Does the buyer of an auctioned “vampire hunting kit” know something we don’t?
According to British auction house Hansons: “A mysterious vampire-slaying kit containing objects reputed to ward off the blood-thirsty monsters sparked an international bidding battle – and smashed its auction estimate to smithereens.”
Ok, we’ll, it didn’t sell for millions, which is probably the kind of money we would want to find a way to scrape together if we thought vampires were real.
How much should a vampire hunting kit cost?
On June 30, 2022, the kit was estimated to sell for £2,000-£3,000 ($2,400 – $2,600). But it quickly saw a five-figure price tag after the bidding began. When the hammer dropped, the final bid price was £13,000 ($15,638 and some change by the July 10th exchange rate).
It’s pretty impressive for something to sell for six times its estimated worth. You really have to want to own that particular vampire hunting kit to pay that kind of money.
Why this vampire hunting kit?
Charles Hanson, the owner of Hansons Auctioneers, explained that the odd item inspired headlines around the world and that attention likely pushed up the price. But he was still shocked at the final value.
According to the Hansons website, part of its mystery and allure is the kit’s original owner: “It originally belonged to Lord Hailey, a British peer and former administrator of British India. Whether through fear or fascination, it’s interesting to know a member of the highest aristocratic social order, a man with a place in the House of Lords, acquired this item. It reminds us that the vampire myth affects people from all walks of life. I think the aristocratic connection made this object even more desirable and, perhaps, helped it on its way to a particularly strong result.”
Charles Hanson also added “William Malcolm Hailey, 1st Baron Hailey (1872-1969) was recognised for his intellect. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was Governor of the Punjab from 1924 to 1928 and Governor of the United Provinces from 1928 to 1934. And yet, amid his illustrious career, he was drawn to this vampire-slaying kit. That’s understandable. These objects are both curious and intriguing.”
So, what’s in a vampire hunting kit?
The 19th-century kit comes in a lockable box with Lord Hailey’s initials and address. The tools inside include “holy objects to ward off vampires,” including “two brass crucifixes on the lid which act as a sliding secret locking device. Inside are more crucifixes, a matching pair of pistols, brass powder flask, holy water, Gothic Bible, wooden mallet, stake, brass candlesticks, rosary beads and Metropolitan police paperwork from the period.”
Vampires have long been a character in European folklore and two books only made them seem more real – John Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897).
“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 presence in the kit,” Hanson said.
So, who bought it?
Sadly, we only know the new owner of the kit is from Derbyshire and they did not wish to be named.
The owner said: “I was stunned and delighted by the result. It’s a fascinating item, a conversation piece. I came across it in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, fairly recently. I liked it for its novelty and historical value. Interestingly, Lord Hailey has a memorial tablet in London’s Westminster Abbey which pays warm tribute to him.”
Maybe you will run across them if you walk around at night in Derbyshire – but you probably don’t want to run across someone so well-armed in the forest at night. – WTF fun facts