Cultural Artifacts on the Auction Block
SERIOUS GUN COLLECTORS (AND FANS) ARE streaming into Kansas City today so that they can attend the Mayo Auction & Realty Co.'s major firearm auction on Saturday. More than 100 firearms on consignment will be sold beginning at 10 am.
The star offerings in this show are two guns owned by the infamous Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow, the Depression-Era criminals who traveled the mid-west holding up banks and killing nine police officers along with dozens of innocent civilians.
The weapons coming on the block are a Thompson sub-machine gun treasured and used by Bonnie Parker that was the only "Tommy" gun that the gang ever owned. The other is a 12-gauge Winchester shotgun model 1897.
all photos via Mayo Auctions
The guns were left behind in a Joplin, Missouri, hotel room when police raided the gang. They escaped by a hair, but left behind a weapons cache and a camera. One of the raiding officers took the Tommy gun and the 12-gauge along with the camera for souvenirs. When the film in the camera was developed, the photos were of the couple in various "crime guy and moll" poses that have since become iconic.
According to Mayo Auctions, the sellers' great-grandfather, M. L. Lairmore who was in law enforcement at the time, was given the two guns by another peace officer who had seized the weapons after a raid on the pair in Joplin, Missouri in April of 1933.
The guns have been in the family of Mark Lairmore and his sisters, the sellers, from Springfield, MO., ever since the unknown Depression-era police officer gave them to their great-grandfather. For the past 35 years they have been on loan to the Springfield, Missouri, Police Department's museum where they have been on display. The family has now decided to sell the weapons and consigned them to this auction to be held on January 21.
Mayo's WEBSITE HERE has a series of close-up photos of the weapons for inspection purposes and more information about them. They will also be accepting bids via internet if you want to get the shift to pitch in and try for one.
Update: Results of the auction sale have been posted HERE.
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