Nickel-plated brass flashlight found in the back seat of Buck Barrow's Marmon automobile by a local officer following the Barrow gang's shootout near Dexter, Iowa, on July 24, 1933. The officer kept the flashlight until the early 1950s, when he gave it to his close friend and neighbor in Indianola, Iowa. The John Dillinger Historical Society subsequently acquired it from the neighbor's son, and it was once displayed at the Gerald Ford Museum under the supervision of the National Archives. In fine condition, with expected aging, dents, and signs of use. Provenance: Part of Lot 4650, Butterfield's, June 19, 2000. Accompanied by photocopies of letters of provenance from Sandy Jones (curator of the John Dillinger Historical Society) and the original auction description.
On July 19, 1933, the Barrow gang engaged lawmen in a gun battle while camping out in Platte City, Missouri. Buck Barrow, his wife Blanche, and D. W. Woods were wounded in the fight, with Buck suffering most severely—a wound to the forehead exposed his brain and caused extreme loss of blood. Despite this trauma, he survived and remained conscious as the gang made its escape toward Dexter, Iowa. There, near an abandoned amusement park between Redfield and Dexter, they met another posse and Buck was shot in the back; all other members of the group—Bonnie, Clyde, Blanche, and W.D. were also wounded in the Dexter gunfight. Buck and Blanche were captured but the others escaped on foot, leaving this flashlight behind. In an ever-weakening state, Buck was taken to King's Daughters Hospital in Perry, Iowa, where he died from his wounds on July 29th. From the collection of David Gainsborough-Roberts.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.