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Pennsylvania Auctions Kit, 2011

In August 2011, BoingBoing published an account of this ornate kit, appearing at a Buckingham Pennsylvania auction presented by "Best of France Antiques." The kit contains a vintage pistol, ornate stake/mallet, garlic, holy water, mirror, bible, silver bullets and bullet mold, and several crucifixes. Priced at $9000, another poster stated that he had previously seen this kit for sale at the 'Baltimore Summer Antique Show' for $9800. Interestingly, Buckingham is very close to Doylestown PA, home of the Mercer Museum and their Blomberg kit which has been analyzed for authenticity. It is also stylistically similar to this kit spotted by another BoingBoing reader in the same timeframe.

Even more interesting is the apparent appearance of this kit at the Las Vegas pawn shop featured in the Pawn Stars series - the seller was looking for at least $9000, and believed in the kit's authenticity. Shop owner Rick identified the gun as a piece coming from the early 1900s, too modern for a kit supposedly dated to the mid-to-late 1800s. They declined the offer to purchase the piece. The episode, entitled "Rick or Treat" was aired just before Halloween in 2011 - possibly filmed before the August 2011 auction (above).

The ornately turned mallet handle and stake suggest antique furniture legs/stretchers (possibly of Jacobian design) repurposed. In fact, the 'mallet' head seems far too small to be an effective tool - it appears to be the join between stretchers, simply cut down to resemble a mallet, as shown at right.

The actual catalog listing for this item has not been observed.

One commenter suggested that the case is nearly identical to an English 'tea caddy' in his family's posession, with some modifications.

Furthermore, this is the first kit I have seen that includes wicker (again, possible scavenging of chair materials). It is likely that this is a modern assembly of vintage parts (observe the rust on the bullet mold (lower right), compared to the pristine finish on the stake/mallet) presented as a genuine antique. The red (wax?) vial tops also seem modern. Lack of the Blomberg Label suggests that forgers are becoming more cautious in their craft.