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Lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair and bloodied telegram up for auction

The lock of hair was removed during Lincoln’s postmortem examination after he was fatally shot at Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair, wrapped in a bloodstained telegram about his 1865 assassination, is up for sale. 

Boston-based RR Auction says bidding has opened online for the items ahead of a live auction scheduled for Sept. 12. 

Measuring roughly 2 inches long, the bushy lock of hair was removed during Lincoln’s postmortem examination after he was fatally shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., by John Wilkes Booth.

The auction house says it was given to Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd, a Kentucky postmaster and a cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln, the 16th president’s widow. The hair is attached to a telegram that was sent to Dr. Todd by his assistant in the Post Office in Lexington, Ky. According to a caption below the manuscript, written by Dr. Todd's son, the telegram arrived in Washington just after Lincoln was shot.

Credit: AP
This July 2020 photo released by RR Auction shows a bloodstained telegram and lock of hair from former President Abraham Lincoln, to be auctioned Sept. 12, 2020, by the Boston-based auction firm. The lock of hair was removed during Lincoln's postmortem examination in April 1865 after he was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in Washington. (Nikki Brickett/RR Auction via AP)

As of Aug. 28, the bid for the item was up to $13,310. The maximum bid is $100,000.

Other items up for auction include a signed photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X's original mugshot. The full list of auction items can be found here. 

According to its website, RR Auction is known for auctioning off rare documents, manuscripts and historic artifacts. Some items are sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, including President Kennedy's reporter diary for 1945, which sold for more than $700,000 and an original Apple-1 computer. 

Items sold through the action are heavily vetted and examined by in-house experts and third-party authenticators.

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