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How to Buy Locks of Mozart, Beethoven Hair at Sotheby's London Auction [LISTING]

by K. Young   May 29, 2015 15:30 PM EDT

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Russian gun expert shoots his rendition of Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy'

Yesterday, May 28, at Sotheby's in London, a lock of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's hair, enclosed within a gaudy 19th-century locket, went up for auction. And no one yet knows just how many of today's farthings it fetched.

According to Classical Music Magazine, Constanze Mozart (wife of Wolfie) gave the strands of hair to German conductor Karl Anschütz (who founded the German Opera in New York City), before passing into the collection of Arthur Sommervell (whose descendant is putting the item up for sale). Locks of hair were frequently taken as keepsakes from the cadavers of recently deceased composers.

Or anyone, really: Oliver Cromwell, Napoleon, hell, even Hitler. Lest we forget, too, Rasputin's, um, member.

And, of course, Chopin's literal heart.

Upon visiting the composer's pauper's grave to pay his last respects, Gerhard von Breuning (son of Beethoven's lifelong friend, Stephan von Breuning) noted that strangers had already cut all the strands of his hair.

Requiem, indeed.

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