Gangster auction: Bonnie and Clyde guns fetch $504,000

Bonnie and Clyde guns auctioned for $504,000
A Colt Army Special .38-caliber revolver is one of several guns used by Clyde Barrow during his lifetime.
(AFP Photo / Getty Images / RR Auction)

Two guns found on the bullet-riddled bodies of star-crossed outlaw lovers Bonnie and Clyde in 1934 were auctioned off this weekend for more than half a million dollars.

The weapons are staying together, bought by the same, unnamed Texas collector.

The Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen affair, put on by RR Auction at a Nashua Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Hampshire, pulled in more than $1.1 million for 134 artifacts.

Among the items: a handwritten note from Old West gunman Wyatt Earp, a deposition from Prohibition-era gangster Al Capone, a letter from Mafia boss Lucky Luciano and a stock certificate for mobster Bugsy Siegel.


But the stars of the show were the guns.

Bonnie Parker’s .38-caliber Detective Special, which was attached to her inner thigh with medical tape when she was gunned down by law enforcement officers, went for $264,000. It was the highest bid of the auction, according to Bobby Livingston, vice president at RR Auction.  

Clyde Barrow, who died at Parker’s side, had a 1911 Colt .45-caliber automatic tucked into his waistband. The gun sold for $240,000.

“It was a great success for us,” Livingston said. “It was just thrilling.”


The auction company has held other themed auctions, some involving items from the Titanic or space missions to the moon. Events that bring in more than $1 million tend to involve 400 or more artifacts, Livingston said.

But stories such as Bonnie and Clyde’s continue to live on in public imagination, in part through television shows such as HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” Recent reports peg starlet Miley Cyrus as a possible contender to play Bonnie Parker in a Lifetime miniseries.

“In American culture, for whatever reason, there’s a romance with rebellious outlaw types,” Livingston said. “We glorify Jesse James, Billy Kid and more because they’re seen in that spirit of individualism and Americanism and this concept of fighting the evil banks.”

“They’re seen in this mythological presentation that can often be so far from the truth,” he said.

See video from the event below:


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