Al Capone's possessions, now for sale, show both sides of the gangster

The first objects sold on the auction site listing Al Capone’s possessions portray a loving family man. There is a black and white pho...


The first objects sold on the auction site listing Al Capone’s possessions portray a loving family man.

There is a black and white photo of him and his mother radiating to each other. Then there is a gold framed picture of gangster with his arm around his only child, Albert Francis, both nicely dressed in fedoras and crisp suit jackets.

However, keep scrolling through the goods for sale on the Witherell’s Auction House website, and more sinister items appear, reminding potential buyers that while Capone might have been known as the Papa of his grandchildren – children, he was also a violent mafia boss, the man believed to have commanded the Valentine’s Day Massacre, in which seven men were killed in a Chicago garage by gangsters posing as police officers.

The collection, titled “A Century of Notoriety: The Estate of Al Capone”, also includes several of his firearms, including a Colt .45 pistol from 1911, described as Capone’s favorite. Live auctions won’t open until Oct. 8, but there are already two six-figure bids for the Colt, said Brian Witherell, founder of Witherell’s.

This is a sign of the continued fascination with a mobster who has been dead for over 70 years.

“It will be a big deal,” Mr. Witherell said. “We’ve been around long enough to find out what’s generating interest, but it exceeds our highest expectations. “

Capone, known as Scarface, died of complications from a stroke and pneumonia in January 1947 at his villa in Palm Island, Florida. He was 48 years old.

His property remained in the family and eventually went to the four daughters of Albert Francis Capone, known as Sonny.

One of the daughters, Diane Capone, said she and her two surviving sisters, who all live in Auburn and the surrounding area, Calif., Decided to sell the property because they were getting older and because they feared what could happen to the articles if the wildfires that recently ravaged northern California forced them to flee quickly.

“We have spent the last two summers with our suitcases near the door,” Ms. Capone said.

The items, 174 in total, also include furniture, watches, a white gold matchbook that Capone used to store matches for his cigars, and a letter he wrote to Sonny Capone from prison. Capone jewelry is also on sale, including diamond pins and a flaming tie bar with the word “AL” encrusted with diamonds.

Ms Capone, 77, said she realized “there was a huge chasm” between her grandfather’s private life and his public life, which has been detailed in the newspapers, movies and books.

“Do I know that he was responsible for a lot of bad things, or that he ordered his people to do bad things?” ” she said. “Yes of course. But I am also aware that the man had multidimensional characteristics. He was able to compartmentalize his public life from the life he led as a father.

Ms Capone was 3 when her grandfather died, but said she clearly remembered him reading to her, holding her on her lap and leading her through the villa gardens, showing flowers and flowers. figurines as she squeezed her fingers.

“He was very, very loving,” she said.

Capone, the son of Italian immigrants, grew up in Brooklyn and was inspired to become a gangster as a teenager, based on a biography of Deirdre Bair. He was a shoe shiner who watched Mafiosi shake up local traders and decided to start his own gang.

As an adult, he built his empire selling alcohol during the Prohibition Age, the period between 1920 and 1933 when alcoholic beverages were banned in the United States.

He was making around $ 100 million a year, according to researchers at Harvard Business School, who said his strategies reflected “the destructive forms of American entrepreneurship at the turn of the 20th century.”

Capone is believed to be the cause of more than 200 deaths, including that of a prosecutor. The culmination of the Chicago gang war between Capone and his main rival, Georges moran, also known as the Bugs, occurred on February 14, 1929. Seven men, most of them from Moran’s gang, were inside a garage when four men barged in and announced a raid. They ordered the men to line up against the wall and shot them.

Capone, who was on vacation in Florida, was not arrested, and some have expressed doubts that Capone ordered the blow. He was never convicted of murder but was convicted in 1931 of tax evasion and served seven and a half years in federal prison.

During his incarceration, he deteriorated considerably due to paresis, a partial paralysis resulting from syphilis, according to the FBI

Upon release, he was admitted to a Baltimore hospital and then visited his Palm Island property. “He had become mentally incapable of returning to gang politics,” the FBI said.

Ms Capone said she doubted this theory and believed her grandfather was content to put his old life behind him.

She said her grandmother once described how former associates came to visit Capone after he returned from prison. When they left, Capone’s wife heard them say, “He’s crazy as a bedbug,” Ms. Capone said.

“My grandmother told my grandfather about it, and daddy’s quote was, ‘Let them think whatever they want; this is my exit ticket, ”Ms. Capone said.

Sonny Capone eventually gave up the Capone name and moved to California. All of her daughters pursued careers in business or education, married and had children, abandoning the name Capone in favor of their husbands’ surnames.

“It wasn’t that we were trying to live secret lives,” Ms. Capone said. “We just lived quiet lives.”

Ms Capone said she reverted to her maiden name when she published a book on his grandfather from the recollections of his widow, Mae Capone.

She said she plans to donate some of the auction proceeds to charities, such as the local food bank. It was his grandfather’s kind of charity, who sponsored soup kitchens during the Great Depression, supported.

Ms Capone said the dichotomy will always mystify her.

“I have no idea how a person would be able to live the public life that they have led and be the father of the family that they are,” she said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Al Capone's possessions, now for sale, show both sides of the gangster
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