Collecting celebrity hair: ''Hair's' where you should look for the best collectible buys'
Pop singer Justin Bieber is following in the footsteps of Lennon and Elvis Presley - by auctioning his hair
Would you believe it: fans of the teenage pop star Justin Bieber are set to bring a centuries-old niche of collecting back into the popular consciousness.
These collectibles first rose to prominence in the Victorian era. What's more, they are arguably better than autographs (a lot more personal for starters) and impossible to fake.
You see, if you had asked for a memento from your favourite celebrity back in Victorian times, it's unlikely that they would have given you a signed autograph. Instead, they would have given you a lock of their hair.
Pop star Justin Bieber: doing his
Whether Charles Dickens's fans were as fervent as Justin Bieber's, I can't say. But one thing's for sure: celebrity hair is among the most affordable, and strongest, collectible investments.
The idea of collecting celebrity hair may sound strange to you, but actually it isn't at all...
Beatles legend John Lennon was among those who recognised the benefits of celebrity hair. In the late-1960s, he and wife Yoko Ono donated a bag of their hair to be auctioned for the benefit of a London Black Power commune.
It was a generous gift - especially considering more Lennon hair (gifted to The Beatles' hairdresser Betty Glasow) sold for six times its original estimate in 2009, making £32,000.
And Lennon isn't the only rock 'n' roll legend whose hair has brought large sums at auction. In 2002, a jar of curls of 'The King', Elvis Presley, realised a whopping $115,000. Seven years later, a single strand made £1,055.
Let's focus on the £1,055 sale for a moment. It demonstrated that collectors can own a piece of the King - quite literally - at an entry-level investment price.
And, bearing in mind that Elvis signed photos grew in value by 333.3% over the past 10 years, imagine what his hair could be worth in 10, 20 or 30 years time...
Considering the gains to be made, it's not surprising that that some online dealers have thrown themselves behind celebrity hair investments.
The most prominent is the online retailer www.asmallpieceofhistory.com, which lists hairs from the heads of Charles Dickens, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis among its affordable items of memorabilia stock.
As I said, celebrity hair is in many ways preferable to autographs as a secure investment. Unlike photographs, they can't be faked thanks to DNA testing - and they still offer all the benefits of autograph investments:
- A huge growth market
- Proven returns as investments
- Supply shortage and increased demand for unique pieces is leading to a consistent increase in prices at the top-end
- Portability and recognition around the world's markets.
And now Justin Bieber's army of devout "Beliebers" (as they're apparently called) are set to bring celebrity hair collectibles back into 21st century pop culture.
Better still, the Bieber hair auction news comes in the week that our sale of a blood painting by rocker Pete Doherty has been enthusiastically reported by the world's press.
In other words, there is clearly a strong global interest - and therefore market - for unusual collectibles linked to music idols.
Consequently, this year could be an exciting one for celebrity hair, and a perfect time for you to get involved and these weird, wonderful and profitable markets.
All the best, until next week