It's been over 125 years since Jack the Ripper prowled the streets of London, but here's something new: artifacts tied to the case are heading to the auction block.
The items include handcuffs, a whistle, a baton, and a notebook cover that belonged to PC Edward Watkins. On Sept. 29, 1888, at around 1:44am, Watkins was first on the scene in Whitechapel's Mitre Square, where the mutilated body of the Ripper's fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes, was found. She had many injuries, including the removal of a segment of her intestines, along with her left kidney. The beat cop was carrying these very items when he made this gruesome discovery.
The police tools — sold by a private collector whose grandfather acquired them directly from Watkins' descendants — are predicted to go for as much as $1,200 each in the December 10 sale.
Jonathan Humbert, of JP Humbert Auctioneers, told the BBC, "It is chilling to think these very items may have physically been only yards from Jack the Ripper and played such an integral role in one of the most fascinating unresolved crimes of all time. Ripper items are rarer than rare by their very nature and I have no doubt these will really capture the public imagination around the world."
Sources: The Daily Mail, BBC News (top image via)
Sketch of Catherine Eddowes via www.casebook.org