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article imageLincoln hair memorabilia fetches high price at auction

By Nicole Weddington     Jan 28, 2015 in Odd News
Although a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair sold for $25,000, it was only part of a larger collection of Lincoln memorabilia that was auctioned in Dallas on Saturday.
The lock of hair was taken from the president’s head by attending Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes shortly after Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth and was part of the Donald P. Dow collection that brought bids totaling more than $800,000. This total figure was more than twice as much as the collection was expected to bring in.
The collection was started by Dow, a Fort Worth Gallery owner who died in 2009. According to his son, Greg Dow, he started collecting Lincoln memorabilia in 1963 with the purchase of a box of books and soon expanded to include the ex-president's hair. The collection included over 300 items and was considered one of the best private Lincoln memorabilia collections, according to Heritage Auction officials.
“He started collecting because of his interest in the Civil War and military history,” Greg Dow told Reuters prior to the auction. “But then he became interested in Lincoln and the assassination.”
“It’s time to let somebody else have fun owning it,” added Dow.
Other items that were sold in the auction included a letter written by John Wilkes Booth boasting about his career as an actor to a friend that sold for $30,000 and Booth’s handwritten arrest warrant that sold for $21,250.
“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,” said Don Ackerman of Heritage Auctions to Fox News.
Also sold in the auction were a piece of linen from Lincoln’s death bed that was stained with his blood. The cloth brought in $6,000 and a letter signed by Lincoln from 1964 authorizing a prisoner swap involving General Robert E. Lee’s son which sold for $27,500.
“The Dow Collection gave us a unique perspective of the assassination and I doubt we'll ever see a grouping like this outside of a museum setting,” added Ackerman.
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