No Takers for a Lock of George Washington's Hair

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This summer, a story in the Style Section of the Washington Post reported on Christa Allen, who was trying to sell two hairs supposedly snipped from the dead George Washington's head. But so far: no sale.

Secured under glass in a gold locket, the hairs were left to her by her father, a Philadelphia lawyer. Unfortunately, he had no proof that the hairs belonged to the father of the country. A desperate search of their ancestral home in Langhorne, Pa, finally produced documentation of sorts -- a letter typed in 1928 with a handwritten list of the previous owners of the locket in the margin. Christie's and other auction houses dismissed this as hearsay evidence but the dogged Ms Allen, a single mom who needs the money, identified the first name on the list as the undertaker who participated in Washington's ceremonial reburial in 1837. She also found evidence that the coffin had been opened at that time and some locks of hair snipped. She persuaded Ted Sunderhaus, an appraiser at Cowan's Cincinnati auction house to support her claim. He called the evidence "fairly conclusive." He thought she could get $100,000 for it. The feisty Ms Allen rejected this proposal and put the hair on eBay for $750,000, combining it with a Revolutionary War map that her father had given her. Alas, she did not get a single bid. A recent check of eBay revealed five samples of Washington's hair, selling for prices that ranged from $200 to $1.00.

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