That old saying about how crime doesn't pay? Forget about it. If anything, the auction of notorious gangster Al Capone's personal belongings proves that not only does crime pay, but it pays extremely well.
An impressive array of Capone’s possessions, including what was billed as his favorite gun, sold for more than $3.1 million during “A Century of Notoriety: The Estate of Al Capone,” October 8 at Witherell’s.
The gun of the man known as “Scarface” – a Colt Model 1911 semi-automatic .45 – sold for $860,000, or more than $700,000 above its pre-auction estimate. With buyer’s premium, the anonymous purchaser paid $1,040,600 for the gun, which is believed to be the most for a 20th century firearm at auction.
Capone, who ruled Chicago’s underworld with an iron fist from 1925 to 1931, is believed to be behind more than 200 deaths, including the murders of seven in one of the most infamous crimes in U.S. history, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929.
“We expected that Al Capone’s personal gun would be the top-selling item because we immediately received multiple six-figure bids when we announced the auction back in August,” said Brian Witherell, cofounder of Witherell’s. “The final selling price, along with the record number of registered bidders, completely exceeded our expectations. It really speaks to the notoriety and allure of Al Capone who is more widely known today than he was 100 years ago.”
The 174-lot auction attracted 1,500 registered bidders. Capone died in 1947. His belongings stayed in the family, eventually ending up with his four grandchildren, the daughters of his only child, Albert Francis “Sonny” Capone.
In addition to the record-setting .45, other top lots included:
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