American Revolution surgical kits to sell

A pair of surgical kits from the American Revolutionary war will sell at RR Auction.

They’re offered as a single lot with an estimate in excess of $50,000 ahead of the July 12 close date.

Revolutionary war kit

Dr John Warren went on to found the Harvard Medical School in 1782

The cases were gifted to Continental Army doctor John Warren by his brother, the famous patriot Dr Joseph Warren.

Joseph Warren was an agitating force in Boston in the run-up to the war and was heavily involved in planning for the revolution. 

John Warren joined the army as a surgeon in 1773 and served until the war's end. He went on to found the prestigious Harvard Medical School in 1782. 

These kits include all the forceps, bone saws and other instruments needed to remove bullets, shrapnel and damaged limbs.

As the army had limited resources, doctors were expected to bring their own kits.  

The auction house comments: “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.

“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.”

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