Published July 13, 2012
She kept a Colt .38-caliber revolver close, while he preferred a .45-caliber pistol from the same maker.
But neither weapon was enough to save American outlaws and lovers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow during a 1934 ambush by law enforcement officers.
After the duo was dead, authorities recovered the revolver Bonnie had secured to an inner thigh with white medical tape.
They also seized the handgun Clyde had tucked into his waistband.
Nearly 80 years later, those guns and other items connected to the infamous gangsters will be going up for auction in New Hampshire on Sept. 30. An auction official estimated Thursday that each Bonnie and Clyde weapon could bring between $100,000 and $200,000.
"They were pretty famous in their moment and I think that's lasted through time," said Bobby Livingston, vice president of RR Auction in Amherst, N.H.
Besides the guns, other items Livingston's company will auction include a gold pocket watch Clyde was wearing when he died, and a cosmetics case Bonnie was using to carry lipstick, Coty face powder and a powder puff. The brown leatherette box was inside the Ford automobile the gangsters were riding in when a posse of lawmen riddled it with bullets on a Louisiana road.
Also in the auction is a letter that Clyde wrote to his brother L.C. Barrow on the back of a photo showing a house on a platform surrounded by water. He signed it "bud," his code name when he was on the run.
FBI files say Bonnie and Clyde met in Texas in 1930 and were believed to have committed 13 murders and several robberies and burglaries by the time they died. Law enforcement officials were among their victims. The duo became infamous as they traveled across America's Midwest and South, holding up banks and stores with other gang members.
Texas Ranger Frank Hamer led the posse of six lawmen who carried out the ambush, and auction officials said authorities gifted him the guns from the lovers' bodies as part of his compensation for the operation.
Auction officials said all the Bonnie and Clyde items are coming from the estate of Robert E. Davis. He was a collector from Texas who acquired items Hamer had owned, along with items that came from the estate of Clyde's sister, Marie Barrow.
Jonathan Davis, whose book "Bonnie & Clyde & Marie: A Sister's Perspective on the Notorious Barrow Gang" is expected out shortly, befriended Marie Barrow in the early 1990s and is acting as an advisor for the auction.
He said Thursday that people are drawn to Bonnie and Clyde memorabilia because of the romantic aspect of their story and because there's always an interest in outlaws.
L.J. Hinton, the son of a Texas deputy sheriff who was part of the ambush, shared a similar view Thursday. Besides the outlaws' love story, he said people also have been fascinated by Bonnie and Clyde because they became Robin Hood-like characters by robbing banks during the Depression.
The 78-year-old retired law-enforcement official manages the Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, La., the town where the takedown happened. He predicted the September auction will attract a lot of interest.
"Just hang on to your hat, because it will be a bidding war," he said.