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Bonnie & Clyde Historical Artifact
Swatch from Clyde Barrows Death Pants
With Significant Provenance
* Amazing "belt loop" *
On May 23, 1934, nearly 80 years ago, the notorious partners in crime , Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrows, had met their match and hence final act with Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. After the shooting and subsequent death of Bonnie and Clyde, Clyde Barrow’s belongings were all given to his family which remained for about 60 years with his sister Marie Barrow. Until, the mid-1990s when she decided to sell the bullet riddled shirt and pants he died in.
Clyde Barrows trousers and shirt that he wore that day were kept in the Barrow family until Butterfield & Butterfield auctioned off the bullet riddled shirt on April 14th 1997 in San Francisco - it fetched $85,000 (purchased by Whiskey Pete's Casino who also owns the actual death car) and the global media coverage was extensive. The trousers were cut into 870 swatches and affixed to ornate parchment like certificates numbered and hand signed by the late Marie Barrow, Clyde's sister. She co-authored the book, "The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde," with Phillip Steele (book not included). I acquired this personally from Marie Barrow's business partner who use to sell these swatch certificates through Old West magazine ads, Autograph Collector magazine ads, and memorabilia & gun shows until she passed away in 1999. This is one of the few of these limited edition certificates left. But, more importantly this particular “belt loop”piece was only one of four. Near mint condition accompanied with a copy of the notarized certificate by Marie Barrow attesting to the authenticity of the item and the history of the artifact. Also included is a copy of a Tulsa World newspaper article interviewing Marie and making mention of her guest appearance at the Tulsa Book & Paper Fair on November 21, 1998 and stating that she would be selling the signed, limited edition swatch certificates!
Over the years I have acquired a few of the limited edition “death pants” swatches directly from Marie Barrow’s business partner. . But, recently at a “Notorious Gangsters” auction I noticed they sold a very unique Clyde swatch that included a “belt loop” that sold for a premium. I thought HOW COOL is that! To own such a specific part of the “death pants”, knowing Clyde used this to hold up his pants. Hence, I contacted Marie Barrow’s business partner to inquire about the existence of a “belt loop”. But, I also thought I would try and see what other “special” parts of Clyde’s pants may have been kept and hopefully still exist, including the pant’s zipper, pockets, etc. (imagine owning the zipper?). I also asked if he recalls the details of HOW the pants were cut up into 870 pieces. His response to me is below:
“I do have one belt loop.
Marie kept the zipper and bloody pockets. She had a strange lady from New York call her and ask for the zipper - Laughingly, she told the lady that the zipper had Bonnie Parker's fingerprints on it and she would not sell!
We cut up the trousers at Marie's house in Mesquite, Texas. Marie, Jonathan Davis, my wife and myself participated. No particular sequence in the cutting of swatches or numbering but we all tried to cut them equal size. Jonathan Davis is a well known Bonnie and Clyde Historian who assisted Jeff Guinn in the book, Go Down Together. He has a book coming out soon written from the family perspective.”
In response to my question, “Is this the only loop you have?”. Charles response:
“There were four loops originally and three sold in the 90's. This is the only one I have left.”
So, there you have it. An incredibly historic find relating to an era when people were desperate to survive and crime proliferated, thereby producing some of the most infamous lawbreakers in American history. An extraordinary artifact with an incredibly intimate connection to the most notorious of all criminal partners that continue to fascinate us today as it did 50 years ago. Only one of four in existence which means the likelihood the other three will appear on the market in the next 20 years is very slim.
Not just any “death pants” swatch:
We are offering here is a historical limited edition 1.25 x 1.25 swatch of blue wool trousers worn by Clyde Barrow at the time of his death on May 23, 1934. Swatch is affixed to an 11 x 8.5 certificate of authenticity. This very special piece is One of Four "belt loops" numbered 17/870, and is accompanied by another certificate signed by Clyde’s late sister, Marie Barrow. In fine condition. Barrows trousers’ and shirt that he wore that day were kept in the Barrow family until Butterfield & Butterfield auctioned off the bullet riddled shirt in 1997. The trousers were cut into 870 swatches and affixed to certificates.
Note: Cvtreasures stamp is not on original certificate.