personal items from Al Capone, the Prohibition-era crime boss in the United States, billed as “Public Enemy No. 1,” were sold for more than R$17 million (US$3.1 million) during a private auction last week, including his supposedly favorite weapon, jewels and heirlooms.
The most expensive item was a Colt .45 semiautomatic pistol, Capone’s favorite weapon, according to the Sacramento auction house Witherell’s. The object has reached the value of BRL 5.7 million ($1.04 million), including buyer premium.
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The lot included luxurious accessories worn by Capone, known for his bold style, like a Patek Philippe platinum and diamond pocket watch with her initials, a pin with diamonds, pearls and sapphires and a matchbox with a white gold and diamond cover.
A letter written by Capone to his only son, Sonny, while he was incarcerated in Alcatraz, sold for R$312,000 (US$56,700) and says, “Give Mom a big kiss for me and God bless you both.”
Another interesting item is what Capone’s family says is the last photo ever taken of the crime boss, showing him with his wife, Mae, and their grandchildren in 1946 – a month before his death. The photograph was sold for nearly R$110,000 (US$20,000).
Also auctioned were dozens of other photos of the Capone family and home videos, some of which show criminals associated with Al, such as New York crime boss Lucky Luciano and other suspected mafia members.
The objects were passed on by Capone and his wife to their son Sonny – who later passed them on to their daughters in California. They were the ones who put the items up for auction, according to Witherell’s.
Al Capone, also known as “Scarface” for the marks he had on the left side of his face after being attacked in his days as a club bouncer, began his career in organized crime as part of small street gangs in his hometown New York Christmas. He moved to Chicago to serve as a right-hand man to his mentor, Johnny Torrio, of the Chicago Outfit, an organized crime syndicate made up mostly of Italian-Americans.
Capone later took over as head of the Chicago crime family, and is believed to have played a role in planning the Valentine’s Day Massacre, when seven men linked to the rival North Side gang, made up mostly of Irish-Americans, were murdered. in broad daylight in 1929. The massacre drew attention to Capone and organized crime across the East Coast. In 1931, Capone was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison, but only served eight because of his poor health. He died in 1947 at his mansion in Palm Springs.