CAG Certifies Strands of Hair from Hollywood Icon Marilyn Monroe
Posted on 2/27/2023
Artifacts bring the past to life. They provide a tangible connection to iconic moments in history. They make legends more accessible.
The powerful feelings that artifacts can inspire were displayed to millions on social media when Kim Kardashian was presented with an artifact associated with a legendary Hollywood personality in May of 2022. The artifact, which she received from Ripley’s Believe or Not!, was a lock of Marilyn Monroe’s hair. Kardashian was clearly moved by the item, even announcing that she planned to sleep with the lock of hair “every night.”
Soon after Kardashian received the gift, however, reports began to surface that the lock of hair was a fake. The reports challenged the provenance of the artifact, claiming that the story used to establish the hair’s authenticity did not hold up to scrutiny. Ripley’s continues to assert that the hair is authentic.
The controversy highlights the importance of the type of certification that Collectibles Authentication Guaranty® (CAG®) offers to collectors. In fact, CAG recently certified strands of hair from Marilyn Monroe that were not only DNA authenticated but also had a provenance that was expertly confirmed and unchallenged.
For those unfamiliar with the term provenance, it refers to the record of ownership of an artifact that establishes its authenticity. In the case of the hair certified by CAG to be Marilyn Monroe’s, the key provenance documentation was a written statement provided by Allan L. Abbott, a man who was present when the hair was cut.
Abbott was one of the principals of Abbott and Hast, a mortuary in Los Angeles that assisted with preparing Monroe’s body for burial. During the embalming process, some hair was removed. Abbott, who assisted with the embalming, reported that he took the hair that was removed with the intention of giving it to his wife. The hair secured by Abbott was recently DNA tested as part of a documentary that sought to determine the identity of Monroe’s father.
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