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European Souvenir Kit, ca 1910



This kit was sold by Sotheby's in October of 2003. The winning bid was $12,000. This is what happens when you buy retail


In a walnut box with contains a crucifix, pistol, rosary and vessels for powdered garlic and other serums, this kit is believed to have been assembled in the early 20th century for sale to tourists. Supporting this inference is the label on the kit, which reads "This box contains the items considered necessary for persons who travel into certain little known countries of Eastern Europe where the populace are plagued with a particular manifestation of evil known as Vampires."





Just for reference, here is a better copy of this image:



The seller was unidentified, and according to Sotheby's, some experts assert that these vampire killing kits became commonly available to people travelig in Eastern Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, which is consistent with a belief in a very real threat from vampires. Others are more inclined to believe think the kits were following the 1897 publication of Bram Stoker's Dracula, which became something of a best seller. Elaine Whitmire, head of 19th century furniture for Sotheby's, stated at the time of the sale that she believes this particular kit was assembled in the early 20th century and sold as a souvinir kit to travelers in Eastern Europe, adding "My opinion is this is a memento that you bought while you were in Europe. I doubt it was cheap to buy."