Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and one of the most famous and beloved figures in American history. Known as “Honest Abe”, Lincoln led the country through the Civil War and issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which helped end slavery in the United States.
Lincoln was also known for his distinctive appearance, especially his tall stature and the wild, unruly hair on his head. His unique hairstyle was the subject of cartoons and commentary during his life and became an iconic part of his image. This raises an intriguing hypothetical question – how much would Lincoln’s famous hair be worth if it was available for sale today?
What Did Lincoln’s Hair Look Like?
By all accounts, Lincoln’s hair was dark, thick, wavy, and refused to be tamed. He had a widow’s peak hairline and his hair often looked rumpled and windblown. The writer Carl Sandburg described Lincoln’s hair as “a haystack during a windstorm”. It grew quickly and Lincoln got haircuts frequently, reportedly every two or three weeks.
His barber William Fleurville complained that Lincoln’s hair “stood out like rooster’s feathers on the back of his head” and was difficult to cut and style. Unlike most politicians and dignitaries of the era, Lincoln did not use hair products like creams or oils to slick down his wild mane. He preferred to let it be unruly.
How Much Hair Did Lincoln Have?
There are no exact measurements of the volume or length of Lincoln’s hair when he was alive. However, we do have descriptions of its thickness and rapid growth rate. From these accounts, historians estimate that Lincoln likely had a very full head of hair, perhaps 150,000-200,000 hairs or more.
The average person has 100,000-150,000 hairs total. Since Lincoln’s hair was described as incredibly thick and fast-growing, estimates of 150,000-200,000 hairs are reasonable. He likely had hair a few inches long all over his head. If laid end-to-end, his hairs could have measured over 1,500 feet long in total!
How Much Does Human Hair Cost?
|Hair Type||Cost Per Ounce|
|High-Quality Remy Human Hair||$80-$150|
|Virgin/Unprocessed Human Hair||$60-$100|
|Standard Human Hair||$30-$80|
Human hair is bought and sold by the ounce in the hair extension and wig-making industries. Prices vary based on quality, source, processing, and other factors. The table above shows typical price ranges:
– High-quality remy hair is the most expensive at $80-$150 per ounce. This is hair that has been ethically sourced from a single donor and kept aligned root-to-tip for a natural look.
– Virgin or unprocessed human hair costs $60-$100 per ounce since it has not been chemically treated.
– Standard human hair from various sources costs $30-$80 per ounce.
Based on these price benchmarks, Lincoln’s famous locks could have carried a hefty price tag!
Estimating the Potential Value of Lincoln’s Hair
To arrive at a hypothetical value for Lincoln’s hair, we need to estimate:
1. The total weight of his hair
2. The market price range for an ounce of human hair
**Estimating total hair weight:**
– Average hair density is 100-150 hairs per square inch
– Let’s assume Lincoln had 150,000 hairs total
– With an estimated 150 hairs per square inch, Lincoln’s total hair would cover around 1,000 square inches of surface area.
– For simplicity, if we assume 1 inch length, that equates to a volume of 1,000 cubic inches of hair.
– With a hair density of 0.00118 grams per cubic inch, that’s about 1,180 grams total weight, or about 2.6 pounds.
**Price range for hair:**
– Given Lincoln’s famous status, buyers would pay top dollar for his hair.
– Let’s estimate a price range of $80-$150 per ounce.
– At $80/ounce, 2.6 lbs of hair is worth $1,872
– At $150/ounce, 2.6 lbs of hair is worth $3,510
**So in total, we estimate Abraham Lincoln’s hair could be worth $1,872 – $3,510 in today’s market!**
How Does Lincoln’s Hair Value Compare to Other Famous Figures?
Lincoln’s estimated hair value pales in comparison to other famous figures whose hair has been sold at auction:
– Elvis Presley’s hair sold for $115,120 in 2002.
– Marilyn Monroe’s hair sold for $50,000 in 1999.
– Napoleon Bonaparte’s hair sold for $35,000 in 2014.
– George Washington’s hair sold for $25,000 in 1999.
Part of the enormous value of these celebrities’ hair is its scarcity. Only a limited number of authenticated hair samples exist. However, Lincoln’s hair was so abundant, there may have been more supply to go around, likely reducing its singular value. Nonetheless, Lincoln’s iconic hairstyle remains priceless from a historical perspective!
Should Lincoln’s Hair Be Sold?
The buying and selling of historical artifacts is controversial, especially human remains. Many argue Lincoln’s hair should be preserved, not profited from. Others believe famous artifacts belong in private hands.
In Lincoln’s case, the issue is moot since all of his hair was lost over time or remains with buried bodies. No sizable samples are known to exist. However, if found today, Lincoln’s family would likely want to retain or donate any hair samples to the National Archives or the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Selling Lincoln’s hair would be legal but seen as unethical by many historians and descents. Regardless of its monetary value, Lincoln’s hair is an irreproducible artifact of America’s past. Perhaps the greatest value lies in its historical lessons and what Lincoln’s legacy means to our society. The symbolic value makes the question of its dollar value seem rather petty.
Abraham Lincoln’s wild, tousled hair was an integral part of his distinctive look and a frequently commented upon part of his appearance. Estimates based on average hair density and market hair prices suggest Lincoln’s locks could have been worth $1,872 – $3,510 if sold at auction today.
However, many believe Lincoln’s hair should remain either with descendants or public institutions, not sold for profit. Additionally, large intact samples of Lincoln’s hair have not emerged, making the point moot. The real value of Lincoln’s hair is not monetary but historical – it represents his legacy of honesty, integrity and perseverance during one of America’s most difficult eras. Lincolnshire remains one of the most iconic and beloved leaders in U.S. history.