Auctions Market News

New Auction Trend: Human Hair

A lock of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s fair hair, contained in a nineteenth-century gilt locket, with a nineteenth-century manuscript note of provenance. Copyright Sotheby’s.

A lock of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s fair hair, contained in a 19th-century gilt locket, with a 19th-century manuscript note of provenance. © SOTHEBY’S

This week, Sotheby’s in London is offering, according to the auction house, “a chance to own a unique piece of musical history”: a lock of Mozart’s hair, estimated at £10,000–£12,000 (about $15,400 to $18,500).

Also for sale is an invitation to Beethoven’s funeral, which comes with a lock of that composer’s hair, estimated at £2,000–£3,000.

Recall that, back in October, Guernsey’s auction house in New York sold two braids of Willie Nelson’s hair, in a sale of Waylon Jennings memorabilia. Three being a trend and all that, let this blog post stand as the official announcement of “human hair” as the hot new craze at auction houses around the globe.

Sotheby’s, in a statement, had this to say:

Opportunities to get close to figures from history have always been met with fascination, and in 2002, Sotheby’s sold a different lock of Mozart’s hair, passed down from the mistress of one of Mozart’s sons, for £38,240 – double its pre-sale high estimate. Indeed, the British Museum famously holds a heart shaped pendant with a snippet of Marie Antoinette’s hair within its collection.

The Sotheby’s auction will be held on May 28. As of press time, Franz Schubert’s sideburns and Joseph Haydn’s butt hair were sadly absent from the sale’s inventory.

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