Perhaps the most famed – and feared – of all the Depression-era outlaws were Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Their murder sprees, bank robberies and jailbreaks captivated the nation during one of the most downtrodden times in American history.
Proving just how fabled and illustrious the dangerous duo was, Bonnie and Clyde’s guns sold at auction for $504,000 this weekend, nearly 80 years after their crimes made front page headlines across the nation. Two pistols that were found on the pair’s bodies when they were ambushed by police and shot to death each sold for about $250,000.
A .38 snub-nosed revolver found taped to Bonnie’s thigh fetched $264,000. And a Colt .45 recovered from Clyde’s waistband went for $240,000. The Texas buyer who purchased both wished to stay anonymous. The sale, hosted by RR Auctions, was expected to net up to $200,000 for each weapon — but bidders easily surpassed that amount. Also up for auction were a number of other items recovered from the shootout, including a gold pocket watch, a 1921 Morgan silver dollar and one of Bonnie’s silk stockings.
(LIST: Top 10 Bandits)
It was a simple car theft that turned the police onto the criminals, who routinely evaded stings and setups as they continued their crime spree across the southern U.S. Their crimes might have faded into American lore were it not for the unexpected addition of sex appeal. Bonnie and Clyde were both young, attractive, and presumed to be lovers, on the run from the law.
Their time on the lam from 1932 to 1934, while bloody — the duo are believed to have killed at least 13 people — provided a much-needed distraction from the financial and political crisis gripping the country.
Their final stand came on May 23, 1934 when police ambushed their car on a rural road near Sailes, La., east of Shreveport. After a nearly two-year pursuit, police officers from Texas and Louisiana staked out a road that Bonnie and Clyde were expected to travel. As the pair drove past police opened fire, riddling the car with more than 130 rounds. The posse of six policemen that fired on the duo were allowed to keep whatever they recovered from the scene of the ambush, and later sold their mementoes on to other collectors. But while some feared that the auction would split the two weapons up into separate lots, their anonymous Texas buyer has ensured the guns will continue to ride together — just as Bonnie and Clyde would have wanted.
LIST: Top 10 Crime Duos