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Category Archives: Al Capone

Al Capone two striking signatures on a bold and bright grocery list

ALS signed twice “Your dear old pal, Al,” and “Al Capone,” one page, 6.5 x 10.5, no date, but mid-1940s. Letter written to family friend Gertrude F. Cole asking her to pick up some items at a store. In full (with grammar and spelling retained): “Please bring me 3 decks of Pennucle Cards, 1 large bottle of Bayer’s Aspirin & get some…Borax or Lux or any kind of soap you can the more the better. Your dear ol pal, Al.” Capone continues underneath, “Please bring them all here tomorrow will give you the rest of the money when you get all these things and real good happy new year,” and signed at the conclusion, “Al Capone.” Simply matted and framed to an overall size of 10 x 14. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, one through a single letter of signature, and moderate overall creasing and wrinkling. All of Capone’s writing remains quite crisp and bold.

Also included are two original glossy candid photos, each 2.25 x 4, one of Capone and his wife Mae, the other of Al and Mae Capone posing alongside their only child Sonny, and two of Sonny’s four daughters. Both photos were taken outside the Capone house on Palm Island in Miami, Florida. Photos are matted together to an overall size of 9.25 x 8.25. Accompanied by a three-page letter of provenance from Cole’s granddaughter providing background information on Cole’s relationship with Capone.

Following his time at Alcatraz, with his health in decline and his mental capacities diminishing, Al Capone returned to a quiet life at his family home in Palm Island, Florida. According to Luciano Iorizzo’s 2003 biography, Capone spent a good deal of his time playing cards with cohorts from his glory days, who visited him often and held enough respect for their former boss that they rarely let him lose. It was at this time that he met Gertrude Cole, who had been a close friend to his daughter-in-law Diana Casey’s family for decades. With her training as a nurse, her reputation as a reliable and trustworthy companion, and her love of horse racing, she became a comfortable friend and occasional caregiver in Al’s world. Any handwritten material from Capone is highly sought after—this piece, with its pair of bold signatures and glimpse into his days in Florida, is significantly more so! Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

http://www.rrauction.com/bidtracker_detail.cfm?IN=191

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Posted by on August 30, 2013 in Al Capone

 

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RR Auction Al Capone Police Photo and eight other associates

RR Auction Al CaponeOriginal 9.25 x 7 silver gelatin photo of Al Capone and eight other associates after their arrest in connection with the Adonis Club Massacre, with Capone standing on the far right of the second row. Pictured are: Al Capone, George Carrozza, Frank Piazza, Joe Howard, Andrew Desso, John Maloney, Sylvester Aggolia, Ralph D’Amato, and John Stabile. Reverse bears the typed names of all pictured, as well as the name of the arresting officer. A noticeable central vertical crease, slightly trimmed edges, repaired tear to top edge, a couple small tears to lower left corner, and some scattered light creases, otherwise very good condition.

Called to New York to take his sickly, young son into surgery, Al Capone took the opportunity to address business issues with former colleague and Brooklyn crime boss Frankie Yale, leader of the Italian Black Hand Gang, arranging the transfer of some hard-to-obtain imported Canadian whisky from New York to Chicago. Following their pleasant business transaction, Yale invited Capone to a Christmas party at the Adonis Social Club, despite the rumored attendance of rival gangster Richard ‘Peg-Leg’ Lonergan, leader of the Irish White Handers; Capone eagerly accepted. Around 3 a.m., when Lonergan’s gang arrived at the club, the lights went dark and chaos ensued. By the time police arrived, the Irish leader and two of his men were found executed, and another shot but still alive. Capone was arrested and charged in connection with the massacre along with six others, despite his assertion that he was just visiting and happened to be sitting as the doorman that night. This incredible, unpublished photo shows Capone among members of both feuding gangs, with White Handers Joe Howard and John Maloney standing by, just one day after the Italians reclaimed Brooklyn. RR Auction COA.

http://www.rrauction.com/bidtracker_detail.cfm?IN=501

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Al Capone

 

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RR Autograph Auction Al Capone Deposition Signed an Unbelievable Four Times

RR Autograph Auction Al Capone DepositionTyped deposition signed an unbelievable four times, “Alphonse Capone,” once on each page of a four-page transcript of Capone’s interrogation by police in their investigation of the attempted murder of his former mentor and crime associate John Torrio, dated January 24, 1925. Capone’s deposition is contained within 50 pages of police interviews, testimony, and notes in the case, each signed by the witness, two of whom include Capone’s chauffeur, Robert Barton and his accountant, Jake Gusick.

The first page provides the facts surrounding the shooting stating that it took place at 3:30 P.M. at 7011 Clyde Avenue. Page states Torrio had “3 superficial gun shot wounds,” with the cause stating “While alighting from his automobile from the front of the above address was assaulted by three men, two of the men fired several shots at him, causing above injuries. The assailants then jumped into a dark cadillac touring car.” Capone’s police interrogation took place the same day as Torrio’s near fatal shooting.

Capone’s statement is captioned: “Statement of Alphonse Caponi [sic]. 7244 Prairie Avenue…relative to the shooting of John Torrio…about 3:30 P.M. Jan 24th, 1925.” Highlights of the interrogation are as follows: “Q. What is your business? A. Furniture business. 2224 Wabash Ave. Q. What is [the] name of store? A. Antique furniture. No name to store…Q. How long do you know John Torrio? A. About three years. Q. Where did you meet him.? A. In Chicago, at the Race Track, I met him at the Bennie Leonard fight in East Chicago, about three years ago….Q. Do you know any of the Costello in New York? A. Yes, Frank.…Q. How did you happen to know Frank Costello? A. I met him in a restaurant at 7th and Broadway.…Q. Were you ever in trouble in New York? A. No…. Q. How many times were you arrested in Chicago? A. Everytime something happens I get arrested. Q. You do know Johnny Torrio, three years? A. Yes. Q. What time today did you hear he was shot? A. About six o’clock. Q. Where were you when you heard of it? I was going over to buy a couple of tickets for the White Cargo. A. I heard it in Al Bloom’s cigar store, first, everyone was talking about it. Q. What did you do when you heard of it? A. I called the hospital…Q. You got to the room where Torrio was? A. Yes. Q. Did you talk to him in Italian? A. No.…Q. Did he tell you who did it, or did you ask him who did it? A. I did not ask him and he did not tell me because he was in no condition to talk. Q. Would [you] have any idea who did it? A. No. Q. Would you tell us if you did know who did it? A. No, I value my life too much to tell if I did know…. Q. Can you give any reason for the shooting? A. No I cannot. Q. This statement is true and if you were called to testify this would be your statement and you will be willing to sign this statement? A. Yes, sir.”

Another interesting page is a memo from a captain to the Deputy Supt.of Police concerning witness Peter Veesart, dated March 4, 1925. In part: “Took Peter Veesart…to the B. of I. And he picked out the above named man, Chief of Detectives Schoemaker…arrested George Gage alias Moran and brought him to the 5th district where he was identified by Peter Veesart…as one of the men that done the shooting On that day. The prisoner was also brought to the Jackson Park Hospital where he was viewed by Johnny Torrio and his wife and they stated that he was not one of the men that done the shooting…Had three other witnesses to the shooting view George Gage alias Moran and they state that he resembled the man that done the shooting from the rear of the car on that day.” A large blue pencil notation at the bottom of the page indicates Veesart “after leaving jail at Wheaton, Ill., left the country refuses to identify anyone.” The final page of the report is a memo to the Chief of Detectives requesting “that the attached picture of George Gage alias George Moran is wanted in connection with the shooting of Johnny Torrio…who was shot in front of his home.”

In very good and slightly fragile condition, with uniform toning to pages, staple holes to top edges, scattered chips and areas of paper loss to the edges, and some mounting remnants to top edges of opening and closing pages.

The victim, John Torrio, was Capone’s mentor and sponsor in their previous criminal activities with the Five Points Gang in Brooklyn, where both had grown up. When Torrio moved to Chicago to manage a string of brothels for ‘Big Jim’ Colosimo, he brought along his protege, Capone. Torrio took over the empire after the murder of Colosimo; meanwhile Capone moved into the enormously lucrative bootleg whiskey business. Dion O’Bannion, an Irish mobster, and his lieutenant, Earl ‘Hymie’ Weiss, became their chief rivals. Conflicts between them escalated and in November 1924, O’Bannion was shot to death. On January 24, 1925, Weiss, with his sidekicks ‘Bugs’ Moran, Vincent Drucci and Frank Gusenberg, seeking revenge, came upon Torrio and his wife unloading packages in front of his home. Torrio fell in a hail of bullets, but Moran’s gun either jammed or he ran out of ammunition as he was about to deliver a shot to Torrio’s head. When Torrio eventually recovered, he fled to Italy, leaving Capone the undisputed boss of Chicago crime, a position he enjoyed until he was convicted of tax fraud and finally jailed.

Information was virtually impossible to collect in regard to the shooting. The few witnesses seemed fearful; none would conclusively identify the gunmen, although Moran was initially fingered. Even Torrio, when Earl Weiss and Vincent Drucci were brought into his hospital room, refused to identify them as being party to his shooting. A remarkable archive providing a vivid and compelling first-hand view of the methods perfected by Capone which rapidly propelled him to the pinnacle of the underworld.

Provenance: Jerome Shochet Collection Robert Batchelder, Catalogue 84, item 241 Christies, Sale 7888, May 20, 1994 RR Auction COA.

http://www.rrauction.com/bidtracker_detail.cfm?IN=2128

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Al Capone

 

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RR Auction Al Capone Collection Originating from Capone’s Doctor

RR Auction  Al CaponeA truly unique and groundbreaking archive spanning Al Capone’s final years from 1939–1947 (his release from prison up until his death), originally belonging to Capone’s Florida doctor Kenneth Phillips. Collection includes an ALS, a signed candid family snapshot, an official copy of Capone’s death certificate, numerous funeral of photos of Capone lying in state (including the original negatives), his medical chart spanning 1940–1943, his medical chart chronicling the final four days of his life, 26 pieces of correspondence related to his neurosyphilis treatment, four press releases, two 1940 eye chart exams, one 1944 lab test, and the Capone Estate bill for his final days of doctor’s care.

The collection is highlighted by a gorgeously penned, bold ALS, signed “Truly yours, Al Capone,” one page, 6.5 x 10.25, no date, but postmarked August 25, 1941. Capone writes to his beloved family physician, Dr. Phillips, in full: “Here is your friend Al Capone, writing you this letter from here, first hope it will find you & the rest of your dear family all in perfect health. Dr., I’m leaving here the 1st of Sept, then staying at my mother’s house in Chicago until the middle of Oct then I’ll be back there at our home. I have something nice for you which will bring back home for you. Dr. please send me 2 boxes [sic] of them red pills for bowels movement. Send to this address its the address I’ll be until I leave. 7244 Prairie Ave., Chicago, Ill.” Accompanied by the original mailing envelope addressed in Capone’s hand.

Equally as spectacular is a vintage glossy 4.5 x 2.75 candid photo of Capone, his wife Mae, his son Sonny, and Sonny’s wife Ruth outside his Florida home, signed and inscribed on the reverse, “To my dear friend Dr. K. Phillips from Al & Mae & Sonny & Ruth. Al Capone.”

Also included is a true sub-registrar’s copy of Capone’s State of Florida death certificate, 8.5 x 7, with a file date of January 28, 1947. Certificate lists all of Capone’s personal and physical information, his cause of death, “Bronchopneumonia due to Apoplexy,” and listing Kenneth Phillips as his physician.

Other items in the collection include 23 vintage glossy photos, both 10 x 8 and 8 x 5, of Capone lying in his $2000 bronze casket at the Philbrick Funeral Home, surrounded by large floral displays, also included are the original negatives; medical records of Capone’s final week, detailing medications given, meals, and general observations; and copious amounts of correspondence, much of it to Dr. Phillips. In overall fine condition.

This astoundingly rich archive, spanning 1939–1947, reveals the untold story of the world’s most famous mobster and his debilitating and irreversible mental collapse due to late-stage neurosyphilis. Astonishingly, Capone’s developmental age was pushed as far back as 7 years old, eventually improving to 14, but never moving much beyond that. The once incredibly powerful mafioso, was then confined to the home for the remainder of his years, advised to be looked after by a male nurse acting as a companion, and offered the mundane choice of gardening or keeping the books on one of the family businesses. By 1941, there was much talk of moving back to Chicago, since Capone had improved and was getting restless and homesick, but for whatever reason, they never did. The kingpin lived out the remainder of his days in relative reclusiveness at his sprawling Miami estate. Mainly comprised of communications between nationally-recognized syphilis specialist Dr. Joseph Moore of Baltimore and Capone’s attending physician Dr. Kenneth Phillips of Miami, the archive consist of 26 letters, most quite lengthy. At the beginning of the correspondence, there was a palpable power struggle between the more experienced Dr. Moore and Dr. Phillips, a family doctor since 1927. The collection is made up of Dr. Phillips’s patient records of Capone, so the letters are mainly from Dr. Moore but also included are official copies of the responses sent by Dr. Phillips, as such we get both sides of the story—eventually the doctors join together and share a common bond in dealing with the trying Capone family.

Immediately upon his official release from his 8-year-long stretch in prison, on November 16, 1939, Capone traveled to Baltimore to receive care from well-respected syphilis specialist Dr. Joseph Moore. For a case that far gone, only extreme heat, then issued in the form of malaria, could slow down the effects of mental decay caused by letting the syphilis he had contracted in his youth go untreated for decades. Capone underwent his second, and most successful version of this therapy thus far (the first ineffectual version occurred in Alcatraz) and stayed in Dr. Moore’s care for four months, until March 19, 1940.

Afterwards, Capone returned to his Palm Beach estate in Miami, Florida, then falling under the care of longtime doctor, Kenneth Phillips, who had been with the family all the way back to 1927, when he first began caring for Capone’s wife Mae, who also suffered from the disease. Dr. Phillips was hesitant to take on the case of the newly released mobster, realizing the public attention he would draw and the significant time the case would require, not to mention being responsible for such a daunting patient. Back in 1931, a young doctor at the time, Phillips was coerced into signing a false affidavit during Capone’s February 25 contempt trial, regarding Capone’s illness and additionally lying about his own accolades. The crumbling of his lies in a cross-examination brought his future reliability into questions, which is likely why he wanted to be kept out of the limelight entirely.

Neurosyphillis, caused by letting the venereal disease go untreated decades—anywhere from 10-20 years—is an infection that begins eating away at the brain. Symptoms include: confusion, dementia, depression, irritability, and visual disturbances. According to several sources, Capone originally contracted syphilis early on in his life. Despite, what one may think, the mob boss was quite young when he went away to prison, being only 33. Given the timeline, it would make sense that the chronic disease finally begin showing signs affecting his mental state during his time in prison.

On January 15, 1941, Dr. Moore wrote to Dr. Phillips, clearly summarizing his experiences with their common patient, and reiterating much of the good content of their correspondence: “Mr. Capone was first recognized as neurosyphilitic on the basis of Argyll-Robertson pupil [highly specific sign of neurosyphilis characterized by pupils which don’t properly react to light] on his admission to Atlanta Penetentiary in 1932. He was first recognized as paretic [partial loss of voluntary movement] in Alcatraz in February 1938, although there is reason to believe from the records that he had developed general paresis 6 months or longer before that date. He came under my observation first in November 1939…It seemed clear that at that time he had already had a paretic psychosis for at least two years and possibly for several months longer than two years. The treatment which had been given him prior to his admission to the Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore on November 17, 1939, had been inadequate, particularly as concerns fever therapy which was not attempted until August 1938, that is to say 6 months after he had first become recognizably (to the prison physicians) insane. This fever treatment given him in August 1938 was entirely inadequate.

At the time I first saw Mr. Capone in November 1939, his mental condition was characterized by boisterousness, physical and mental over-activity, various grandiose ideas, a marked tendency toward confabulation [unintentional, distorted memories of oneself and the world] and mental deterioration (with a Binet-Simon age of 7 years), euphoria, and lack of insight. From the physical standpoint the only discoverable neurologic abnormalities were in the eyes. The pupils were unequal, the right larger than the left. The right was typically Argyll-Robertson, the left reacted faintly and incompletely to light. The physical examination was otherwise normal except for slight diastolic hypertension, the blood pressure being 136/100. During December and the early part of January, 1939, the patient was treated with induced tertian malaria, in the course of which he was allowed to have 12 paroxysms of fever totaling 122 hours over 101 F. Since that time his treatment has been carried on uninterruptedly, first by myself and subsequently by you, with tryparsamide and bismuth. At the time he left Baltimore about March 30th, he had improved in a number of respects, and particularly his Binet-Simon age had increased from 7 years to 14 years and two months. At the present time he shows from the psychiatric standpoint some degree of continued improvement in the sense that he is now less overactive, the grandiose ideas and the confabulation have disappeared, and he has regained some degree of insight. However, he is still silly, childish, and mentally deteriorated. No accurate Binet-Simon evaluation was made of his mental age on the occasion of his last examination, but it seems quite clear that he has slipped slightly in his ability to calculate and to reason from his status of March 1940. The main psychiatric problem at the moment is one of increasing bouts of irritability directed occasionally against members of the family and occasionally against strangers….Enough time has now gone by with Mr. Capone for us to be quite sure that he will not regain his normal mental condition comparable to his status, let us say, in 1935, or 1936; but that the evidences of mental deterioration will persist. On the other hand, there are at least 4 chances out of 5 that he will remain in his present condition indefinitely.

Mrs. Capone, however, retains an undue amount of hope. She has I think the feeling that still further medical advice is still desirable…on the whole, however, I am inclined to feel that the wisest course to pursue is for us to try and persuade Mrs. Capone on the validity of our diagnosis and prognosis and to conserve the family resources for the long pull which remains ahead of them. The second major problem is that of the social adjustment of the patient to his environment. In the connection it is of prime importance to guard against outbursts of irritability which may affect other persons than members of the family. If, by any chance, Mr. Capone makes an unprovoked attack upon a stranger, he is very likely to find himself in Court for disturbing the peace and, as a result of that, to be recognized insane by the Judge and to be committed to a Florida psychiatric hospital.

To the end of prevention of such a disaster as this, several steps seem desirable: first, and perhaps most important, to avoid as much as possible contact of the patient with the public, and to permit him to appear in public at movies, ect only when he is accompanied by at least two male members of the family; second, to occupy him to an even greater extent than has been accomplished so far with some relatively simple form of work which will help to keep him out of public circulation. Two suggestions have been made in the connection: first, that his brother Ralph permit him to occupy himself with minor details of the local branch of the Waukesha Water Company, as for example an attempt at keeping a set of books; or second, that the family purchase one of the adjoining vacant plots of land and let the patient run it as his personal garden, either flower or vegetable.

Finally, in this same connection, the suggestion was renewed at our conversation in Miami that the patient might be safeguarded against public explosions and might at the same time be definitely helped by occupational therapy if there could be introduced into the household a thoroughly experienced and psychiatrically well trained male nurse. It is realized that the patient would not accept such a person as a nurse. He might, however, be willing to accept him in the guise of a chauffeur or companion…he should be willing to live with the Capone family on a 24 hour a day basis as a member of the household.”

This content-rich letter marked the end of the two doctors’ constant correspondence which had spanned 1940, the first year following his release from prison and in the care of Florida family physician, Dr. Phillips. The most critical time had passed and Capone was now stabilized, albeit confined to the home and forevermore restricted to the mental capacity of a teenager. The likely cause for the abrupt end of in-depth letters discussing Capone’s illness was Dr. Moore’s obtainment of copious amounts of elusive penicillin. According to Robert J. Schoenberg’s book Mr. Capone: The Real—and Complete Story of Al Capone, the mobster was “one of the first neuropsyphiltics to receive the war-scarce new miracle drug. It came too late to perform the miracle of curing Capone, but it prolonged remission of the disease’s more debilitating symptoms.”

Biographer Schoenberg additionally wrote that the final years of the mob boss’s life in Florida were long and lazy, and that “for much of each day Capone lounged in pajamas and robe, fishing from his pier, playing cards.” He spent his seemingly endless free time golfing, and going on “demure expositions” to local nightclubs, a far cry from his days of crime in Chicago. He occasionally threw a low-key party, though guests noted his markedly more reserved, quiet nature as opposed to his formally famous gregarious personality.

The archive comes to a close with an amazing piece of history—Capone’s medical chart, chronicling the final days leading up to his death on January 25, 1947. Though the official typed front identifies the patient as Alphonse Capone, the detailed three pages of handwritten notes inside use his alias, “Mr. Al Brown.” The records begin on January 21, when at “3:30 a.m. the wife was awakened by a loud and sterterous type of breathing,” convulsions and partial paralysis followed. On January 24, the chart reads “Considerable bronchial spasm has ensued…in spite of practically continuous O2, Penicillin in the amount of 6,000,000 units by injection and inhalation, heart support by Digitalis and Coramine the condition steadily grew worse. Dr. Arthur Logie called in consultation confirming both the pneumonia and failing heart. He became sufficiently conscious to recognize attendants several times but at 7:25 p.m. this day with no prewarning whatsoever he expired [date handwritten in border 1/25/47]. Death certificate signed: Primary cause Bronchial Pneumonia 48 hours contributing apoplexy 4 days.”

The importance of the behind-the-scenes secrets this archive reveals cannot be understated. The fact that this infamous mobster—perhaps the most recognizable of all time—considered the bootlegging mastermind of the roaring 20s, was later reduced to the mental capacity of an adolescent is almost inconceivable. The included letter handwritten by the mobster is eye-opening and clearly attests to his childlike vocabulary and manner of speech: “Here is your friend Al Capone, writing you this letter from here.” In addition to the invaluable private information the archive contains, the extreme rarity of Capone autographed material in and of itself is considerable. This collection boasts not only an essentially nonexistent, crisply penned handwritten letter—which research indicates is the only one ever to appear at auction—but also an exceedingly scarce signed photo, each preserved in pristine condition. This archive as a whole is a collector’s dream, both autographically and historically—a virtual novella could be published with the copious personal details it contains. No item even broaching its profound significance in mobster history has ever come to market. RR Auction COA.

http://www.rrauction.com/bidtracker_detail.cfm?IN=2127

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Al Capone

 

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RR Auction Ralph Capone “All Capone Brother” Memphis Finger Print Card

RR Auction  Ralph CaponeOlder brother of Al Capone who was once named ‘Public Enemy Number Three’ and nicknamed ‘Bottles’ because he ran the Chicago bottling operation (1894–1974). Memphis police department identification card, one page both sides, 8 x 8, February 5, 1928, bearing Capone’s fingerprints individually as well as prints of all fingers simultaneously, signed at the bottom in black ink, “Ralph J. Capone.” Opposite side bears typed information about Capone, including name and aliases, height, weight, tattoos, and charges, as well as an affixed mug shot. Moderate overall creases, various edge chips and tears (one affecting the signature), a few affixed pieces of toned tape, and various notations, otherwise very good condition. RR Auction COA.

 

 

http://www.rrauction.com/bidtracker_detail.cfm?IN=237

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Al Capone, Ralph Capone

 

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RR Auction Al Capone Deposition Typed Deposition Signed

RR Auction Al Capone DepositionTyped deposition signed an unbelievable four times, “Alphonse Capone,” once on each page of a four-page transcript of Capone’s interrogation by police in their investigation of the attempted murder of his former mentor and crime associate John Torrio, dated January 24, 1925. Capone’s deposition is contained within 50 pages of police interviews, testimony, and notes in the case, each signed by the witness, two of whom include Capone’s chauffeur, Robert Barton and his accountant, Jake Gusick.

The first page provides the facts surrounding the shooting stating that it took place at 3:30 P.M. at 7011 Clyde Avenue. Page states Torrio had “3 superficial gun shot wounds,” with the cause stating “While alighting from his automobile from the front of the above address was assaulted by three men, two of the men fired several shots at him, causing above injuries. The assailants then jumped into a dark cadillac touring car.” Capone’s police interrogation took place the same day as Torrio’s near fatal shooting.

Capone’s statement is captioned: “Statement of Alphonse Caponi [sic]. 7244 Prairie Avenue…relative to the shooting of John Torrio…about 3:30 P.M. Jan 24th, 1925.” Highlights of the interrogation are as follows: “Q. What is your business? A. Furniture business. 2224 Wabash Ave. Q. What is [the] name of store? A. Antique furniture. No name to store…Q. How long do you know John Torrio? A. About three years. Q. Where did you meet him.? A. In Chicago, at the Race Track, I met him at the Bennie Leonard fight in East Chicago, about three years ago….Q. Do you know any of the Costello in New York? A. Yes, Frank.…Q. How did you happen to know Frank Costello? A. I met him in a restaurant at 7th and Broadway.…Q. Were you ever in trouble in New York? A. No…. Q. How many times were you arrested in Chicago? A. Everytime something happens I get arrested. Q. You do know Johnny Torrio, three years? A. Yes. Q. What time today did you hear he was shot? A. About six o’clock. Q. Where were you when you heard of it? I was going over to buy a couple of tickets for the White Cargo. A. I heard it in Al Bloom’s cigar store, first, everyone was talking about it. Q. What did you do when you heard of it? A. I called the hospital…Q. You got to the room where Torrio was? A. Yes. Q. Did you talk to him in Italian? A. No.…Q. Did he tell you who did it, or did you ask him who did it? A. I did not ask him and he did not tell me because he was in no condition to talk. Q. Would [you] have any idea who did it? A. No. Q. Would you tell us if you did know who did it? A. No, I value my life too much to tell if I did know…. Q. Can you give any reason for the shooting? A. No I cannot. Q. This statement is true and if you were called to testify this would be your statement and you will be willing to sign this statement? A. Yes, sir.”

Another interesting page is a memo from a captain to the Deputy Supt.of Police concerning witness Peter Veesart, dated March 4, 1925. In part: “Took Peter Veesart…to the B. of I. And he picked out the above named man, Chief of Detectives Schoemaker…arrested George Gage alias Moran and brought him to the 5th district where he was identified by Peter Veesart…as one of the men that done the shooting On that day. The prisoner was also brought to the Jackson Park Hospital where he was viewed by Johnny Torrio and his wife and they stated that he was not one of the men that done the shooting…Had three other witnesses to the shooting view George Gage alias Moran and they state that he resembled the man that done the shooting from the rear of the car on that day.” A large blue pencil notation at the bottom of the page indicates Veesart “after leaving jail at Wheaton, Ill., left the country refuses to identify anyone.” The final page of the report is a memo to the Chief of Detectives requesting “that the attached picture of George Gage alias George Moran is wanted in connection with the shooting of Johnny Torrio…who was shot in front of his home.”

In very good and slightly fragile condition, with uniform toning to pages, staple holes to top edges, scattered chips and areas of paper loss to the edges, and some mounting remnants to top edges of opening and closing pages.

The victim, John Torrio, was Capone’s mentor and sponsor in their previous criminal activities with the Five Points Gang in Brooklyn, where both had grown up. When Torrio moved to Chicago to manage a string of brothels for ‘Big Jim’ Colosimo, he brought along his protege, Capone. Torrio took over the empire after the murder of Colosimo; meanwhile Capone moved into the enormously lucrative bootleg whiskey business. Dion O’Bannion, an Irish mobster, and his lieutenant, Earl ‘Hymie’ Weiss, became their chief rivals. Conflicts between them escalated and in November 1924, O’Bannion was shot to death. On January 24, 1925, Weiss, with his sidekicks ‘Bugs’ Moran, Vincent Drucci and Frank Gusenberg, seeking revenge, came upon Torrio and his wife unloading packages in front of his home. Torrio fell in a hail of bullets, but Moran’s gun either jammed or he ran out of ammunition as he was about to deliver a shot to Torrio’s head. When Torrio eventually recovered, he fled to Italy, leaving Capone the undisputed boss of Chicago crime, a position he enjoyed until he was convicted of tax fraud and finally jailed.

Information was virtually impossible to collect in regard to the shooting. The few witnesses seemed fearful; none would conclusively identify the gunmen, although Moran was initially fingered. Even Torrio, when Earl Weiss and Vincent Drucci were brought into his hospital room, refused to identify them as being party to his shooting. A remarkable archive providing a vivid and compelling first-hand view of the methods perfected by Capone which rapidly propelled him to the pinnacle of the underworld.

Provenance: Jerome Shochet Collection Robert Batchelder, Catalogue 84, item 241 Christies, Sale 7888, May 20, 1994

http://www.rrauction.com/bidtracker_detail.cfm?IN=236

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2013 in Al Capone

 

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RR Autograph Auction Al Capone Rosary

RR Autograph Auction Al Capone Rosary

Al Capone’s personally-owned and used rosary center. This white plastic rosary center measures approximately 1.5″ x 2.25″, with the Our Father in raised letters on one side and the Hail Mary on the reverse. Capone carried this rosary with him while in prison from 1932–1939, including almost five years at Alcatraz. Provenance: Butterfields 2000.

 

 http://www.rrauction.com/bidtracker_detail.cfm?IN=108

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Al Capone

 

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