Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2012 Issue

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

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  There is in fact no shortage of new guns, so these now out-of-date pieces are not expected to be used to guard against home invasions or to be carried by protesters exercising second amendment rights.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.


Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Gonnelli:
    Auction 50
    Books, Autographs & Manuscripts
    March 6th-7th 2024
    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
    Gonnelli: Futurism
    Gonnelli: Avienus, Opera. 1488. Starting price 1200€
    Gonnelli: Vimont, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l'année 1642. Starting price 5000€
    Gonnelli: Goedart, Metamorphosis et historia naturalis insectorum. 1662.
    Gonnelli: Il Petrarcha con la spositione di M. Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo.
    Gonnelli: Poblacion, De usu astrolabi compendium.
  • Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: KUPKA, Frantisek (1871-1957) - Quatre histoires de blanc et noir. Paris: Marcel Baque, 1926. €5.000-€8.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: VASI, Giuseppe Agostino (1710-1782) - Raccolta delle più belle vedute antiche, e moderne di Roma disegnate ed incise secondo lo stato presente. Rome: A. Vasi, 1786. €4.000-€6.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: SALAMANCA, Antonio (1478-1562) - [First map depicting the bay of Naples]. [Rome: 1538]. €3.000-€5.000
  • Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JAMES MADISON THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JAMES MONROE PRESIDENTIAL SERVICE SOUP BOWL. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A FRANKLIN PIERCE BRUSHED SILK TOP HAT. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: LINCOLN ENDORSEMENT: "I AM ALWAYS FOR THE MAN WHO WISHES TO WORK." $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A RUTHERFORD B. HAYES CIVIL WAR-ERA TRAVEL DESK. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT'S FINAL PRESIDENTIAL AUTOMOBILE FLAG. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: GARFIELD LS AS PRESIDENT ALLUDING TO THE "STAR-ROUTE" SCANDAL: "REGRETTING THE EMBARRASSMENTS WHICH THE EVENT HAS CAUSED US BOTH." $25,000 - $35,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: AN 18K GOLD AND ENAMEL WILLIAM MCKINLEY INAGURATION POCKETWATCH. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADE FLAG. $80,000 - $120,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: PRESIDENT KENNEDY'S LAST DAY: OFFICIAL SCHEDULE ANNOTATED BY SPECIAL ASSISTANT DAVE POWERS WITH A MINUTE-BY-MINUTE DETAIL OF THE DAY'S ACTIONS. $40,000 - $60,000

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions