If you happen to be in Kansas City, Missouri, Saturday, January 21st this month, you might want to pop into Mayo auction house, ’cause they’re putting up a pair of beauties. Of course, they’re special, too: this 12-gaugue shotgun and .45 Tommy Gun were once the property of none other than Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
No one can say they didn’t have good taste. We all know that the Tommy Gun was, and in some way still is, one of the most impressive submachine guns ever made. Be it drum-fed like this one, or stick-fed like so many others, the Thompson’s fame more than eclipses just its use by spree killers and gangsters.
The same goes for the Winchester Model 1897, aka, the Trench Gun. Both were used successfully by American soldiers, the Thompson in WWII, the Trench Gun in WWI. It was so successful that Germany protested its use during the war because it was too damn effective said to cause “unnecessary suffering”.
Actually, U.S. troops, mostly already familiar with the shotgun and the many tasks it was suited for, not only used the Model 1897 Trench to fight, soldiers who showed particular skill with the guns were assigned to trap and skeet duty; instead of clay pigeons, though, their job was to shoot grenades out of the air, and keep ’em out of the trenches. But that’s another story.
In April of 1933, the Joplin, Missouri police raided Bonnie and Clyde’s property and taken a small cache of weapons ammo, and other stuff into custody. Part of that cache was one Thompson submachine gun and one Winchester Model 1897. These are those guns.
Look at the happy couple. Shame they don’t have that Browning, too.
The Joplin police also found a camera, and had its film developed.
One of the police officers gave these two guns to another officer by the name of Mark Lairmor, who passed them down to his son, Melton, who put them on display at the Springfield Police Museum, where they lived in relative obscurity until Melton passed away and his son, also Mark Lairmor, asked for them to be auctioned off.
“‘People can’t get enough of Bonnie and Clyde,’ said Robert Mayo, a Kansas City auctioneer handling the sale for the descendants of former Tulsa detective Mark Lairmore.’We’re fascinated by people who do bad things.'”
“Mark Lairmore said the family wants to turn the weapons over to ‘someone with an appreciation of antique guns and the history behind these guns.'”
Opening prices haven’t been set, and the provenance is considered to be a little on the shaky side, but we don’t think that will prevent this particular pair of firearms from fetching an impressive sum. What do you think they’ll wind up bringing in? And would you be remiss about owning a gun or guns used by some of the most famous criminals in the world?
If you’re interested, you can see the auction details here.