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A mysterious vampire-slaying kit that sparked an international bidding battle has sold for a staggering £16,900 at auction.

The creepy find went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on 30 June with an estimated value of £2,000-£3,000. The bids soon reached six times more at £13,000. A private UK buyer finally purchased it for just under £17,000.

The set, which belonged to a 19th-century lord, included 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.

The original owner, Lord Hailey (1872-1969), was a British peer and former administrator of British India. He was said to be "recognised for his intellect", having been educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He then went on to become the Governor of the Punjab from 1924 to 1928 and Governor of the United Provinces from 1928 to 1934.

The lockable box, marked with his initials and containing his full name and address, features two brass crucifixes on the lid, which act as a sliding secret locking device.

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SWNS/Hansons Auctioneers

Auctioneer Charles Hanson said: “Items like this always capture the imagination of the world.

“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 provenance reminds us that the vampire myth affects people from all walks of life.

“Whether through fear or fascination, the owner of this particular kit was a lord, a member of the highest aristocratic social order able to sit in the House of Lords.

“And yet, amid his illustrious career, he was drawn to this vampire-slaying kit."

He added: “Vampires have been part of popular culture for more than 200 years. They are enshrined in European folklore.

“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 we have found.”

SWNS

Author John Polidori’s The Vampyre was published in 1819, which had a significant impact, followed by Bram Stoker’s 1897 Dracula.

The seller, from Derbyshire, discovered the macabre kit only recently.

They said: “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.”

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