Nearly 80 years after the American outlaws Bonnie and Clyde’s deaths, the guns they had with them when they were killed will be up for auction in September in New Hampshire.
Two guns, a Colt .38-caliber revolver and a Colt .45-caliber pistol, could sell for between $100,000 and $200,000 each, according to Bobby Livingston, vice president of RR Auction in Amherst, New Hampshire.
“This is one of the finest Bonnie and Clyde collections you will ever see,” he told CNN. “We expect the guns should sell anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000. But really the sky is the limit for these types of guns.”
“They were pretty famous in their moment and I think that’s lasted through time.”
Other items connected to Bonnie and Clyde will also be up for auction, including a gold pocket watch Clyde was wearing when he died, and a cosmetics case used by Bonnie to carry lipstick, Coty face powder and a powder puff. These items were inside the Ford automobile in which the lovers outlaws were gunned down in an ambush in 1934.
A letter written by Clyde to his brother L.C. Barrow will also be in the auction. Clyde wrote it on the back of a photo showing a house on a platform surrounded by water, and signed it”bud”, his code name when he was on the run.
Prompting speculation is the fact that earlier this year two other guns found in one of the couple’s hideout in 1933 sold for $210,000. Auction officials think that weapons retrieved from Bonnie and Clyde’s bodies could generate much higher sums.
“It doesn’t get any closer for collectors of history,” said Mr Livingston.
The guns found on the lovers’ bodies were given to Texas Ranger Frank Hamer as part of his compensation for the operation, said auction officials. Mr Hamer had led the posse of six lawmen who carried out the ambush.
The other items are coming from Robert E.Davis, a collector from Texas who acquired items previously owned by Mr Hamer, as well as items coming from the estate of Clyde’s sister, Marie Barrow.
According to FBI files Bonnie Parker and Clyde Champion Barrow met in Texas in 1930.
Following the Great Depression of 1929, Bonnie and Clyde became infamous while travelling across America’s Midwest and South. They led the Barrow Gang of bank robbers and enjoyed some popular acclaim at a time when financial institutions were widely reviled. They charmed the tabloid press by leaving daring photos behind at crime scenes.
They were believed to have killed at least 11 police officers and their popularity faded as civilian casualties of their shooting sprees mounted.
“In the depths of the Great Depression, when so many people were suffering at the hands of banks and corporations, Bonnie and Clyde were seen as acting out against those big banks,” Mr Livingston said.
“Which was a myth that was later totally and completely disproved,” he added.
“After they killed two fresh young Texas patrolmen who came upon them in 1934 – they just massacred them – that’s when the press turned against them and they were tracked down in Louisiana and killed.”
Bonnie, 23, and Clyde, 25, were gunned down in Louisiana on the morning of May 23, 1934.