DALLAS – On Monday, December 12, Heritage Auctions will present some of the iconic implements of our history in its Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature® Auction. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
We’ll move backward through our chronology to land in Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow’s stolen, notoriously Swiss-cheesed 1934 Ford V8, where a Remington Model 11 semi-automatic shotgun was found following the crime-spree couple’s downfall at the hands of a posse of Texas Rangers. (More on that in a moment.) Included with the shotgun, which is estimated at $40,000-$60,000, is a framed photocopy of the U.S. Department of Justice “Wanted” card for Bonnie and Clyde, detailing descriptions, aliases, relatives and criminal records as issued by Director J. Edgar Hoover.
Like many real-life outlaws of American history, Bonnie & Clyde serve as a kind of Rorschach test for history (and psychology) buffs’ keen interest in how we define transgression and romanticize audacity. At some point, the lore around real-life villains morphs to make them into modern-day anti-heroes, and they reside in our consciousness as fully as the good guys who brought them down.
Moving back a generation, we take a waltz through the storied American West with another lawman: Sheriff Pat Garrett. The man who killed Billy the Kid is represented by his engraved Smith & Wesson .38 hammerless revolver, estimated at $16,000-$24,000. Also included in the sale are the gun’s holster and two notarized letters, one from his son Jarvis P. Garrett and the other from Emory Cantey, who sold the gun to Nelson A. Faerber.
In an earlier letter, Garrett’s son writes: “I hereby certify that a certain Smith and Wesson pistol now owned by Emory Cantey of Fort Worth, Texas was the personal property of my Father Patrick Floyd Garrett. The gun has … my Father’s initials, P.F.G. engraved on the triggerguard. My Father carried this gun in a hip pocket holster before, during and after he was appointed Collector of Customs at El Paso by President Teddy Roosevelt on December 20, 1901.”
Lawmen are key, but just as there’s no light without darkness, there’s no old Wild West without its outlaws. Belle Starr is associated with the notorious James-Younger gang (of Jesse James fame). The convicted horse thief Starr carried the Winchester Model 1886 saddle ring carbine (a true cowboy lever-action) featured in this event. Its estimate is $16,000-$24,000. The right side of the buttstock is marked with “BELLE STARR” copper cutouts and the left side is marked with the copper shapes of a bell and a star. This lot comes with two auction tags from previous sales describing the gun’s history and extensive research material.
An extraordinary piece of militaria in this auction dates back to the Revolutionary War. A 3-LB cannon attributed to the Siege of Yorktown has a 43in black-painted barrel with a 2 3/8in bore, and is mounted on its old Naval carriage with a 25in wheel base. This one is in good condition, and carries an estimate of $16,000-$24,000.
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