July 16, 2012 --
An auction of more than 100 of the personal effects once belonging to Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow offers a look into the most notorious criminal couple in American history. Killed in an ambush some 78 years ago, the manhunt for the duo has since become a legend, immortalized in a 1976 movie starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Hosted by RR Auction based in Amherst, N.H., the live event takes place Sunday, Sept. 30. Take a look at some of the items going up on the block.
Despite the duo's violent reputation, Parker likely never killed anyone. But that doesn't mean she wasn't armed. This Colt Detective Special .38 revolver was found in Parker's possession the day she was killed in Louisiana on May 23, 1934. Parker had the revolver taped to the inside of her thigh because "no gentlemen officer would search a woman where she had it taped," according to a letter written by the son of a legendary Texas Ranger Captain Frank A. Hamer, who was on the scene that day.
Unlike Parker, Barrow was a killer, believed to have committed 13 murders, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, on top of all the robberies he and his gang were responsible for. Although Barrow had many guns, this Colt Model 1911 found in his waistband at the time of his death. Both Barrow's Colt 1911 and Parker's .38 revolver are expected to fetch between $100,000 and $200,000, RR Auction vice president Bobby Livingston told CNN.
Even when on the lam on charges of murder and burglary, Parker must have wanted to look her best. This cosmetics case was found by Texas Rangers containing lipstick, face powder and a powder puff. As described in a letter about the duo: "It was about the only feminine touch item in their possession."
Being a well prepared criminal, Barrow was armed with more than just one gun. This Colt Army Special .38 Caliber revolver resembles the gun found hidden on Parker at the time of her death, but was in fact one of the nine Colts in total found at the time of Barrow's death. Despite all the guns Barrow had on his person at the time of his death, he never managed to get off a shot on the day of the ambush that killed him. He was killed instantly by a head shot as the Texas Rangers began to open fire. In total, the Rangers fired some 130 rounds at Bonnie and Clyde.
Recovered from the scene of his demise, Clyde Barrow's 10-karat gold 1925 Elgin pocket watch was one of the few items not retained by the Texas Rangers. Instead, along with the return of Barrow's body for burial, the pocket watch was returned to his father, Henry Barrow, who retained the watch in memory of his son until the elder Barrow died in 1954.
Of all the members of the Clyde Barrow gang, Blanche Barrow, Clyde's sister-in-law, lived the second longest, only behind Ralph Fults. Like Fults, Blanche wasn't around the day Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed. Instead, they were serving time in prison for their association with the criminal couple. During the years that Blanche spent in the Missouri State Penitentiary, she corresponded often with relatives and friends outside of prison, particularly her mother. A collection of 47 letters in total details her life on the run the more than 100 days she spent with Bonnie and Clyde, which ended in the deaths of four men. The letter paints a picture of Blanche and her husband, Clyde's brother, as reluctant accomplices who were pulled in over their heads. Clyde's brother, Buck, died in a shootout with police. Blanche was injured in that same melee, losing the use of one of her eyes.
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