Postcard from Jack the Ripper (not for the faint hearted).
A postcard allegedly from the most infamous and grisly serial killers of our time, Jack the Ripper, went under the hammer at Grand Auctions in Kent on 30th April 2018 and fetched a staggering price, way above it's estimate.
The postcard in question was received at Ealing Police Station on 29th October 1888 from someone claiming to be responsible for the brutal murder of at least five women in the slums of the East End. Victorian London was stunned and horrified by the gruesome deaths, involving women whose throats were cut prior to abdominal mutilations and one victim, Mary Kelly, being especially badly mutilated. She was murdered on 9th November 1888, an interesting date for our card.
The card was one of a number of notes sent to police claiming responsibility during the long-running manhunt, but the postcard has a very strong provenance due to the period it was sent and the fact it was contained in police files. It reads:
“Beware there is two women I want here they are bastards and I mean to have them my knife is still in good order it is a students knife and I hope you liked the half of kidney. I am Jack the Ripper.”
The card was allegedly written by Jack the Ripper and Grand Auctions were in the fortunate position of nobody being able to say the card was not written by Jack, but equally they could not prove that it was. Either way it is a fascinating piece of history - albeit gruesome! The card is the first time a Ripper letter/card has ever been offered on the open market for auction with police provenance and is a coup for the auction house.
The card measures 2.75 inches by 4.75 inches and is written in ink. The condition of the card is good for its age. The card was posted to Ealing Police Station and received on the 29th of October 1888. It has been in the police Ripper files until they decided the case was finally closed, because no one would ever know the identity of the Ripper. It was given to the vendor's husband, a Police Constable and member of the Metropolitan Police Force, as a memento for his retirement from the force in 1966. Other unwanted items were simply thrown away. One officer found and kept 300 such documents which he has now given to the National Records Office who deface them with a stamp. The PC kept the card in a drawer until his death, where it remained with his widow.
Jack the Ripper is the most famous serial killer long after his death - why? He certainly committed some dreadful murders, but so did others, though in Whitechapel there were not that many murders at the time. Two letters changed everything about him and his infamy. The letters were received by the police and known as 'Dear Boss' and 'saucy Jacky'. Undoubtedly they were written by journalists working for the Central News Agency to gain sensational publicity for the Agency and a wider readership as well as some police bashing, which the press loved to do. In these letters the name Jack the Ripper appeared for the first time, so Jack the Ripper was born. As his identity has never been found, the mystery continues to this day.
The letter was estimated at £600 - 900 and finally sold for a massive £27,280.
Taken from the Grand Auctions website with thanks and with some amendments.