Abraham Lincoln hair fetches $25,000

Abraham Lincoln

A collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia has been sold at an auction in Dallas, fetching more than $800,000.

A lock of the assassinated president’s hair went for $25,000 but a letter admitting the Civil War was not going well remained unsold.

A letter signed by his assassin John Wilkes Booth sold for $30,000 and his military arrest warrant made $21,250.

The 300-item collection was begun in 1963 by Texas gallery owner Donald Dow, who died five years ago.

His son Greg said it was time “for other collectors to have a chance to enjoy it”.

He said his father had started collecting because of his interest in the Civil War and military history “but then he became interested in Lincoln and the assassination”.

The auction total of $803,889 was about twice the expected sum, Eric Bradley, of the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, said.

The lock of hair was removed by Surgeon General Joseph Barnes shortly after Lincoln was assassinated on 14 April 1865.

Don Ackerman, from Heritage Auctions, told the Associated Press that the Booth letter had raised more because “the public was so disgusted by Booth’s atrocity that most all letters, signatures and documents mentioning him were destroyed after Lincoln’s death, making any that survive 150 years later exceedingly rare and valuable”.

Also sold were two separate eyewitness accounts of the assassination – for $27,500 and $14,375.

The unsold Lincoln admission on the Civil War was in a fragment of a letter he wrote to a Baltimore lawyer in 1862.

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