Scroll down a bit, and you’ll find that a while back we commented on the Leslie Hindman auction in Chicago of what they’re calling “The Gun That Killed Dillinger.” Only trouble is, it belonged to an East Chicago lawman who was across the street from the Biograph Theater on the sweltering 1934 night when three Federal agents shot down Public Enemy Number One. Captain Timothy O’Neal, by all official accounts, never fired his gun that night.
We got some interesting comments on it (see that entry, below), including a polite response from the auction house itself.
Well, proving that P.T. Barnum was right about a sucker being born every minute, O’Neal’s gun went under the auctioneer’s hammer for a whopping $36,400 yesterday. This LINK from the Chicago Sun-Times indicated that reporters in the Windy City apparently don’t research their stories much, either.
The popular Johnny Depp movie has apparently stirred a huge interest in Dillinger 75 years after his death. A few days ago, a gun that documentably actually WAS possessed by John Dillinger went for over 96 grand in an auction elsewhere. It was a double-barrel .41 caliber Remington derringer, a frontier-style pocket pistol that was obsolete even then, but still popular in the Thirties for pocket carry because it spat large caliber bullets, if only two of them. It was taken from Dillinger during one of his arrests. He had been carrying it tucked in his sock as a backup gun.
In the auction of the O’Neal Colt, a letter written by Dillinger to his niece from jail went to a private collector for what the Sun-Times called “a shocking $60,400 winning bid.”
Well, heck, I just can’t be an old curmudgeon about this stuff anymore. It’s time I got into the spirit of things.
So, tell ya what: I’ll auction off a Colt Army Special almost exactly like Captain O’Neal’s, out of my own collection. We can start the bidding at, oh, a mere $30,000. His had a five-inch barrel, and mine is a four-inch and looks to be in better shape. And they have at least three things in common.
They’re both original Colt Army Special revolvers correct to their period, right down to the gutta percha grips.
They’re both chambered for the .38 Special cartridge. (And mine’s still in perfect working order, and surprisingly accurate.)
And, to the best of my knowledge, neither one was ever fired at John Dillinger.
Yet another Colt Army Special that didn’t kill John Dillinger