Bonnie and Clyde guns go to auction

Last updated 12:48 01/10/2012

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Two guns once in the possession of notorious gangsters Bonnie and Clyde when they were killed in a hail of gunfire have sold at a New Hampshire auction for more than half a million dollars.

The guns were two of 134 artefacts that sold for a total of US$1.1 million (NZ$1.3m) at the auction in Nashua. About two-thirds of the auctioned items were from Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, but items also came from other notorious criminals, including Al Capone, Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger.

Bonnie Parker's .38-calibre Detective Special that she had taped to her thigh when she was killed in 1934 drew the highest bid and sold for US$264,000, said Bobby Livingston, vice president of RR Auction in Amherst, New Hampshire, which held the auction.

Clyde Barrow's 1911 Colt .45-calibre automatic sold for US$240,000 to the same bidder, who didn't want to be named, Livingston said.

"When rare items like that come up for sale you expect this kind of enthusiasm," Livingston said. "There was some serious bidding going on."

Many of the auction items came from the estate of the late collector Robert Davis of Waco, Texas, with the remainder coming from various other collections.

Most of the items came from famous gangsters and outlaws, but some were linked to law enforcement officials including Elliot Ness, who led team of federal agents known as The Untouchables which went after Capone's gang, and Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, who led a posse that tracked down and killed Bonnie and Clyde in an ambush in Louisiana.

Clyde Barrow's pocket watch sold for US$36,000, Livingston said. A 1921 Morgan silver dollar that was found in his pocket after he was killed sold for US$32,000.

In Southern California, a .45-caliber gun once owned by the outlaw Butch Cassidy was sold at auction for US$175,000.

A spokesman for the private seller said on Sunday (local time) the Colt Single Action Army revolver went to an anonymous online bidder.

The gun is accompanied by a black leather shoulder holster and two binders filled with documentation verifying the revolver's authenticity.

Cassidy, the infamous Old West bank robber, bought the revolver in a hardware store in Vernal, Utah, in 1896. He turned it over to Utah authorities in early 1900 in an unsuccessful attempt to gain amnesty. Known as the "Amnesty Colt", it is the most documented of Cassidy's guns.

The outlaw was immortalised in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He was played by Paul Newman.

Sunday's sale was held by California Auctioneers of Ventura.

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- AP

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