How a movie can make collectible prices soar


John Dillinger never had it so good. The anonymous seller of a pistol owned by Dillinger can thank a movie that opened this month for getting such a steep price -- $95,600.

"Public Enemies" has made $88 million since it opened July 1, and my guess is that the movie about the 1930s era gangster led the private Los Angeles collector to bid much more than the $35,000 to $45,000 that Dillinger's Remington .41-caliber Double was expected to fetch at auction.

Pop culture -- whether movies, books, comics, music or whatever else -- is enough to put Dillinger or anything else in the public eye and drive prices up.

The gun in question was found in one of Dillinger's socks when he was arrested in Tucson, Ariz. in January 1934. The pistol was given to a probation officer, who kept it in the family until selling it in 1959, according to a Reuters story. The owner sold it because he's in declining health.

Originally published