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10
Presidential Possessions

Lincoln's gold pocket watch -- a perfectly natural object to hang onto -- was opened recently to reveal strange scrawlings rumored to be left by the watchmaker tasked with repairing the timepiece.

AP Photo/Smithsonian Institution

Saving some artifacts that belonged to former U.S. presidents and founding fathers makes sense. Take iconic items like Ben Franklin's cane or George Washington's tent, the model Abraham Lincoln submitted with his patent application or the microphone FDR spoke into during his fireside chats. But some of the relics the Smithsonian has collected from diplomats seem a little odd.

Among the many strange mementos are Warren Harding's silk pajamas, one of Harry Truman's bowling pins and a framed display featuring locks of hair cut from the heads of the first 14 presidents, from Washington all the way up to Franklin Pierce.

Some of the stuff that's been saved is arguably downright macabre, like the top hat that Abraham Lincoln allegedly wore when he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre or the cup William McKinley had just sipped from before he, too, was shot.

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