PiK Coins returns to the world of classic gangsters with the legendary outlaw lovers, Bonnie & Clyde

We all know about the coin market’s near-obsession with the ancient world as a theme for new releases, but we’re constantly surprised, and not a little dismayed, at just how much of history is relatively neglected in comparison. There’s little for the Victorian era, for example, a period of massive change, and there are plenty of other examples. One of those is the exciting world of gangsters, that dominated many parts of American culture in the inter-war period of the mid-20th century.

Last year, PiK Coins debuted the first of its new series, simply titled ‘Gangsters’, and what better place to start than the most iconic of them all, Al Capone. Guilty of just about all the crimes perpetrated in this era, murder, extortion, bootlegging, prostitution, bribery, and tax evasion, it was the last of them that finally brought him down. Nobody disses the taxman and gets away with it…

It was a terrific coin, packing in a fair bit of crime, and the swagger that characterised the man. A two-ounce silver coin, with plenty of high-relief, a touch of gilding, and a ‘bullet-hole’ right through it, it was a great homage to a romanticised, but in reality, brutal age. It’s finally back with a second issue, and it’s another legend of the time, Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow have become famous for their criminal exploits across middle-America in the early 1930s. Modern popular culture has turned them into some kind of romantic young couple fighting against the system, but nothing could be further from the truth. They were thieves, robbing funeral homes, banks, and stores, nearly all of them small rural operations, and multiple murderers.

Clyde took his first life in prison at the age of 21. By the time of his death at age 25, he, along with Bonnie, had killed at least nine police officers, and two civilians between February 1932 and May 1934. Both, along with their gang, were callous and violent individuals, with little regard for the law. Their deaths, in a shoot-out with law enforcement, would come as little surprise. The image of them today is quite a bit different from the reality.

The coin is another superb release, closely following the style of the first (pictured below), and keeping the two-ounce, rimless, antiqued format, Bonnie is pictured with two pistols, and Clyde with a shotgun, and there are police officers, weapons raised, in the background. This is clearly meant to depict the final battle leading to their deaths. The vehicle in the background may even be theirs, as it looks like a Ford V8 of the period, a car Clyde liked so much he apparently wrote to Henry Ford to congratulate him on it!

The series trademark ‘bullet-hole’ returns, and in the same spot as on the Capone coin. Cleverly, it is used to show an empty chamber in the revolver on the obverse face, alongside others filled with gilded bullets. We love this one. It’s full of period character, right down to the fonts used, and we can see this making a fine four-coin set when completed. As we said earlier, there isn’t much on the market with this as a subject, so it’s heartening to see the rare release so well done. Available to order from 26th, it will come presented in a box.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, Bullet hole, gilding
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes