This skull of saintly hermit could bring 'new life' to your collectibles portfolio

As alternative investments go, not many collectors will have a saint's head in their portfolios.

A 14th century skull, purported to be that of Saint Vitalis of Assisi, comes to auction at Matthews Auction Rooms in Ireland on Sunday May 29.

The Italian Saint is thought to have led a less than holy life as a young man, before becoming a Benedictine monk and living as a hermit.

He turned the knowledge he gained in his younger years to good use, developing a reputation for his healing hands, particularly in the trouser department.

"It is said that the saint met a bad end as he was buried alive with stones placed on his head," auctioneer Damien Matthews told the Drogheda Independent.

"We think the skull is about 600 years old," he added.

It is unclear how St Vitalis's skull came to County Louth, where the consignor is based.

The skull, which is contained within a Queen Anne case, has an estimate of $1,650, but such is the interest surrounding the piece, it could achieve much more.

Unusual items like this are notoriously difficult to provide estimates for and should be approached with caution, especially if the provenance of a piece is as opaque as this one.

But the unique nature of the lot, and its holy connection, could see it make a nice conversation piece for one plucky collector.

Watch this space to see how it fares.


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