By Hannah McFadyen
Celebrity hair collecting is becoming a big fad with locks of the rich and famous being sold for up to £250,000.
For many it’s an odd thing to keep: a step further than an autograph and far more personal.
You might have heard of keeping the hair of a loved one but how about the hair of someone you’ve never met? The hair of someone famous.
Because hair is such a personal item, for many of us the idea of it seems strange. Nevertheless it’s trend that’s on the rise.
Paul Fraser is a supplier of celebrity hair – from Justin Bieber to Prince Albert, you can purchase then online in his store and for no small cost either.
Each collection is made up of eight strands measuring about 1/16th of an inch.
Most strands are available for about £399, but prices go up dramatically for locks of hair, with £250,000 for Marilyn Monroe’s being the most expensive.
The strands were taken when she had a haircut on the night that she performed the legendary ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ to John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden.
Whilst this trend may seem like a relatively modern phenomenon, Paul, who runs his collectibles business from Bristol, points out that it’s been around for a long time.
“It was hugely common in Victorian days and is now making a comeback although it’s still a niche area. The majority of our buyers are US and British, with slightly more US buyers.
Along with other rare celebrity memorabilia, he scours auctions for these unusual hair cuttings and make sure each cutting is meticulously researched and its lineage verified.
“It’s all about tracking the provenance. There needs to be a clear line of ownership between the hair being shipped from the famous person to the person/auctioneer now selling it. If there isn’t, I don’t buy.
Surprisingly, amongst the least popular is the hair of royal, Prince Albert, and author Hans Christian Anderson.
The most popular sellers at Paul’s store are superstars Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley – people known for their locks in some way.
“Not only are they two of the most famous celebrities in history, the hairs are connected to important moments in their lives. Monroe’s was snipped from her just hours before she sang Happy Birthday Mr President for JFK and Presley’s was from his Army Trim when he became a GI in 1958.”
The celebrities doesn’t necessarily need to be human either – a strand of champion racehorse Red Rum’s hair is also available.