LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Two pistols found on the bodies of famed Depression-era outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow after they were killed by a posse in 1934 have sold at auction on Sunday for $504,000.
A snub-nosed .38 special found taped to the inside of Parker’s thigh with white medical tape fetched $264,000 at an auction in Nashua, New Hampshire. A Colt .45 recovered from the waistband of Barrow’s pants was purchased for $240,000.
The guns owned by Parker, who died at age 23, and Barrow, who was 25, were purchased by a Texas collector who wished to remain anonymous.
“They’re still iconic and their love story kind of resonates,” said Bobby Livingston, vice president of RR Auction, the company that conducted the sale. “We have a romanticized vision of Bonnie and Clyde.”
The hunt for the outlaw lovers captured the nation’s imagination during the depths of the Great Depression. The duo were believed to have committed 13 murders and numerous bank robberies, kidnappings and car thefts during a cross-country crime spree from 1932 to 1934. Their fame was heightened by their practice of leaving glamorous photos of themselves at crime scenes, including one of Parker smoking a cigar.
A popular 1967 movie, “Bonnie and Clyde,” a somewhat romanticized account of the couple’s career starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, was critically acclaimed for its frank presentation of sex and violence.
Among other crimes, the two are thought to have killed police officers in Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma. They were also suspected of staging a prison break in Waldo, Texas, that left two prison guards dead in 1934.
A posse of Texas Rangers and Louisiana police killed the two in an early morning ambush in northern Louisiana in May of that year.
The guns auctioned off came from the estate of memorabilia collector Robert Davis, who had purchased them in 1986 for about $50,000 each, Livingston said.
A gold pocket watch found on Barrow’s body sold for $36,000. Other items included a 1921 Morgan silver dollar taken from Barrow’s jacket fetched $32,400, and one of Parker’s silk stockings, taken from the couple’s car after their death, which went for $11,400.
Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Philip Barbara