Lock of Beethoven's hair to star in March 11 auction

Bidding on a lock of Beethoven's hair stands at $5,724 at RR Auction, with the sale due to close on March 11.

The hair was originally acquired by singer Ludwig Cramolini, who obtained the strands from the great composer's corpse.

Beethoven RR hair
The hair was taken from Beethoven's head after his death

His account was later reprinted in a number of newspapers, causing quite a stir.

He writes: "On the 27th, after the rehearsal for A. Müller's operetta 'Die erste Zusammenkunft,' I drove to Beethoven's apartment, a small pair of scissors in my pocket.

"There I found Schindler [Beethoven's friend and secretary, Anton Schindler], who had already fended off a great number of people curious to see Beethoven, but me he let pass. ..

"In the presence of an old woman (Beethoven's housekeeper, I believe) I lifted the shroud, quickly clipped off a ringlet of hair and wanted to depart immediately, when Schindler entered.

"I embraced him, wept, and admitted that I had cut some hair from Beethoven's head as an eternal memento for myself and Nanette Schechner [Cramolini's fiancée, a singer at the Vienna Opera]."

Cramolini explains that Schindler loses his temper with him and demands that he return the hair. The singer asks that they speak away from Beethoven's body, but when he exits the room Schindler fails to follow him.

He continues: "Thus I returned home and later gave Nanette Schechner some of the hair, for which she was exceedingly grateful."

There have been a number of high profile sales of famous hair recently, with a lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair achieving $25,000 at Heritage Auctions in January. 

Beethoven's incredible contribution to music means that the market for his memorabilia is particularly bouyant, with an unpublished score achieving $331,000 in a Paris auction in 2012. 

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