Beethoven's Hair Fetches a Whopping $45,000 at Auction

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If you've been looking to snag a lock of Ludwig van Beethoven's hair, well, it's just been sold for a whopping $45,000.

Sotheby's put the German composer's hair up for auction in London on Tuesday, expecting it to go for only $15,000.

So where did the luscious lock come from?

Simon Maguire is the director of books and scripts at Sotheby’s, and he said an Austrian pianist named Anton Halm asked Beethoven for some of his hair as a gift to his wife.

Legend has it, one of Beethoven's servants snipped the hair from a goat instead.

"Beethoven was outraged because he knew that this hair wasn't from him. And he said, ‘You know, look what terrible people I've been surrounded with. One should be ashamed to consult with these sort of people. You've been tricked. This is this is not my hair, it's the hair of a goat,’" Maguire told Reuters.

Beethoven reportedly lopped a significant bit of hair from the back of his own head, wrapped it in a piece of paper and handed it over to Halm. The hair wound up in the possession of Julius Epstien, one of Halm’s students.

"And he said, ‘This one at least you can be sure is genuine,'" Maguire added.

Scientific tests confirm that the lock came from the same period as another lock of the composer's hair that was taken on his deathbed and sold about 20 years ago.

This is not the first time the auction house has sold pieces of a mane. Sotheby's also auctioned locks from Lord Nelson, Chopin and Mozart.

If you think this is an odd gift, locks of hair used to be considered a popular collectors' item.


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