A substantial lock of John Lennon’s hair that was cut in preparation for his role as Private Gripweed in the 1966 film “How I Won the War” sold for a world record $35,000 on Feb. 20 at the Entertainment & Music Memorabilia sale in Dallas by Heritage Auctions, the auction house announced today. The hair was purchased by Paul Fraser, a major buyer of entertainment memorabilia, and will be returned to the UK for the first time in 50 years, the company said.
The four-inch hair lock was saved for 50 years by Klaus Baruck, the German hairdresser who trimmed Lennon’s hair in Hamburg for his role in Richard Lester’s dark comedy about a fictional British army troop and their misadventures in World War II. The “How I Won the War” film was just issued on Blu-ray in the U.S. by Kino-Lorber Films. Baruck was reportedly so excited about the opportunity that he called the local newspaper to record the event. Baruck’s 15 minutes of fame also included an appearance on the CBS show “I’ve Got a Secret” in late 1966.
The keepsake is accompanied by newspaper clippings and a photo showing Baruck’s hand holding the lock of John’s hair with the caption, “Immediately picked up and tucked away: A clump of hair that had been John Lennon’s, cut yesterday.” Also auctioned was a signed glossy head and shoulders “before shot” portrait of Lennon, taken shortly before the haircut, also obtained by the hairdresser. It sold for $2,125.
“This is the largest lock of John Lennon’s hair ever offered at auction and this world record price is a lasting testament to the world’s more than 50-year love affair and fascination with Lennon and the Beatles,” said Garry Shrum, Director of Music Memorabilia at Heritage Auctions.
Today’s auction also set a world record for a non-autographed, still sealed gem mint 10 sealed copy of The Beatles “Yesterday and Today” Butcher Cover from 1966, which sold for $125,000. “This is by far one of the finest copies of the very limited number of “first state” albums that were released to a small audience,” Shrum said.
Also in the auction was a signed photograph of the Fab Four, which one memorabilia expert called “the greatest signed Beatles photograph known to exist.” It sold for $42,500. The large glossy black-and-white picture taken by photographer Dezo Hoffman of the Beatles performing at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool on December 7th, 1963, was signed boldly in black felt tip marker by all four members of the group beside their respective images.