Blood Thirsty: An Allegedly Authentic Vampire Hunting Kit From the 19th Century Sold for $20,000 in Auction - Arts & Culture

Apparently, kits like this aren’t rare.

An allegedly authentic 19th-century vampire-hunting kit was sold by Hansons Auctioneers for £16,900 ($20,000) in the UK. According to the auction house, the equipment first belonged to Lord Malcolm Hailey, a one-time administrator of British India from 1921 to 1936.

In fact, the wooden box containing a brass crucifix, two pistols, a mirror, Bible, holy water, and other tools are stamped with Lord Hailey’s initials. 

“Whether through fear or fascination, it’s interesting to know [that a] member of the highest aristocratic social order, a man with a place in the House of Lords, acquired this item,” the owner of Hansons Auctioneers, Charles Hanson, said in a statement. He added that global bids from France, the US, and Canada exceeded their expectations.

Debunked

In European folklore, vampires are undead creatures that cause “mischief or deaths in the neighborhoods they inhabited while they were alive.” According to Hanson, although the belief in vampires has lasted for centuries, the publication of John Polidori’s The Vampyre in 1819 had a significant impact. Then, Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic Dracula succeeded it.

Per Artnet, scholars argue that these hunting kits from the 19th century are a mix of authentic objects and “artificially” aged ones. Other auction houses have offered similar lots. In 1994, British-American auctioneer Sotheby’s offered one but redacted the sale—after admitting its suspicious origin. 

“I’m afraid it’s only a pastiche, a romantic curiosity,” Sotheby’s consultant Nicholas McCullough told the Associated Press. “There was never a vampire-killing kit.” He continued that although the lot, which was housed in a casing from the 19th century, wasn’t rare. 

“[Since it was] presented as a vampire killing kit, it opens up whole new vistas,” McCullough added. “Everyone’s intrigued by it, from interior decorators to jokesters.” However, despite the consultant’s statement, it still fetched $12,000 at auction. 

Images from Hansons Auctioneers’ website.

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