A vampire-killing kit packed with objects reputed to ward off the monsters enshrined in European folklore has been discovered by Hansons Auctioneers.
Belief in vampires, an undead creature said to need human blood to survive, goes back hundreds of years and persists in some parts of the world today.
The lockable, velvet-covered box, lined with crimson silk, contains an oval enamel painting depicting the resurrection of Christ; carved ivory wolf in robes carrying rosary beads; percussion cap pocket pistol; cobalt blue glass phial with white metal lid (contents unknown); three clear and aqua glass bottles; rosary beads; three crucifixes; two sets of pliers; a pocket knife with mother-of-pearl handle and HM silver blade; a bottle containing shark's teeth, and a copy of The New Testament, Cambridge: J. W. Parker, 1842.
It is due to go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on July 16 with an estimate of £2,000-£3,000 (lot 3162) and it has already sparked major interest on social media.
Its West Midlands owner, who did not wish to be named said, said: “I know very little of its history. I have had it in my own collection for three years now. I bought it from a large antiques fair in Newark. I loved the look of the Gothic box and, when I opened it, I just had to have it. I thought it was so interesting - a great conversation piece.”
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “People are fascinated by stories of vampires, hence their continued appearance in films and on TV today. They have been part of popular culture for more than 200 years. The publication of John Polidori’s The Vampyre in 1819 had a major impact and that was followed by Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic Dracula.
“However, a belief in vampires and strange superstitions goes back even further and persists to this day. The task of killing a vampire was extremely serious and historical accounts suggested the need for particular methods and tools.
“Items of religious significance, such as crucifixes and Bibles, were said to repel these monsters, hence their strong presence in the kit we have found.”