By repute the present masks formed part of the collection of torture and instruments of punishment from Nuremberg Castle. Famed for its 'Iron Maiden', the entire collection was purchased by the Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot in 1890. Under his ownership the collection toured the British Isles between 1890 and 1893 before being shipped to the United States and exhibited in the Anthropological Building of the Columbian Worlds Exposition held in Chicago between 1893 and 1894. It was subsequently exhibited in New York at the Coster & Bials Music Hall at 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue in 1894 before going into storage. The collection was purchased by the American antique arms dealer Robert Abels in 1965 from whom Seward Kennedy acquired the masks. For further reading please see Robert Abels, The Royal Castle of Nuremberg Collection Torture and Instruments of Punishment, The American Society of Arms Collectors, Bulletin No. 13 (Spring 1966), pp. 22-28.