Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2012 Issue

If you are dying to buy these guns something inside you is already dead

Jh

Justifiable homicide

On September 30th in Amherst, New Hampshire, two of America’s 270 million guns will be sold.  They aren’t just any guns, however.  They are antiques, and they are known to be at least 78 years old.  There is in fact no shortage of new guns, so these now out-of-date pieces are not expected to be used to guard against home invasions or to be carried by protesters exercising second amendment rights.  Neither will they be mounted on a gun rack in a pickup truck.

Nah, these guns are special.  These are the ones to bring out after dinner, to scare the bejesus out of guests whose first and only question will be, “are they loaded? “ They have been loaded, and aimed before, and were probably used to threaten and possibly kill people.  This apparently makes them collectible.  Where I grew up in rural New York, I never saw a World War Two pistol or rifle described as, “I killed plenty of men with this gun,” but these weapons coming up for auction are being treated differently.  On the subject of killing, most people are generally shy, even contrite.  It becomes different, though, when someone else does the killing.  Then, for a few, it seems okay to want to own a murderer’s weapon to feel vicariously the contrition-less willing-to-kill attitude two murderers employed decades ago.  The buyer can then pull the trigger and say with a smile, “They were reaching for them when they were killed.”  We shouldn’t care.

The criminals who owned them were nobodies.  They took the same shortcuts people cheating on taxes do.  They just took bigger ones.  They wanted money but not to work for it, and when people resisted, shot them.  They did this often, committing robbery dozens of times, shooting and hitting human targets with the regularity of a marksman picking off tin targets at the county fair.  The only difference was, these people were lovers, and later famous. That, to some, makes their guns valuable, making them association copies of the most serious kind.

In their depraved incompetence, they did have some luck.  In the 1930s, when on their “spree,” American newspapers romanticized the exploits of such killers.  Toward the end, they may have felt the need to live up to their reputations, to kill a few more now forgotten victims to cement their legacy.  Their relevant numbers are 706 and 12.  From their first confirmed killing, until their last 706 days passed.  In that time, they killed 12 men, one every 59 days, and along the way their guns and possessions became collectible.
  

As luck would have it, their story became a movie in 1967 that secured the long and illustrious careers of Warren Beattie, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, and Gene Wilder.  The names of these actors have since resonated with each re-showing of the film, and so have the names Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Soon we'll again celebrate their violence by bidding on the guns they carried on the day they were killed.

The innocents they executed have mostly disappeared, becoming footnotes to their mayhem.  The guns, they live on of course, soon to adorn someone's empty life.

Here are their victims.

John N. Bucher of Hillsboro, Texas:  died April 30, 1932

Eugene Moore of Atoka, Oklahoma:  died August 5, 1932

Howard Hall of Sherman, Texas:  died October 11, 1932

Doyle Johnson of Temple, Texas:  died December 26, 1932

Malcolm Davis of Dallas, Texas:  died January 6, 1933

Harry McGinnis of Joplin, Missouri:  died April 13, 1933

Wes Harryman of Joplin, Missouri:  died April 13, 1933

Henry D. Humphrey of Alma, Arkansas:  died June 26, 1933

Major Crowson of Huntsville, Texas:  died January 16, 1934

E. B. Wheeler of Grapevine, Texas:  died April 1, 1934

H. D. Murphy of Grapevine, Texas:  died April 1, 1934

Cal Campbell of Commerce, Oklahoma:  died April 6, 1934

People of course have the right to collect the wrong things but the money at least should go to the right people, in this case the heirs of the victims.  And the buyers?  They should be ashamed of themselves.

Here is a link to an article in USA Today that calls the killing of Bonnie and Clyde an ambush and that too is pathetic.  Murder is not like red wine although some fools may think it is.  It does not improve with age.  Gunning down murderers is not an ambush, it’s a service.


http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-07-13/bonnie-and-clyde-guns-auctioned/56185802/1

The auction:  RR Auction


Posted On: 2012-09-01 00:00
User Name: bobferlapapples

"They wanted money but not to work for it," These are very collectable firearms because they are a rare specimen of liberal weapons.</di


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions