The gun taken out of Clyde Barrow’s car by former sheriff Rufus Pevehouse back in the 1930s sold at auction this past weekend for $44,400. The buyer asked to remain anonymous.
The sale of that particular firearm was overshadowed by two other weapons, however. Bonnie Parker’s .38 special that was found taped to her inner thigh after she was shot to death sold for $264,000; and Barrow’s .45 pistol, found on his dead body, sold for $240,000. Both of those sold to an anonymous collector in Texas.
The “Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen” sale by RR Auction in Nashua, New Hampshire, sold off 134 items, including photos, personal effects, and obviously guns, for just over $1.1 million.
The gun with a local connection was Lot No. 22 in the auction, and was found in a car abandoned by Barrow on his uncle Frank’s farm near Eureka by the Navarro County Sheriff. Pevehouse said he found it in the glovebox while driving the impounded car to Frost to respond to the deadly May 6, 1930, Frost tornado.
In the late 1960s, Pevehouse sold the gun to Gaines DeGraffenried, one of the founders of the Ranger Museum near Waco. Rufus displayed it in the museum for years, but it was culled along with some other items when the museum decided to clean house of anything not strictly Ranger-related.
DeGraffenried had passed away by then, so his family sold the gun along with some other things at an auction at Sotheby’s in New York, according to Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of RR Auction of Nashua, N.H., which is doing the American Gangster auction later this month. Robert Davis bought the gun back then, and it was displayed in the Red Men Museum and Library in Waco for about 10 years.
Getting $44,400 for the gun was a “great result,” Livingston said Tuesday.
“For us as an auction house and historians finding this connection to this pistol and the Frost tornado and Rufus Pevehouse, it’s a great story,” Livingston said.
The other two guns, both of which were recovered from the bodies of Bonnie and Clyde, were from the estate of Texas Ranger Captain Frank Hamer, who led the posse that ambushed the pair, killing them on May 23, 1934. Hamer gave the gun to a fellow Texas Ranger Buster Davis along with a note that said “Aug/1934 Davis hold onto this. Bonnie was ‘squatting’ on it. Frank.” The framed note accompanied the gun in the auction.
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