Abraham Lincoln's Hair Wrapped in Telegram Dating Back to 1865 up for Auction
Shoppers can start the bidding process now or wait for the live auction on Sept. 12 in New Hampshire.
For those collectors looking to find that treasure no one else has. How about a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair, wrapped in a bloodstained telegram about his 1865 assassination? Boston-based RR Auction and bidding has started the shopping frenzy opened online for the specialty items weeks before a live auction that is scheduled to take place in New Hampshire on Sept. 12.
Lincoln’s lock of hair that measures roughly 2 inches long and was described as “bushy” by auction spokesman, Mike Graff, was removed during Lincoln’s postmortem examination after he was fatally shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., by John Wilkes Booth.
According to Graff and all those history buffs, it was given to Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd, a Kentucky postmaster and a cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln, the 16th president’s widow. He further explained that the physician 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 Lexington, Kentucky post office. The telegram was received in Washington at 11 p.m. on April 14, 1865.
Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of RR Auction, shared his enthusiasm with the Associated Press on these rare finds.
“It’s not macabre. It’s a fascinating artifact from a horrible tragedy,” he said. “Collecting locks of hair was common after someone passed away. It’s such a piece of history. The assassination of President Lincoln was obviously such a shock.”
There have been many theories.
According to the AP, historians say the telegram itself, is significant because it disproved a "conspiracy theory" that then-Secretary of War Edwin Stanton plotted to kill Lincoln because of their personal and political differences.
At the time, some claimed that Stanton ordered military communications to be disrupted, allowing Booth to briefly elude his captors. The time stamp on the dispatch shows that military telegraph lines were functioning on the night Lincoln was assassinated.
True or false? Right or wrong? Exactly.
Graff pointed out that the telegram “is evidence to disprove the misinformation and conspiracy theories in the Lincoln assassination.”
The auction house has set the minimum bid at $10,000 but Graff expects the lock and telegram to fetch $75,000 or more.
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