SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Here’s your chance to own something “Scarface” once held dear.
Al Capone’s three granddaughters are auctioning 174 items from the personal collection of “Public Enemy No. 1″ in October, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“A Century of Notoriety: The Estate of Al Capone,” will be held on Oct. 8 in Sacramento, California. Witherell’s, which is hosting the sale, includes Capone’s favorite gun, a Colt .45 pistol; a Patek Philippe pocket watch monogrammed with 90 diamonds; and personal letters.
One of those letters was written from Alcatraz by the Chicago mob boss to his only child, Albert “Sonny” Capone, The Wall Street Journal reported. Al Capone was serving an 11-year sentence on “The Rock” after his conviction for tax evasion in 1934. He was released in 1939 and died on Jan. 25, 1947, in Miami Beach, Florida.
The auction is an invitation-only affair at the Sutter Club and will be hosted by the Sacramento, California, auction house. Witherell’s also will accept online and telephone bids.
“We decided to do it because we’re getting older,” Diane Patricia Capone, 77, the oldest of Al Capone’s granddaughters, told The Sacramento Bee. “And we just decided that we know the stories, we lived with these things, we’ve lived with these stories and if something happened to any of us no one else would know not only who they belonged to but the stories that went with some of these items. And so we better do it while we’re all still here.”
The three granddaughters have been custodians of Al Capone’s items since their father died in 2004, The Washington Post reported. The collection had been originally housed at Al Capone’s Palm Island Estate in Miami Beach, the newspaper reported.
The Capone family later moved to California, where they still live.
Diane Capone said the growing number of California wildfires caused her and her siblings some concern and motivated them to put their grandfather’s estate up for sale, The Bee reported.
“We almost had to evacuate last year,” she told the newspaper. “We’re packed again this year thinking we might have to evacuate and we finally decided if we evacuate we can’t save Papa’s things.”
Diane Capone’s hometown of Auburn has long been prone to wildfires, and the smoke at her home is so bad that she is uncomfortable sitting on her porch, the Post reported.
Brian Witherell, co-founder of Witherell’s and a guest appraiser on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow,” said the auction will be historic.
“I don’t think anything can compare to Al Capone and I don’t think that there’s any auction house that can even make a case that there’s something as significant that has ever been on the market,” Witherell told The Bee. “He is a legendary figure, and in my mind, this sale will go down as one of if not the most important, significant celebrity sales in history.”
Timothy Gordon, of PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow,” appraised the items, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Al Capone is the most-collected historical figure in the criminal world, and traditionally his items have sold at astronomical amounts,” Gordon told the newspaper.
In 2017, a diamond watch owned by Al Capone sold for $84,375, The Wall Street Journal reported. A 2014 Sotheby’s auction sold Capone’s engraved 1932 silver-plated cocktail shaker for roughly $68,500, according to the newspaper.
The starting bid is $50,000 for Al Capone’s .45-caliber Colt model 1911 semi-automatic pistol.
Diane Capone said she was not concerned that the weapon might end up in the hands of someone who idolized her grandfather for the wrong reasons.
“Well, I certainly hope that doesn’t happen,” Diane Capone told the Sun-Times. “I don’t really think there’s much chance of somebody who’s really a bad person having access to it, but I have no way of knowing. I just certainly hope to God nothing like that would ever happen.”
Diane Capone said she remembered her grandfather as kindly.
“He was a very devoted family man, very committed to his family,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Everything about his personal life speaks of family, home, entertaining,” she said. “He was always very social and it shows (in items being auctioned). There’s china and furniture and crystal and all kinds of things that made up his personal life.”
Still, Diane Capone knows about her grandfather’s reputation as the most feared mobster in the country during the Prohibition era.
“It’s a conundrum,” she told the Sun-Times. “Someday, when I get to heaven, maybe I’ll get to ask.”
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