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189 Year Old Bonaparte Hair Snipped from Body Sells for $13,000

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A lock of hair cut from the head of previous emperor Napoleon Bonaparte has sold for $13,000 at a New Zealand auction, sold to an unnamed collector in London—snipped from Bonaparte's head after his death nearly 200 years ago.

Additional telephone lines were installed in anticipation of the emperor Bonaparte hair sale—for the expected rush of international buyers expected to want the hair cut from the head of the former French Emperor, including prospective buyers from interest from Hong Kong, the United States, Lithuania, France and New Zealand.

The lock of Napoleon Bonaparte’s hair was apparently snipped from the body--the day following Bonaparte's death in 1821, while he was in exile on the island of St. Helena. The hair lock is part of a collection by Denzil Ibbetson, British commissary officer and artist, with the piece brought to New Zealand in 1864.

Ibbetson served on St. Helena during the six years that Napoleon was held in exile on the island—following defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Ibbetson’s rare collection holds roughly 40 items--including sketches by Ibbetson of Napoleon Bonaparte on his death-bed at age 51. Descendents of Ibbetson have sold the collection.

"The [Ibbetson] collection [including the Bonaparte hair lock] has really been in remarkable condition and the family has to be commended for preserving this material for all this time, it's nearly 200 years old," Hamish Coney, managing director of Art+Object Auction House, told Reuters.

"In terms of a historical collection that will be located in New Zealand, it's probably one of the most important collections that has ever been found."

It’s unclear as to what the New Zealand ‘competition’ for the Ibbetson collection might be.

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