updated 5/6/2009 3:18:04 PM ET 2009-05-06T19:18:04

A large variety of torture devices dating from the 16th century are being auctioned off to benefit anti-torture groups, including Amnesty International.

The gruesome collection includes so-called shame masks to enforce silence, a 14-foot rack to stretch a victim's body, a tongue tearer to punish blasphemers and heretics, and an executioner's ax.

Guernsey auction house director Arlan Ettinger says the 252 devices may be the most complete collection in existence of historical torture devices.

Ettinger says he can't estimate what the devices will bring, though one magazine for historians valued it at $3 million in the 1970s.

The collection was last on public display in 1893.

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