Coffin collar

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From Kingskettle, Fife

Postcard of Coffin collar.
© National Museums Scotland

Coffin collar

A coffin collar was used to prevent grave robbers from stealing corpses. It was fixed round the neck of a corpse and bolted to the bottom of a coffin. This picture shows the front of a collar from Kingskettle in Fife. The collar dates from around 1820.

The iron collar is fixed to a piece of wood.

There was a widespread fear of grave robbers in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The demand for corpses was created by advances in the study of anatomy. Corpses were stolen and sold for dissection.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-001-740-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.NT 105
Date: Around 1820
Material: Iron
Dimensions: 240 mm H x 450 mm L x 105 mm W
What: Collar, corpse
Subject: Miscellaneous (NMAS Classification)
Where: Scotland, Fife, Kingskettle
Description: Iron collar which was bolted through the bottom of a coffin round the neck of a corpse, to prevent it being removed by resurrectionists, from Kingskettle, Fife
  • Edinburgh and Medicine / R.G.W. Anderson and A.D.C. Simpson - Edinburgh, 1976, No. 237 
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