WEIRD NEWS
05/26/2011 07:39 am ET | Updated Nov 16, 2011

Decapitated Head Of St. Vitalis, Patron Saint Of Genital Disease, To Be Sold At Auction

The term "VD" is slang for venereal disease, but, in this case, it can also stand for "Vitalis' Dome," as in St. Vitalis, the patron saint for genital diseases.

Soon, some lucky collector of rare artifacts may know the joy that only comes when you have the decapitated skull of a Catholic saint in your possession.

On May 29, the noggin of St. Vitalis of Assisi will be sold at auction in Duleek, Ireland. The macabre memento has a pre-auction value between $1,100 and $1,700.

The family selling the saintly skull are an Anglo-Irish family based in County Louth, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

It's a heady honor for Vitalis, who lead an early life marked by licentiousness and immorality. However, in an attempt to atone he went on pilgrimages to various sanctuaries and became a Benedictine monk and a hermit in Italy before dying in 1370.

After his death, this particular Vitalis (there are many with the same name), got a reputation as a patron against sicknesses and diseases affecting the genitals.

But auctioneer Damien Matthews says it is unclear how his noggin came to Ireland.

He says the current owners believed it was brought here by an Anglo-Irish couple who had acquired it on the 'grand tour' of Europe which was a ritual for ascendancy types during the 19th century.

For many years, Vitalis' head was displayed at the entrance hall of the current owner's home, only to be relocated to an outhouse when children visited, according to IrishCentral.com.

"That's where I came across it. It is strange and it is macabre but it is very interesting object," Matthews said.

However, the number of skull collectors is relatively small, which is why St. Vitalis' hacked-off head has a pre-sale value one tenth of another auction item: A 1970 TVR6 sports car, which could sell for as much as much as $25,000 U.S.

To be fair, the sports car has much lower mileage.

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