John Reznikoff combs the world for snippets of hair from dead celebs-and his collection is worth a hair-raising
"I have the world's largest collection," declared Reznikoff, the mane man at University Archives Inc, of Westport, Conn. He's been gathering historical documents, valuable autographs and hair since 1979, and his souvenir strands are now worth $10 million, Reznikoff told The ENQUIRER. He sells to other collectors and memorabilia traders around the world.
Among his most valued locks, which he keeps in a hermetically sealed vault, are samples from the heads of Elvis, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Geronimo, George Washington and Marilyn Monroe. "Marilyn's hair came from Allan Abbott, the man who embalmed her," said Reznikoff, who purchased the snippet in 1991. The craze is not hair today gone tomorrow-its roots go way back, says Reznikoff.
"Before getting autographs became popular, people clamored for locks of celebrity hair. It's a very old tradition that dates back to Victorian England." And it's still going strong, especially in England where a famed memorabilia dealer is doing a brisk business in historic hair. "It's a chance to own an actual piece of celebrity," explains Poppy Collinson, manager of Fraser's Autographs in London. Celebrity hair strands often are sold mounted and framed with a certificate of authenticity and a photo of the personality.
Many sell for as little as $700. Thanks to their haircutters, bits of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and John F. Kennedy are up for sale.
You can also own a piece of Napoleon Bonaparte: Five brown hairs plucked from the French Emperor's head while he was in exile after his defeat at Waterloo. One of the most unusual snippets was snipped from Abraham Lincoln-a single strand taken by his attending physician, Dr. Charles Sabin Taft, while the wounded President lay on his deathbed. If you'd like a close brush with a Founding Father, a single hair from George Washington is also available. It was part of a lock originally owned by Eleanor Parke Custis, granddaughter if Martha Washington from her first marriage.
Hairs from living celebs are also available-including snippets from ex-Beatle Paul McCartney. "We're selling five dark brown hairs that were obtained by Beatles' fan club president Freda Kelly on July 13, 1966," said Collinson. "It's a remarkable opportunity."