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Gen. Robert E. Lee's Hair for Sale: How Much?

Georgia is one of few states, joining Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Virginia, that specifically observes Lee and his life with an official state holiday.

A letter, lock of hair and knife once owned by Robert E. Lee will be auctioned Saturday in Falls Church, Va. Screen shot from online catalog.
A letter, lock of hair and knife once owned by Robert E. Lee will be auctioned Saturday in Falls Church, Va. Screen shot from online catalog.
By Mary Ann Barton and Hunt Archbold

A lock of hair, letter and pen knife that belonged to Confederate General Robert E. Lee will be auctioned off Saturday at a Falls Church, Va., auction house.


The letter has been on loan and display at Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial located at Arlington National Cemetery, for more than 20 years, according to a description of the item on liveauctioneers.com.

Lee originally sent the letter, knife and lock of hair to a woman in Baltimore who requested the items to raise funds for an orphanage, according to a 1907 Baltimore Sun article that accompanies the items.

In its auction catalogue, the auctioneers estimate bids for Lee's lock of hair, letter and knife at between $20,000 to $30,000. A suggested starting bid on liveauctioneers.com is listed at $10,000. Read more about the auction here from Falls Church Patch.

The sale takes place one day after Lee-Jackson Day, a state holiday in Virginia that remembers Lee, commander of the Confederate Army in the Civil War, and Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. 

The anniversary of Lee's birthday, Jan. 19, 1807, is Sunday. The state of Georgia no longer recognizes Lee on that date, but it is one of the few states, joining Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Virginia, that does specifically observe Lee and his life with an official state holiday. (South Carolina, like Georgia does in April, observes a Confederate Memorial Day)

Georgia's nod to Lee actually comes the day after Thanksgiving, and many state residents might not even be aware that it exists.

Still, there’s no doubting Georgia’s significant role in the Confederacy and the impact the Civil War played on the state and its course in history. But with U.S. Census data showing more African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans residing in Georgia, some wonder if it’s time for the state to step away from the Confederacy-related state holidays in the face of a more diverse state.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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