Emperor Franz Joseph hair lock sold at Vienna auction

image captionThe lock of imperial white curled hair was kept in a blue velvet-lined box

A lock of hair belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph has been auctioned in Vienna for 13,720 euros (£11,500) - more than 20 times its estimated value.

The lock, which belonged to the estate of the Emperor's valet, Eugen Ketterl, had been valued at about 450 euros.

Franz Joseph ruled from 1848 to 1916 and was one of Europe's longest reigning monarchs.

In 2011, a lock of Justin Bieber's hair sold for £25,024 on Ebay.

The teeny-bopper had given the piece of hair in a signed box to US chat-show host Ellen Degeneres, and the money raised was given to an animal charity.

But while Franz Joseph's follicles may have been less in demand than the Canadian crooner's quiff, the Austrian emperor's lock fared better than one of Napoleon Bonaparte's: In 2010, a lock of the French emperor's hair sold for £8,600 at auction in New Zealand.

The lock of imperial white curled hair was kept in a blue velvet-lined box and had been given to Mr Ketterl along with other of the monarch's discarded personal effects, as a way of topping up his salary.

Also under the hammer at Thursday's sale in Vienna's Dorotheum Auction House were Franz Joseph's cigar case and a handkerchief, as well as a sketchbook belonging to his son, Crown Prince Rudolf, who was found dead with his lover in 1889.

More on this story