American Revolution amputation kits auction for $104,000

A pair of amputation kits from the American Revolutionary War has auctioned for $104,147.

The two sets, which contain nausea-inducing implements such as a bone saw, bullet forceps and amputation knife, were the top lot of RR Auction's July 12-ending sale.

American Revolution surgical kits

In the days before anesthetic and antiseptic...

Their grisly nature and connection with the famous conflict were no doubt strong factors in the price. Yet so too was their link with two of the most important Americans from those times.

Because both sets were owned by Continental Army surgeon Dr John Warren, who co-founded Harvard Medical School.

And one of the sets was gifted to Dr John by his brother, the famous patriot Dr General Joseph Warren, who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

“These remarkable Revolutionary War amputation kits hail to a time before doctors understood the importance of sterilization, and the instruments show heavy signs of use," explained the auctioneer.

“Wounds from musket balls were rarely superficial, and amputation was fairly common - even though as few as 35% of men survived the procedure.

“Amputation kits were therefore essential on the battlefield and in very high demand…

“Dr John Warren carried these kits with him throughout his patriotic service.”

The sale also featured an autographed cheque from that famously enthusiastic signer of the Declaration of Independence John Hancock. It auctioned for $28,554.

Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles we’re offering this autograph from a man who many assume signed the Declaration of Independence, but didn't: George Washington.

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