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Al Capone

Capone artifacts could strong-arm six figures at RR Auction, Jan. 11

Signed, inscribed photograph of Al Capone, estimated at $50,000-$75,000
Signed, inscribed photograph of Al Capone, estimated at $50,000-$75,000

BOSTON — RR Auction‘s first sale of 2023, scheduled to end on Wednesday, January 11, features remarkable items chronicling the lives and times of notorious figures such as Al Capone, John Dillinger, and Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who together gained infamy as Bonnie and Clyde. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.

Highlights include Al Capone’s signed Cook County Jail inmate record — a file from his 1931 tax evasion conviction, with graphic evidence of his ‘Scarface’ moniker. The card lists his personal and physical data, including height (“5ft 11in”), weight (“255”), age (“32”), descent (“Italian”), religion (“Cath.”), education (“8th Grade”), and occupation (“Garage Bus.” — perhaps a clever nod to his reported involvement in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre). Even more significantly, the card boasts a physical chart that identifies the scar on his face — the inspiration for his iconic nickname, ‘Scarface’ — and a wound on his right hand. The record reports no signs of fits, scabies, syphilis or gonorrhea — a curious finding, as Capone had almost certainly contracted syphilis by this time, which would contribute to his deteriorating health and eventual death in 1947.

Cook County Jail inmate records for Al Capone (top) and his brother, Ralph (bottom), the former of which notes the scar from which Al Capone earned the nickname ‘Scarface’, estimated at $100,000-$150,000
Cook County Jail inmate records for Al Capone (top) and his brother, Ralph (bottom), the former of which notes the scar from which Al Capone earned the nickname ‘Scarface,’ estimated at $100,000-$150,000

Included is a Cook County Jail inmate record card for his brother, signed “Ralph J. Capone,” stamp-dated November 5, 1931, similarly listing his personal data, physical history and transfer into federal custody on November 6, 1931. Ralph Capone, who had been deemed Public Enemy Number Three by the Chicago Crime Commission, was also convicted of income tax fraud. The pair of Capone cards is estimated at $100,000-$150,000.

“To have the word ‘Scar’ written out by the police and pointing right to the face of the world’s most notorious mobster makes this is an incredible artifact,” said RR Auction Executive VP Bobby Livingston. “Already famously known as Scarface by the public and the police, the flourish of how it is noted on the intake card is remarkable.”

A related item of note is a textured matte-finish 8 by 10 photo of Capone that he inscribed, “To My Friend Joe Cook, Al Capone.” It is the only Capone photo of this size to appear at auction, and it carries an estimate of $50,000-$75,000.

Book of poems handwritten in jail in 1932 by Bonnie Parker, estimated at $25,000-$30,000
Poems handwritten in jail in 1932 by Bonnie Parker, estimated at $25,000-$30,000

Also on offer is Bonnie Parker’s handwritten poem book, titled Poetry from Life’s Other Side, containing 10 poems she penned while jailed in 1932. Featuring a mix of Parker’s original creative compositions and renditions of popular folk ballads, she composed the contents of the book while held in Kaufman County Jail, after being arrested for the botched armed robbery of a hardware store with Clyde Barrow, Ralph Fults and Raymond Hamilton. The Parker poem book’s estimate is $25,000-$30,000.

Additional highlights include autographs by founding fathers Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson; letters on magic by Harry Houdini; original concept paintings by Disney artists Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle; and a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts featuring Gangsters and Lawmen sale by RR Auction will conclude on January 11. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.

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Al Capone