One of the most fascinating controversies surrounding Beethoven studies revolves around his...hair? Several locks were snipped off his head when he died, have been passed along or sold since, and analyzed in attempts (still far from conclusive) to discover what really killed him. An entire book has been written about it, aptly titled Beethoven's Hair, there's a film, and this weekend William Meredith, head of the Center for Beethoven Studies will be displaying a lock of hair and talking about it before a concert in San Antonio.
As a rabid baseball fan, I have kept tabs on a particularly bizarre, perhaps even appalling, angle: For two years running, a strand of the great man's hair has been enclosed in a premium baseball card as a promo for the manufacturer. The lucky person who pulls it out of a pack invariably goes out and sells it at auction, with the latest price about $4000, which actually seems rather low. Here's one account and photo of the package (go down to #7 in their listing).
Update: A friend points out that baseball star Jose Reyes' shorn dreadlocks just went for over $10,000 on Ebay. I pointed that this was for full dreads, not one strand. Still. Too bad Beethoven didn't live to write reggae version of his famous single and call it "Ode to Jah."