Original Victorian Era Cased Vampire Defense Set of Dr. W.M. Ramsey, St. John’s College Oxford - Circa 1886
Original Item: One-of-a-kind set. When does reality end and fantasy begin? The world famous book DRACULA was published in 1897 by Bram Stoker, an Irishman living in London, and is regarded as one of the greatest fiction stories ever told, however, was the book based on fact?
Here we have what we believe to be an original and genuine Vampire Set" predating Bram Stoker’s DRACULA publication by more than a decade. The set belonged to an internationally known scholar and theologian of the time.
Modern Vampire Sets are encountered from time to time are even "antiqued" for added authenticity but we have never encountered anything like this!
Dr. William Mitchell Ramsay, 1851-1939, had a sparkling career and was considered the foremost authority, in his day, on Asia Minor and the New Testament and where his travels took him many times through Romania. This offering, named to the professor, was his personal Vampire defense set and consists of the following:
- A silver rosary made up of black beads and a plain small silver cross. On each side of the cross there is engraved a human heart with a stake through it and a name is engraved script, VAN RYCHEGHEM on one side and on the other side a date of JULY 1886
Best of all, included with the set comes a hand written letter, together with the original envelope including an intact wax seal to the rear. The envelope is addressed to: WILLIAM M. RAMSEY ESQ.
The one sheet ink script letter reads as follows:
MY DEAR RAMSEY, PLEASE TAKE THE UTMOST CARE AS I KNOW YOUR JOURNIES TAKE YOU THROUGH THE DARK PARTS OF RUMANIA. KEEP THIS CLOSE BY YOU, TRUST NO ONE AND DO NOT HESITATE TO USE IT. MAY IT GUARD AND PROTECT YOU UNTIL YOUR SAFE RETURN. YOUR FRIEND, VAN RYCHEGHEM.
This is all absolutely amazing. This set pre-dates the DRACULA book's publication in 1897, but of course, the folklore of Vampires is hundreds and hundreds of years old.
The whole set is in lovely, dare we say, unused, condition. The mallet shows wear but in it's 150 years of existence we rather suppose is was pressed into service for whenever a mallet was needed.
Enclosed with this set we include research on both Dr. William Mitchell Ramsey (later knighted in 1906) and Bram Stoker the author of the DRACULA novel.
These men were contemporaries and very possibly were well acquainted as they both revolved in London Society during the last 15-20 years of the Victorian age. It is speculated that the inspiration for DRACULA may have been given to Stoker by Ramsey as there is an amazing coincidence that Stoker included a foreign element in the Novel, "PROFESSOR ABRAHAM VAN HELSING" as Ramsey had received his vampire set from his associate "VAN RYCHEGHEM". This name is difficult to read on both rosary and the letter. We have made attempts, to trace this individual, who presumably was Dutch, but no information has been found as of yet.
Vampire killing kits are not new to the market, a few reside in museums and private collections around the world, most have been proven to be fake, and we can make no promises that this wasn’t concocted out of someone’s imagination. However, the pieces are genuine and period correct, the paper the letter is printed on is old and period correct and the pistols are certainly of the age, but unlike the other kits that have come to the market this one is named to a known person that had a reason to own it and the connections to Bram Stoker to be of influence.
Here is an interesting article about one held in the a museum collection in Doylestown Pennsylvania-
So, do Vampires exist? Recent discoveries of skeletons found in Bulgarian 13th century graves with stakes in their chests indicate that for hundreds of years people have held strong beliefs around their existence.
This set was commissioned as a safeguard; it's the correct age and has a very compelling story, just perfect for Halloween. We will never see the likes of this again.
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