Featured will be the prized personal handguns of both Bonnie and Clyde. “These amazing and historic weapons – found on their person the morning of their deaths and gifted to Captain Hamer, along with other items from that ill-fated day, by authorities at the time as part of his compensation package for the ambush,” said Bobby Livingston, vice president at RR Auction.
Seventy-eight years ago, the bloody crime spree of outlaws and lovers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker came to a violent end on a desolate, dirt road in Louisiana. Their ambush at the hands of a six-man posse lead by legendary Texas Ranger Capt. Frank A. Hamer in 1934 ushered in the beginning of the end for the public enemy-era of the 1930s. In the short months that followed, criminals of note such as John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Baby Face Nelson quickly faced a similar fate.
Many of these lots originate from the estate collection of the late author and collector Robert E. Davis of Waco, Texas. The auction also includes a number of significant lots from the estate of Clyde’s sister, Marie Barrow.
“Not since the Marie Barrow auction in 1997 has there been a collection of such significance to hit the market, with major lots available for sale directly related to Bonnie & Clyde,” said Jonathan Davis, noted authority on Bonnie and Clyde and author of Bonnie & Clyde & Marie: A Sister’s Perspective on the Notorious Barrow Gang (Stephen F. Austin Press, 2012). “The Robert Davis collection is highly regarded and historic, including their impeccable provenance coming from the Frank Hamer collection.”
Among the more than 130 stunning and unique pieces in this auction are the following personal items:
- Bonnie Parker’s personal Colt .38 snub-nose detective special revolver, which was found post-mortem taped to her inside thigh with white medical tape. The ambush happened so fast that she did not have a chance to retrieve it from its intimate hiding place.
- Clyde’s personal Colt .45, recovered post-mortem from his waistband. This pistol is believed to have been among the weapons famously stolen by the gang from the federal arsenal in Beaumont, Texas. Also included with this lot is an extra clip, found in Clyde’s pocket.
- Clyde Barrow’s 10-karat gold-filled 1925 Elgin pocket watch found on his body the morning of his death. The watch was claimed by Henry Barrow, Clyde’s father, and was among his personal effects returned to the family, along with his body for burial. It is from the Marie Barrow collection.
- Bonnie’s light brown leatherette cosmetic case with a mirror inside the cover will be sold. According to the Frank Hamer letter of provenance that accompanies the lot, when recovered from the ambush car, the case at the time contained lipstick and a box of Coty face powder and a powder puff, “about the only feminine touch item in their possession.”
Complementing the physical artifacts in the sale, manuscript and autograph lots will include such unique items as the following:
- A Clyde Barrow ALS signed “bud” (his code name when on the run) and addressed to his brother L.C. Barrow, and from the Marie Barrow collection. The handwritten remarks are on the back of a candid snapshot photo of a small house on a platform surrounded by water. Barrow writes, in part: “Say how do you like our little home by the sea. We may go to no telling so we will write you later.”
- An outstanding collection of 47 handwritten and typed letters from Blanche Barrow written to her mother between the years 1933-1939, and all of them written from the Missouri State Penitentiary. These letters served as the basis for the book Blanche Barrow: The Last Victim of Bonnie and Clyde, written by Robert E. Davis.
Transformed into a romanticized Romeo and Juliet for modern audiences by the 1967 Arthur Penn classic film Bonnie & Clyde, staring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the enduring popularity and fascination for all things Bonnie and Clyde is bound to drive intense interest and spirited bidding from collectors of the period and genre, as well as those from the film, Americana, and popular culture genres as well.
“Current interest in Bonnie and Clyde is very strong, and it seems that people always seem to have an intense interest in outlaws and lovers,” added Davis. “In fact, there are currently five feature films, one TV miniseries, a couple of musicals and plays, and a number of books in various stages of production.”
For more information email Bobby.Eaton@RRAuction.com or phone 603-732-4280.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE