Thursday 26th August 2021 - Cara Bentham
A selection of Al Capone's personal items are being sold at auction.
Al Capone's three living granddaughters are auctioning off some of his personal belongings, including artwork, a diamond-encrusted pocket watch, a pistol and letters from prison.
The auction is entitled "A Century of Notoriety" and will be hosted live on the 8th of October by Witherell's of Sacramento. It includes 174 lots with a total value of over half a million pounds. It provides a glimpse into the private and family life of the Prohibition-era gangster known as Scarface.
During his brief spell as head of the notoriously ruthless gang known as the Chicago Outfit, Al Capone is believed to have masterminded Chicago's most infamous gangland killing. The 1929 St Valentine's Day Massacre saw seven men shot to death.
Amongst the lots is a three-page letter penned by Al Capone to his only son, Sonny. The letter was written from his prison cell in Alcatraz in October 1931, shortly after he was convicted on federal tax evasion charges and sentenced to eleven years in prison.
The pencil-written letter, which carries an estimate of between $25,000 and $30,000, shows a softer side of Al Capone. In it, it states: 'To My Dear Son, Well Son of my heart, here is dear father, who loves you with all my heart and proud to have a son, as smart as you are'.
Other items amongst the many lots include a Colt semi-automatic pistol, the gangster's favourite handgun, knife collections, jewellery, more letters from prison, vintage family photographs, furniture, and a white gold matchbook cover with the initials 'AC' spelt in diamonds.
Capone's pistol, expected to fetch $60,000, is said to have been carried solely for protection and not believed to have been used in any crime.
In an interview with Business Wire, Brian Witherell, co-founder of auction house Witherell's, said of the upcoming auction that it will be "one of the most compelling events in Witherell's 52-year history" and that it is a "high-profile auction of international significance."
He went on to state, "We are honoured that the Capone Family chose Witherell's to present their most treasured mementos and that they trust us to handle the estate with the diligence and security it requires."
The items in the collection belong to the three daughters of Al Capone's son Sonny. At a preview event on the 7th of October at Sacramento, Al Capone's 77-year-old granddaughter Diane Patricia Capone will sign copies of her memoir Al Capone: Stories My Grandmother Told Me, published in 2019.
In a statement issued by Witherell's, Diane stated, "What people don't know is his personal story as a father and grandfather and his painful path of redemption while at Alcatraz."