October 1st, 2012

Famous Outlaw Guns Sell for Big Buck$

Bonnie Clyde gun pistol

Americans love their outlaws, and, apparently, collectors love outlaw guns even more. Handguns belonging to Bonnie & Clyde (the “first couple of crime”) and western legend Butch Cassidy recently sold at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The .38 Special Colt Detective Special recovered from Bonnie Parker’s bullet-ridden body fetched $264,000 at the RR Auction in New Hampshire this weekend. A Colt model 1911 .45 ACP handgun belonging to Clyde Barrow sold for $240,000. The auction house said this infamous 1911 was recovered from Barrow’s body by Frame Hamer, the lawman who organized the ambush that ended Bonnie and Clyde’s crime spree. The 1911 was found by Hamer tucked in Clyde’s waistband, while Bonnie’s snub-nosed Colt was taped to her thigh. According to RR Auction, “In those days, no gentleman officer would search a woman where [Bonnie] had it taped and there were very few women police officers.”

Watch Video Telling History of Bonnie and Clyde Guns

The winning bids for both guns significantly exceeded predictions, proving that, even in a down economy, collectors are willing to pay large sums for historically significant firearms. The guns were sold from estate of Robert Davis, who had acquired both Colts for roughly $100,000 in 1986. An un-named Texas collector was the winning bidder for both handguns. Read Related NBCNews story

Butch Cassidy’s ‘Amnesty Colt’ Sells for $175,000
In another auction this weekend, Butch Cassidy’s famous “Amnesty Colt” Revolver sold to a foreign museum for $175,000. The handgun was offered as part of a collection of Western guns and memorabilia auctioned in Casitas Springs, California. Accompanying the gun was a black holster and extensive documentation showing the revolver’s authenticity. Read Related Ventura Star story.

Butch Cassidy Colt

The “Amnesty Colt” has a fascinating history. This Colt Single Action revolver was surrendered by Butch Cassidy to Sheriff Parley Christison in 1899. Cassidy, whose real name was George LeRoy Parker, sought amnesty for the string of hold-ups and train robberies he committed with his gang. According to auctioneer John Eubanks: “The sheriff was a friend of a friend of Cassidy’s. Cassidy turned in his [Colt Revolver] and his Winchester rifle and the sheriff arranged a meeting with the governor [of Utah]. The governor said, ‘Look, we can give you amnesty, as long as you haven’t murdered anyone. And Butch replied, ‘I’ve never murdered a man.'” As it turns out, Cassidy never received amnesty, because his exploits were simply too notorious.

The provenance for the “Amnesty Colt” is exceptionally solid (unlike many other famous guns from the Wild West). The revolver has been authenticated by many experts, and the gun itself, along with Cassidy’s Winchester Rifle, were logged in surviving official archives from Juah County, Utah. Sadly, however, the Winchester was lost years ago.

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