Feb. 20, 2007 -- Do Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and Britney Spears have anything in common? Maybe, maybe not.
"Get the hair," was one of the first thoughts that raced through John Reznikoff's mind. He is a professional hair collector. He boasts locks-orabilia in his Connecticut office from more than 100 famous historical and iconic people including Elizabeth Taylor, John F. Kennedy, and Neil Armstrong.
So what's wrong with a simple autograph?
"It's developed into a market of thousands of collectors, who are interested in something better than an autograph -- something that brings them closer to their hero or idol," Reznikoff said.
It's a concept with a rich history. In the Catholic Church it's called the veneration of relics. People flock to shrines that house Mary Magdalene's palm or St. Jude's arm. A shrine in India has hairs from the prophet Muhammad's beard.
A Cool Million for Lincoln's Locks
It's been going on for thousands of years, but todday it has a new meaning. It's what Reznikoff calls a DNA card catalogue of the most famous people in history.
"There's always that Jurassic Park mentality," he said. "Who knows, perhaps 100 years from now you could have a dinner party with 20 of the most famous people in history!"
And for this, Reznikoff says, people are willing to shell out big money. "The most valuable lock of hair I have is a lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair," he says. "It was taken the night of his assassination, and it was the hair that cleared the wound area, and it came directly from the surgeon. And it's quite valuable."
Valuable is right. He has had offers of up to a $1 million.
Given the asking price of $1 million, what would Reznikoff actually pay for Britney's hair? He says a mere $3,000 to $5,000.
"The bottom line of my job is I value things," says Resnikoff, "I put a value or a price on how famous somebody is, and how iconic they are. "
In the end, that makes Britney Spears less like Lincoln, and more like the "Charlie's Angels" star Cheryl Ladd. Reznikoff has pieces of her hair, though no one is offering to buy it. After all, hair is thinning and fame is fleeting.