'Machine Gun' Kelly's shotgun set to blast its way to $50,000 in Californian auction

We've already referred to the upcoming sale of guns which were owned by Bonnie and Clyde.

Now, on Sunday, January 29, a California auctioneer will sell another outlaw's weapon: gangster George "Machine Gun" Kelly's shotgun used in the 1933 kidnapping of Oklahoma millionaire Charles Urschel.

"It's a great opportunity to own a piece of American history." said auctioneer Jewels Eubanks. The shotgun is currently owned by 2008 world poker tournament ladies champion Nancy Todd, also known as the Queen of Diamonds. Proceeds from the sale of the shotgun will be donated to the Hayden Scholarship Foundation.

The auctioneer has documented the chain of custody, and procured a letter of authenticity from witness and Las Vegas legend Tex Whitson.

Machine gun Kelly shotgun
Machine gun Kelly's chrome-plated shotgun (est $25,000-50,000)

Kelly left behind the chrome-plated shotgun at Ora Shannon's ranch near Paradise, Texas, where Urschel was held for more than a week before being freed by FBI agents. Kelly, who escaped the raid, was Shannon's son-in-law.

"We were going to sell the shotgun previously, but waited to document the provenance," said Eubanks.

Ora Shannon gave the shotgun to casino owner and Texas gambling legend Benny Binion. Binion was known for bringing Texas hospitality to Las Vegas at his casino, Binion's Horseshoe.

The shotgun was kept in the vault at the Horseshoe and shown to friends and patrons, including Tex Whitson, until Binion gave the shotgun to Billy Bob Burnett of Billy Bob's Texas, the biggest Honky Tonk in Texas, in 1985. Later the shotgun passed to Todd.

Machine gun Kelly's shotgun in close-up
Machine gun Kelly's shotgun in close-up

In the documentary included with the shotgun, Whitson recalls a trip with Binion to Texas where he drove down "many a dirt road" and found the Shannons' farmhouse.

Also included in the auction is the "Benny Binion collection of gamblers' guns, from the vault at the Horseshoe, confiscated from unruly gangsters, gamblers and patrons."

Asked how Binion knew Machine Gun Kelly and the Shannons, Whitson replied, "Anyone who gambled or drank in that part of Texas (Dallas) knew Benny Binion, and probably owed him money."

Additional auction highlights include estate items from the ninth governor of Louisiana, Andre Bienvenue Roman, in office 1831-1835. Included will be portraits by Jacques Guillaume Lucien Amans (1801-1888).

Also being offered is an important personal collection of pistols from pinstripe legend Von Dutch, widely known for being the king of custom culture. He was also a gunsmith. Each firearm has a custom Von Dutch handwritten tag.

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