Lock of John Lennon's hair sells for $50,000

Memorabilia sits a top the Strawberry Fields tile mosaic in Central Park, which was created in tribute to the late musician John Lennon, to mark the 35-year anniversary of his death on Dec 8, 2015 in New York City.
Memorabilia sits a top the Strawberry Fields tile mosaic in Central Park, which was created in tribute to the late musician John Lennon, to mark the 35-year anniversary of his death on Dec 8, 2015 in New York City. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - When Beatlesmania hit the world in the 1960s, pop music would never be the same. Neither would hairstyles after young men adopted the British group's trademark "mop top" look in droves.

Now a lucky bidder has bought a piece of the real thing - paying US$35,000 (S$50,000) at auction for a lock of John Lennon's hair snipped in 1966 during his preparation for a film role.

Dallas-based Heritage Auctions sold the four-inch, nearly 50-year-old hair cutting on Saturday.

"This is the largest lock of John Lennon's hair ever offered at auction," Heritage director of music memorabilia Garry Shrum said in a statement. "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."

British collector Paul Fraser bought the lock, cut in 1966 by a German hairdresser in Hamburg before Lennon began filming How I Won the War.

The dark comedy, directed by Richard Lester, follows the misadventures of a fictional British army troop under an incompetent commander during World War II.

Lennon played the role of Private Gripweed, for which he first publicly donned the signature round glasses he wore for the rest of his life.

Hairdresser Klaus Baruck kept the lock after trimming Lennon's hair.

"Baruck was so excited about the opportunity to transform Lennon's famous Beatles mop top that he called the local newspaper to record the event," Heritage said in its statement.

Later in 1966, the barber appeared as a guest on the CBS show I've Got a Secret in which contestants had to guess his identity as the man who cut Lennon's hair.

A signed "before shot" photograph of Lennon taken shortly before his famous trim also sold at the auction for US$2,125. A photograph of the band signed by all four members went for US$42,500.

The biggest seller was a rare sealed copy of the band's limited US album Yesterday and Today, with a controversial cover showing the Beatles holding bloody slices of meat and chopped up doll pieces, which went for US$125,000.