Items belonging to the 16th President of the United States were recently sold in a Boston auction. An anonymous buyer purchased both a lock of his hair and a blood-stained telegram dating back to his assassination in 1865 for $81,250. Memorabilia collectors are known to seek treasure in rare finds. While it isn’t uncommon to see unique items selling at high price points, this marks a somewhat morbid find considering its grim nature.
The two-inch lock of hair was reportedly cut during postmortem procedures and placed in a telegram for safekeeping afterwards. The blood from the hair stained the telegram and was given to First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s first cousin Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd. Todd captioned the telegram, “Hair of A. Lincoln,'” according to reports, and it remained in the Todd family. In a 1945 letter, Todd’s son, James A. Todd, stated, “My father went with Col. Vincent to the President’s bedside, and they remained there until his death next morning.” The auction house Executive Vice President Bobby Livingston verified the authenticity of the hair in a statement saying, “When you are dealing with samples of Lincoln’s hair, provenance is everything— and in this case, we know that this came from a family member who was at the President’s bedside.” Other Lincoln memorabilia being auctioned through October 7th includes a signed document appointing a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps and a signed letter sent to Sen. Charles Sumner.