Witherell’s is staging A Century of Notoriety: The Estate of Al Capone, on October 8 at The Sutter Club in Sacramento.
The lots range from extravagant diamond jewellery to antique guns but also reveal details about the family life of the notorious gangster through vintage home movies and intimate prison letters hidden away for decades by his granddaughters, who have been living quietly for decades in a small northern California town.
Convicted of tax evasion in Chicago, Capone was transferred to Alcatraz on August 22, 1934.
He was released in November 1939 having having served a total of seven years, six months and 15 days, and having paid all fines and back taxes.
According to fbi.gov: “Suffering from paresis derived from syphilis, he had deteriorated greatly during his confinement. Immediately on release he entered a Baltimore hospital for brain treatment and then went on to his Florida home, an estate on Palm Island in Biscayne Bay near Miami, which he had purchased in 1928.
“Following his release, he never publicly returned to Chicago. He had become mentally incapable of returning to gangland politics. In 1946, his physician and a Baltimore psychiatrist, after examination, both concluded Capone then had the mentality of a 12-year-old child. Capone resided on Palm Island with his wife and immediate family, in a secluded atmosphere, until his death due to a stroke and pneumonia on January 25, 1947.”
Granddaughter Diane Patricia Capone, daughter of Al Capone’s only son, Sonny Capone, has written a book, Al Capone: Stories my Grandmother Told Me. She will headline an auction preview and sign copies of her book on October 7 at Witherell’s.
She said: “What people don’t know is his personal story as a father and grandfather and his painful path of redemption while at Alcatraz. That is the unknown Capone I talk about in my book and it’s the story that comes to life with these family treasures.”
Suiting a gangster, Capone’s favourite Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol and his Colt .38 semi-automatic blue pistol are for sale.
The jewellery on offer includes his platinum and diamond monogram Patek Philippe pocket watch, ‘tuxedo set’ of abalone and diamond studs and cufflinks, gold monogram AC pendant necklace adorned with 33 diamonds, and sapphire and diamond studded tie pin.
Among the personal effects are his 18k gold and platinum belt buckle, white gold diamond monogram matchbook cover, platinum diamond monogram pocket watch and gold initialled AC money clip that he was known to carry every day.
Furniture and china include Al and Mae Capone’s ornate bedroom set, decorative cigar humidor, monogram sterling silver tea service set, Lenox gold rim porcelain fine china.
Home movies taken by Al Capone of his associates, vintage family photos of Capone and his family and the last known photograph taken of Capone before he died are available, along with a personal letter from Capone to Sonny from Alcatraz.
Diane Patricia Capone said: “All of these items were in the house on Palm Island, the estate where my grandfather died.
“The items remained in the house after his death, until my grandmother sold the house. And then they moved with her to a smaller home in Florida. Ultimately they came to my father and my father brought them with him to California.
“And then they came to us on my father’s death, which was in 2004. So they’ve never been outside of the family possession.”