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"Hair today, Coin tomorrow"

world Updated: Feb 24, 2008 17:02 IST

Four hair strands believed to be of the first US President George Washington have sold for $17,000 at an auction.

Jamie Bates, owner of auction house Thompson & Riley in Kentucky, had hoped that the strands pressed beneath glass in a locket and accompanied by a watch would bring at least $ 75,000.

"I've never sold George Washington's hair before; I don't know," he added.

Christa Allen owned the strands, a Colorado woman, who got them from her father, an attorney, the Herald Reader reported.

Presidential hair is rarely available for purchase and if you are desperate to get some, Allen says she has retained a few strands of Washington's hair.

The buyer would not give his name. "I bought it and that's it," he said. "I don't want to publicise I have it."

Bates said celebrity hair sales are tough as establishing that the tresses were indeed the product of famous follicles is an arduous exercise, the reader reported.

Allen established how the hair was handed down from person to person. The Historical Society of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, looked at Allen's evidence and gave her its backing.

The hair was taken when Washington was briefly disinterred and his hair snipped in 1837.

Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences last weekend displayed hair from the first four presidents.