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Back in Time

This pocket watch belonged to Robert Burns. It was a gift from his wife, Jean Armour.

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The Scotsman reported last week:

A SYMBOL of one of literary history’s most famous romances, a watch given to Scotland’s greatest poet, Robert Burns, by his wife Jean Armour, has been uncovered and is to go on public sale for the first time.

The silver pocket watch contains a delicate, hand-annotated love note written by Armour on a piece of paper hidden inside the case.

The “pair-cased” watch contains a hand-pierced paper insert with a twin love-bird and heart motifs, and the initials “R” and “J” inside them – which experts believe refer to Rabbie and Jean.

On the back of the watch, which experts say is in excellent condition, the words “Robt Burns Mauchline” and the date 1786 are engraved.

Phil Gregory, spokesman for the auctioneer Lyon & Turnbull, said the watch came from a private collection and the seller had opted to remain anonymous.

He said: “I’ve held the piece myself, and it’s in amazing condition. You would not have thought it was the age it is.

“The piece of paper that sits inside it is very pretty, and the ink that the ‘R’ and a ‘J’, is written in is really fresh.”

The rest of the article can be read by clicking on the link.

The watch came up at auction in Edinburgh today and was expected to reach a price of £2,500.

It sold for £40,000.

Auction Skullduggery?

This is the skull of St Vitalis of Assisi.

Who he?

Well, he was an Italian Benedictine monk from the 14th century.
St Vitalis was born in Umbria, Italy, and is said to have lived an immoral and licentious youth.

In an attempt to atone for his early sins, he later undertook pilgrimages to shrines throughout Europe, eventually entering the Benedictine monastery at Subiaco.

After leaving the monastery, he lived the remainder of his life as a hermit near Assisi.
It is said that he wore only rags and shunned all material wealth, with the exception of a basket which he used to fetch water from a nearby stream. (A BASKET?)

He died in 1370, and word of his sanctity soon spread due to reports of numerous miracles performed on those with bladder and genital disorders. (BLADDER AND GENITAL DISORDERS?)

Auctioneer Damien Matthews, who is selling the macabre item on Sunday at an auction in County Meath, Ireland, said that the family think an ancestor brought it back from the grand tour of Europe in the 18th century.

The grand tour was an educational rite of passage for wealthy Europeans from the 17th until the 19th century, intended to provide insight into the great cultural symbols of Europe.

The head sat for many years in the family hall in County Louth, but was recently uncovered in an outhouse.

Mr Matthews said that although he couldn’t be certain it was the head of a saint: “It’s certainly ancient, and it’s certainly the head of somebody.”

What am I bid for er…..somebody’s heid?

The head, holy or otherwise, is valued at between 800 and 1,200 euros (between £698 and £1,047).