Lot 4021
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Winter Auction: Home & Interiors: Antique Furniture & Design, Ceramics & Decorative Art | 15 December 2022
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An engraved silver box containing a lock of hair and a hand-written note stating that the lock of hair was taken from the body of George Washington (1732-1799)

Ca. 1799-1800, USA

The handwritten note (in four small pieces, it came apart at the folds) states; "Hair of Genl. George Washington Late President of the United States. From Madam Washington, his Widow." The box is engraved on the lid; "Hair of President Washington taken at his decease Dec. 14 1799." The strand of hair is wrapped in a small piece of paper. Silver 800/1000.

This box belonged to Ms Doris Ann Watson (1935, Brooklyn N.Y., USA – 2001, Wassenaar, Netherlands). Ms Watson worked as a personal assistant to Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968), United States Attorney General and the closest advisor to his brother President John F. Kennedy. While in Brussels Ms Watson met her future husband, a Dutch diplomat. Because of her engagement to a foreign national Ms Watson had to resign from US government services and duties as Robert F. Kennedy's personal assistant. As a thank you for her outstanding performance she received this silver box with contents as a parting gift.

George Washington (1732-1799), the victorious general of the American War of independence and first president of the United States of America. Up until fairly recent times it was common practice to take hair from the deceased as a memento. Sometimes hair was incorporated into jewelry (so the wearer, usually a close relative, could keep the deceased loved ones close by). In the case of important or famous figures the hair could be distributed among admirers or institutions related to the deceased.

  • Provenance: Property of Ms. Doris Ann Watson, thence by descent to the present owner (see second photo, she is seated to the extreme left).

The silver box: 4.5 x 2.8 cm, H 0.9 cm

€ 3.000,00
€ 5.000,00

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