Guillotine auction causing a sharp division in Paris

The planned auction Wednesday of a 150-year-old “instrument of torture” is causing a rift in Paris.

A 10-foot tall working guillotine that an auction house insists never beheaded anyone -- despite having "a few dents on the blade" -- is up for sale, according to the AFP.

But the sale of the executioner’s device, which reportedly was built as a replica, isn’t attracting only interested customers.

"They should not be selling this guillotine," a spokesman for a French auction watchdog told the AFP. "Objects like the clothes of people who were deported to the [Nazi death] camps and instruments of torture are sensitive."

France abolished the death penalty in 1981 and the last person to have been killed by guillotine there was executed in Marseille in 1977, the news agency says. It added that more than 16,000 people were beheaded between 1793 and 1794, following the French revolution.

The guillotine up for sale on Wednesday is part of a bankruptcy lot and is expected to fetch at least $6,000. Seven years ago, a guillotine in the same auction house reportedly sold for $234,000.