A lock of George Washington’s hair will go up for bid on September 21st at the online auction house RR Auction. The four-inch lock of the founding father’s hair is, according to TMZ, expected to sell for upwards of $50,000.
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The “copious lock of George Washington’s stark white hair” comes with a letter of provenance signed by a man named George M. Elliott, purportedly verifying its authenticity. This document, dated 1889, claims that the hair was cut from President Washington’s head by a relative in 1790—when the founder was about 58—and was then presented to a Captain Samuel Butman of Newburyport Massachusetts. Captain Butman’s widow later gave the hair to Mr. Elliott of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Washington, unlike many of his contemporaries, never wore a wig. His hair, as seen in portraits and on the dollar bill, may have been powdered at times, but was his own. Smithsonian.com notes that Washington’s hair was naturally a light brown and was worn in “a military style called a queue.”
The lock of hair will go to auction mounted in “an ornate shadowbox display, with the text of Elliott’s letter engraved on a plaque below.”