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A stock photograph of a non-celebrity illustrates how celebrities may need to protect themselves from fans if collecting hair becomes more popular.

The next time you stand in line to meet a celebrity, forget about asking for an autograph.

Ask instead for a lock of hair.

Emily Jane Fox writes at CNN Money about Louis Mushro, a man who makes his living selling celebrity hair: "Mushro's sold 4,500 locks from famous people — from John F. Kennedy to John Lennon — at online auctions for over 20 years. He's also amassed a venerable collection of hair from the who's who of history, Hollywood and Washington. … Babe Ruth's hair sells for $1,000, and Mother Teresa's $400."

Some presidents' hair goes for $400 a snippet. Other presidents' hair goes for $4,000.

"His most prized possession is Abraham Lincoln's hair," Fox writes. "Already, Mushro has sold several 1/16th of an inch pieces of Lincoln's hair for about $1,200 each, and he has more to sell."

CBS News looked at Mushro's collection in 2009 and explained how hair collecting used to be more popular. "Collecting hair dates back centuries. It was wildly popular during the Civil War, when Robert E. Lee, for example, would more likely be asked for a lock of his hair (and some from his horse) than for an autograph, a fad that only emerged much later," CBS reported. "Victorians would often make jewelry, lockets, and rings from locks of family hair. Cherishing such tangible tokens from the recently deceased was considered part of the grieving process."

Justin Bieber put up some of his hair for a charity auction on eBay in 2011 that, after 98 bids, fetched $40,668. Of course, the hair was in a box that had been signed by Bieber.

The Week recounted some hair sales in 2010. Somebody paid $115,000 for a jar of Elvis Presley's hair in 2002. A 4-inch dreadlock from Bob Marley went for $3,930 in 2003. A Che Guevara hair went for the capitalistic price of $100,000 in 2007. Jane Austen's hair went for $8,500 in 2008. Michael Jackson's hair, slightly singed from an accident while filming a Pepsi commercial, came to $1,700.

One of the dangers of hair collecting becoming a trend again is, as hair historian John Reznikoff told CBS, rabid fans with scissors.

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @degroote, Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote