AS YOU probably read in the news last weekend, a 19th-century "vampire killing kit" complete with crucifix, wooden stake, and a pistol with 10 silver bullets was auctioned off at Sotheby's the day before Halloween for US $12,000. What you may not have read is that a few days later another one sold for $20,300, making the vampire killing kit currently offered on eBay (with miniature crossbow and silver-tipped arrows, no less) a flat-out bargain at $4,500.
Caveat emptor. There seem to be quite a few of these kits about these days, each purportedly assembled in the 1800s by a "Professor Ernst Blomberg" (of whose existence I've been able to find no evidence whatsoever; please write me if you are aware of such), yet each sports a unique array of implements and looks completely different from the others (examples here and here).
The documentation on Sotheby's own website is equivocal:
Professor Ernst Blomberg reportedly assembled his kits in the nineteenth century. Many experts, however, believe that his kits were assembled in the early twentieth century in response to the interest in vampires sparked by the popularity of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' published in 1897.
The most interesting specimen by far is cataloged on a French website called the Museum of Supernatural History. The kit contains a pistol allegedly manufactured in the late 1700s at the behest of the Catholic Church for the specific purpose of killing vampires and werewolves. If the museum's documentation is to be believed (ahem), the weapon is of incalculable historical value, having been used in 1888 to dispatch Jack the Ripper, then again in 1945 to finish off none other than Adolf Hitler.