Justin Bieber's collectible hair joins the greatest names in pop music history

It was in early 2011 that an online casino paid $40,668 for clump of Justin Bieber's hair, adding the singer's locks to its 'unusual things' collection. The haircut was a big moment for Bieber, representing the then-16-year-old's transition from teenybopper to young man.

Another transition took place this week, with Bieber's 18th birthday. While some music fans may scoff at Bieber's prominence in the current pop landscape, a closer look at the Canadian teen idol's career so-far reveals a remarkable ascent to fame.

The video for Bieber's debut single, Baby, is today the most-watched and discussed video on YouTube. And Justin's global army of admirers, or 'Beliebers', remain a force to be reckoned with.

One fan, left alone by his parents, even bid $5,648 for a pair of Bieber's sneakers...

But it's the $40,668 sale of the Canadian teen pop idol's hair that we're focussing on here. 'Belieb' it or not, the sale places Bieber in some very illustrious pop company. Here are some of the most expensive hairs to have sold in the collectors' markets...

Celebrity hair #5 - John F Kennedy

Whether it's John F Kennedy's last-ever autograph or the ambulance which may have carried his body after Lee Harvey Oswald's assassination in 1963, the US's most popular President continues to beguile collectors.

And the more personal the collectible, the better. Not least JFK's hair. A bag of hair clippings obtained just months before Kennedy's death sold for $4,160 in Beverley Hills in 2011.

Celebrity hair #4 - Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson

Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson remains a blue chip in collectibles, and an 18th century gold locket auctioned in January 2011 offered a fantastic memorabilia piece linked to the man behind the legend.

The locket is believed to contain Nelson's locks and the hair of Lady Hamilton. The pair's love affair caused a scandal at the turn of the century. The locket sold for £44,000 (approximately $70,106).

As the auctioneer suggested at the time, "The early date and decoration suggests that it is not a memento mori but a presentation gift to an admirer or associate when they were both in Naples and before their return to England together in 1800.

"If such, it is a unique relic of an enduring love affair."

Celebrity hair #3 - John Lennon

The hobby of celebrity hair collecting can actually be traced back to the Victorian era. Which makes it less surprising that Beatles legend John Lennon endorsed the hobby. In the mid-'60s, he and wife Yoko Ono donated a bag of their hair to an auction to raise funds for a Black Power commune.

The market value of Lennon's hair was demonstrated in 2009. Other locks personally gifted by the singer to his hairdresser, Betty Glasow, bought six times their original estimate to make £32,000. Lennon's hair also brought $48,000 in another sale.

Celebrity hair #2  - Elvis Presley

Bieber's haircut in 2011 was a big deal for his fans - perhaps the most controversial pop haircut since Elvis Presley was drafted into the US Army at the height of his fame.

Elvis's notorious haircut happened in 1958, the aftermath of which is today the second-most expensive hair ever sold. Homer "Gill" Gilleland, Presley's personal barber, later sold The King of Rock 'n' Roll's locks for $115,120. The winning bidder was anonymous.

Celebrity hair #1 - Ernesto Che Guevara

The US's mistrust of Cuban revolutionaries Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara didn't only manifest itself in exploding cigars. One CIA operative went so far as to take Guevara's hair. Che's locks were later bought by collector and bookstore owner Bill Butler for $119,000.

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