an impressive, exceptional, or first-rate person or thing; something or someone who is exceptionally remarkable in appearance, quality, strength, etc. ...1828 US colloq.
from rip (vb. to tear, pull, or cut away from something else forcefully or vigorously) + stave (vb. to break up (a cask) into staves; to break into and let out the contents_ + -er
FIRST DOCUMENTED USE
1828 - see EXAMPLE below
"...She beheld him striding down the street, lustily exclaiming to himself, ‘She’s a ripstaver, so help me Davy Rachel!’..."
From: The Bower of Taste
A Boston magazine edited by Mrs. Katharine A. Ware