If you’re going to stage a coup d’etat, you need to make a bold statement to the populace that you’re not playing around, and what says “DO NOT TRIFLE WITH THE NEW ORDER” like public executions? Trouble is, modern methods like lethal injection are too painless and clinical to satisfy the bloodlust of a proper mob, so how’s a budding dictator to quash dissent?
Auctioneer Francois-Xavier Duflos of Nantes, France may have your execution solution. Via The Local:
A working French guillotine is expected to fetch up to €60,000 [about $83,500 USD] when it goes under the hammer on Thursday in the western French city of Nantes.
The wood, iron, steel and brass relic, synonymous with the French Revolution, was used to execute people in the second half of the 19th century.
The blade of the guillotine bears the inscription ‘Armees de la Republique,” a reference to the Revolutionary Army that was created to defend France from its neighbors in the aftermath of the 1789 French Revolution.
“It was used by the army, it was assembled and disassembled,” Duflos told Europe 1. “It has certainly known several battlefields.”
“It was used by the army” surely means that people met their doom on this very machine, right? How could it be otherwise? Though the devices are most closely associated in the world’s consciousness with Maximilien de Robespierre’s excesses in the French Revolution, France used guillotines as their primary method of execution until 1977.
Bidding begins on Thursday. Good luck.
This 2004 interview with France’s last living guillotine executioner is mercifully bereft of any actual beheading footage. Its subject only speaks French, but if you turn the captions on, they’re not only in English, they’re sometimes wrong in amusing ways.