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Gary Younge
One small cut for a man, one legal action

The first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, is threatening to sue his barber for selling his hair to a collector for $3,000.

Mr Armstrong, was a regular at Marx's Barber Shop in Lebanon, Ohio, where he would go once a month. But he stopped visiting after he learned that the owner, Marx Sizemore, had collected his clippings from the floor and sold them in May 2004.

"I didn't deny it or anything," Mr Sizemore told the Associated Press. "I told him I did it."

Mr Sizemore said he had not initiated the sale but had been approached, twice, by an agent for John Reznikoff, a Connecticut-based collector listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the largest collection of hair from historical celebrities.

"At first I told him no, I wasn't interested," Mr Sizemore said. "He called me back; then he contacted me by mail." Finally the agent offered him $3,000. "That's what he hit me with," the barber said.

Mr Armstrong, a private man who rarely makes public appearances and never gives interviews, heard of the sale almost a year later and asked Mr Sizemore to get the hair back. But Mr Reznikoff, whose collection is insured for $1m (£550,000) and includes hair from Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Napoleon and others, would not part with it.

"I called the person I sold it to and told him," Mr Sizemore said. "He was not interested in giving it back.

"I called Neil back and told him that. Then I got this letter from his lawyer."

The letter argues that Mr Sizemore has violated an Ohio law aimed at protecting the rights of famous people. It threatens legal action if Mr Sizemore does not return the hair or contribute the $3,000 to a charity of Mr Armstrong's choosing and pay the former astronaut's legal costs.

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