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  There is in fact no shortage of new guns, so these now out-of-date pieces are not expected to be used to guard against home invasions or to be carried by protesters exercising second amendment rights.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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

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