John Dillinger collectibles



2015-06-26 11:06:43

John Dillinger collectibles are items of crime memorabilia relating to bank robber and prison escapee John Herbert Dillinger.


John Dillinger (1903-1934) was an American bank robber of German descent. He and his gang robbed two dozen banks and four police stations when they were at large, during the Depression era. He was a notorious criminal of this era, as well as a charismatic and colourful outlaw.

Dillinger spent some time behind bars for the $50 robbery of a grocery store. He planned bank heists with other criminals that he met in there, and extensively studied Herman Lamm’s bank robbing system. Once out, he put this into practice, and also engineered the escape of his old prison comrades.

Captured by the police again at a later date, Dillinger was put in the ‘escape-proof’ Crown Point jail. It was from here that Dillinger famously carved a pretend pistol out of wood, blacked it with boot polish, and successfully used it to escape from prison. He then stole Sheriff Lillian Holley’s new Ford car to make his getaway.

After various other bank jobs while Dillinger was at large, he lay low as a clerk in Chicago. He was hunted down by the FBI, and surprised in a movie theatre. While attempting to take out his gun, Dillinger was shot down by three federal agents.

It is recorded that people dipped their handkerchiefs and skirts into the pool of Dillinger’s blood as he lay dying in an alleyway, to secure a keepsake of the event.

Notable collectibles

  • The gun used to shoot John Dillinger, a Colt Army Special Revolver, sold for $95,600 in 2009.
  • Autographed letter from 1932, sold for $50,000 at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in July 2009.
  • Dillinger’s getaway car, a 1932 Studebaker Commander, sold for $34,500 at Christie’s in April 1998.
  • A $1 bill stained with Dillinger’s blood from the night of his death sold for $14,340 at Heritage Auctions.
  • The wooden fake gun Dillinger used to escape from prison sold for $19,120 at Heritage Auctions.
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