On September 6, 1966, John Lennon got a haircut. But this wasn’t just any haircut. It was in preparation for his upcoming dramatic role as Private Gripweed in the film “How I Won the War” and meant getting his Beatle “mop top” hair cut very short. A clump of John’s hair from this famous haircut will be auctioned off to interested bidders at the Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction in Dallas on February 20, 2016. John Lennon Examiner spoke to Garry Shrum, Consignment Director for Heritage Auctions today, February 3, 2016, about this interesting piece of history. (See updated comment below about price.)
The hair, among other items related to that cut, is being offered by original owner Klaus Baruck, the Hamburg hairdresser who not only sheared off Lennon’s locks that day, but has wisely held onto them for fifty years. Kept in a barber’s towel this whole time, tucked away in a drawer, he is ready to give this prized piece of history up.
The overall length of the lock being offered is described as about four inches, and “likely contains hundreds of strands.” According to the auction description, it is the “largest lock of Lennon’s hair ever sold at auction. Mr. Shrum explained to us in an email, “ It was kept in a barber’s towel and we moved it to a small box. The towel is included in the auction.” As to why Mr. Baruck is selling now, Mr. Shrum said, “He heard of our success with our Beatles items in the German media when we sold the Hamburg Beatles Museum.” (The museum, Beatlemania Hamburg opened in 2009 and was sold in 2012.)
Mr. Shrum said bidding for the hair has already opened, and as of today, $5000 has already been bid on Lennon’s hair, which includes two vintage period newspaper articles from Hamburg, Germany about Lennon’s haircut. One shows pictures of Baruck cutting John’s hair, another one includes John’s dismayed and pained expression when looking in the mirror. The caption says (in German), “Immediately picked up and tucked away, a clump of John Lennon’s hair.” The lot also includes a call sheet dated September 6, 1966 bearing Lennon’s signature, where he wrote “John Lennon/oh yes.” The winning bid is expected to reach $10,000 according to the post on the auction site, however, Mr. Shrum said, “We expect it to go for more than $10,000, possible $60,000 to $75,000.”
Preparing for his role as Musketeer Gripweed transformed Lennon’s look significantly. His hair not only went shorter, this was when he began wearing small, round “granny glasses.” Worn for the film, he took a liking to them, and made the style famous. Filming for “How I Won the War” began soon after the haircut, in Germany as well as Almeria, Spain. It was first released October 18, 1967. Lennon took Richard Lester up on his offer to star in the film, as it provided a needed break from the grueling schedule of being a Beatle and gave him a diversion to try acting.
Many other Lennon related items are being offered at this auction (click here) including a signed photo, also obtained by the same hairdresser on the same day. The photo of Lennon is of course before the famous haircut.