The severed head of the patron saint of genital diseases is off to Los Angeles – after it was sold at a County Meath antiques auction.
An unnamed Californian phone bidder successfully won the head of St Vitalis of Assisi for $5,000.
The bizarre item sold in Duleek is reportedly the head of 14th-century Italian saint who became a hermit in later life after years of promiscuity as a youngster.
Following his death in 1370, the Benedictine monk became known as the patron saint of those suffering from genital disease.
The skull of the saint, enshrined in an antique glass case, had been on display in the hallway of a period mansion in County Louth for many years.
It was only put away when young children visited the house according to auctioneer Brendan Matthews.
Bidding for the skull opened at $3,500 before it was sold for $5,000 in less than a minute to the anonymous phone bidder.
“We received phone calls from all over the world about this -- from all sorts of crackpots and oddballs. We received about 100 different bids in advance,” said auctioneer Matthews.
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