His collection includes everything from presidents to authors to assassins. It is revered as the greatest hair collection in the world and John has been courted and pursued to not only sell pieces but also to allow the hair to be utilized for DNA research and beyond.

He has hair strands from numerous historical figures like George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Napoleon, Beethoven and Chopin.

Hair collecting took hold during the Victorian era when notables were asked by their admirers for locks rather than their signatures. “More so than an autograph, it was a sign of affection,” said Harry Rubenstein, a curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

HIS mother lode is kept in a storage room filing cabinet. There is a folder for each celebrity, usually overflowing with yellowed news clippings and torn pages from diaries that attest to the hair’s authenticity through a verifiable chain of ownership. He uses sophisticated imaging equipment as a video spectral comparator, a device used to verify passports and banknotes, to analyze handwriting and other documentation. Meanwhile, the actual hair is usually stuffed in a plain first-class envelope.