Hair of Dead Celebrities is Going for Over $100,000 at Auction
Hairstylists have up close and personal access to their clients, and for some stylists with a celebrity clientele, this means access to snipped locks that can be worth a pretty penny.
Last week, a lock of Elvis Presley's hair sold for more than £1,000 (nearly $1,300) on Catawiki, an online auction house for "special objects." The hair had been cut by Elvis' longtime hairstylist Homer "Gill" Gilleland, who first met the King in 1955 when he was hairstylist to Elvis' mother, Gladys. He then started styling Elvis' famous pompadour and remained his regular stylist for the next 20 years, doing his hair at Graceland, on movie sets, on his plane, and anywhere else needed.
This most recent auction, however, is just a fraction of what Elvis' hair has been known to go for. His strands topped the market in 2002 when a lock, also cut by Gilleland, sold for $115,000. This is the most hair has sold for to date, but the tresses of other musicians have reached high prices as well. A piece of John Lennon's mop top sold for $48,000 in 2007. In 2015, Mozart's hair sold for more than $53,000, beating out Beethoven's which sold for $12,400 at the same auction. The market extends beyond hair of the deceased; a pair of Willie Nelson's braids from the '80s brought $37,000 in 2014 and in 2011 Justin Bieber raised more than $40,000 for charity when he auctioned a piece of his signature swoop.
Hair from historical figures is also a big draw. In 2011, a very small lock of Napoleon's hair was sold for more than $13,000, and in 2012, Abraham Lincoln's hair was purchased for more than $38,000.
Moral of the story: cutting celebrity hair can come with benefits way beyond the cool experience. How many stylists cut strands of someone yet-to-be-famous without ever knowing what value that hair would have someday? Something to consider next time you're sweeping up after a haircut.
Here are 10 of the most expensive locks of hair sold at auction. Who will be the next celebrity with a famous enough 'do to top this list?
10. Napoleon: $13,000 in 2010 (according to Forbes.com)
9. David Bowie: $19,334 (£15,000) in 2016 (according to Metro.co.uk)
8. John Lennon: $35,000 in 2016 (according to Forbes.com)
7. Mozart: $53,000 in 2015 (according to Forbes.com)
6. Willie Nelson: $37,000 in 2014 (according to Forbes.com)
5. Abraham Lincoln: $38,837 in 2012 (according to Forbes.com)
4. Justin Bieber: $40, 668 in 2011 (according to Forbes.com)
3. Marilyn Monroe: $42,534 (£33,000) in 2016 (according to Metro.co.uk)
2. Che Guevara: $100,000 in 2007 (according to Forbes.com)
1. Elvis Presley: $115,000 in 2002 (according to Forbes.com)