Reopening ‘The Ripper’ case?
The airtight, velvet-lined, mahogany and brass-bound case, made by Weiss of The Strand, London, now contains only a bone saw with a broken blade
A 19th-century surgeon’s instruments’ case which has turned up at Sheppard’s auction house has a possible link to the infamous “Jack the Ripper” series of murders that traumatised Victorian London.
The airtight, velvet-lined, mahogany and brass-bound case, made by Weiss of The Strand, London, now contains only a bone saw with a broken blade.
A brass plaque on the lid is engraved with the name of Frederick Chapman – a doctor in London who died in 1888, the year in which an unknown serial killer murdered five women in the city’s Whitechapel area.
The murders attracted unprecedented media attention and one of England’s biggest ever police investigations but the killer was never apprehended. Some of the victims had been mutilated in a manner which led detectives to believe that the killer had surgical and anatomical skills.
Chapman was one of many men, albeit with no hard evidence, whose name was linked to the crimes which are still the subject of speculation and debate.
The case will be auctioned later this month at Sheppard’s three-day sale in Durrow and has an estimate of €800-€1,200.
Antique surgical cases and other items of medical equipment are surprisingly collectible. In 2012, a 19th-century Irish surgeon’s amputation set at a Mealy’s auction attracted significant interest and sold for €6,200 – more than 17 times the estimate.