While people are often complimented for their hair, as soon as a single strand leaves someone’s head, it instantly becomes disgusting. Unless it’s a famous person’s hair – then it becomes worth money.
In June this year, a few months after David Bowie’s death, a lock of the Thin White Duke’s hair sold for an outrageous $US18,000.
Wendy Farrier had been working at Madame Tussauds in 1983 when Bowie the famous wax statue creators decided to build a model of the iconic muso. Bowie donated some hair for the wigmaker to work with, and – since she was a known fan – the wigmaker gave Farrier the sample when he was done with it.
(For the record, it was ‘Let’s Dance’ era Bowie, so the hair is blonde.)
It’s crazy, right? Spending the better part of 20 grand on someon’s hair? Well, that barely scratches the scalp.
A clump of Michael Jackson’s hair – pulled out of his drain – sold for more than $US10 grand in 2011. That a few of John F Kennedy’s follicles went for over $US4000.
Then, the numbers start to get really silly.
In 2007, 27 years after his death, a bit of John Lennon’s mane was sold for $US48,000.
Elvis Presley’s personal hairdresser must have known about this crazy phenomenon, because they sold a hunk of The King’s hair for over $US115,000 back in 2002.
The biggest price tag for hair however, goes to South American revolutionary Che Guevara, whose famous, anti-establishment bangs went at auction in 2007 for $US119,000. Hard to know if he’d have been rolling around in his grave or laughing his ass off at the capitalist pig who forked that out.
So what’s the deal? Well it dates back to the 19th Century, when collecting someone’s hair was akin to getting their autograph – a little memento that you had actually met someone.
Adrian Roose of JustCollecting.com said, “More so than an autograph, it was a sign of affection.”
Roose went on to say, “It’s certainly a good opening conversation at a dinner party.”
Far be it from me to disagree with the expert, but I tend to find strands of hair a fairly offputting discussion at a dinner party.