telegram sent to Dr. Todd by George Kinnear, his assistant in the post office in Lexington, Ky.

The telegram was received in Washington at 11pm on April 14, 1865. RR Auction vouched for the authenticity of the lock and telegram. The $81,250 selling price was slightly more than the $75,000 the auction house was hoping the items would fetch. The telegram is significant because it disproved a theory that then-Secretary of War Edwin Stanton plotted to kill Lincoln because of their personal and political differences, according to historians. Some people said Stanton ordered military communications to be disrupted, allowing Booth to briefly escape. The time stamp on the dispatch shows that military telegraph lines were functioning on the night Lincoln was assassinated.

(More Abraham Lincoln stories.)

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