September 7, 2012

Al Capone’s Original Music Composition at Auction

Murderous Chicago crime-boss and legendary Gangster Alphonse “Al” Capone is well known for controlling a large part of Chicago’s underworld during the Prohibition era, and his image reached celebrity status in the Windy City and beyond.  Less well known, of course, is the fact that Capone had a softer side: he was a jazz and opera aficionado, going so far as to form a band while imprisoned at Alcatraz and writing his own music.

While imprisoned for tax evasion, Capone developed a close friendship with Vincent Casey, a Jesuit priest in training who visited Alcatraz to offer spiritual counsel to prisoners in the 1930s. Already quite accomplished on the mandola, he took advantage of his spare time in prison to further hone his musical talents. After two years of meeting in his cell every Saturday, Capone penned this original composition - ostensibly about his wife Mae - as a Christmas gift for his friend and confidant, Casey.
“This remarkably rare piece of music, the only one of its kind known to exist, captures the softer side of the man remembered for his brutal methods, including the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” said Bobby Livingston, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, RR Auction. “This moving, and surprisingly accomplished, love song is a tangible reminder of the great ironies and not-so-subtle conflicting human dimensions of some of America’s most infamous gangsters and outlaws.”

Among some of the other over 130 stunning and unique pieces in this auction are the following:

??    Clyde Barrow’s personal Colt .45, recovered post-mortem from his waistband, as well as a Morgan silver dollar also found on his body. 
??    A historic 1925 Prohibition era multi-page deposition archive, including four pages signed by Al Capone concerning the near-fatal shooting of his mentor and business partner Johnny Torrio.
??    Al Capone’s Colt .25 semi-automatic vest pocket pistol, given to one of his bootleggers for personal protection.??    An eerie, limited edition John Dillinger death mask, created from one of only 4 original death masks known to exist.
??    A vintage, original Eliot Ness signed press I.D. card from the 1930’s, after Ness left Chicago for Cleveland to serve as Director of Public Safety.
??    An original Frank Nitti signed document from 1933, for a parcel of land put up for bail on Nitti’s behalf for a burglary charge.
??    Bonnie Parker’s personal, concealed Colt .38 snub-nose detective special revolver, which was found post-mortem taped to her inside thigh with white medical tape. 

“Collectors of artifacts, manuscripts and autographs in this fascinating and popular segment of Americana will not be disappointed in the auction’s offerings,” added Livingston. “We will be offering some of the finest and most interesting pieces available to private collectors.”

The historic live auction, featuring rare artifacts and manuscripts from such Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen such as Clyde Barrow, John Dillinger, Wyatt Earp, Frank Hammer, Frank James, Lucky Luciano, Bat Masterson, Frank Nitti, Elliot Ness, Bonnie Parker, Poncho Villa and many others, will take place on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Nashua, New Hampshire.  

A preview of all items will be held at the Crown Plaza on September 29, 2012, and by appointment at the RR Auction Amherst, NH offices. Phone and online bidding will also be available.

For more information on the American Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen auction, including online preview lots, please visit the RR Auction web site (