A rare handwritten letter showing the softer side of gangster Al Capone is up for sale with an estimate of more than $50,000.
Chicago crime boss Capone wrote the letter whilst at Alcatraz, where he spent five years incarcerated for tax evasion.
Having originally been convicted and imprisoned in Atlanta in 1932, he was sent to Alcatraz in 1934, and spent the last years of his sentence in the prison hospital, suffering from the advanced effects of neurosyphilis
Addressed to his son Albert Francis ‘Sonny’ Capone, who was away studying at the University of Miami, the letter is believed to have been written in 1938 near the end of Capone’s sentence.
It shows Capone’s more compassionate side as a loving father, rather than the man who organized the murder of seven men in broad daylight during the St Valentine’s Day Massascre.
The letter reads in part:
“Well Son, here is your dear Dad, with a letter for you, and pray to God, it will find you, in perfect health…Junior keep up the way you are doing, and don’t let nothing get you down…
"Well Sonny keep up your chin, and don’t worry about your dear Dad, and when again you allowed a vacation, I want you and your dear Mother to come here together, as I sure would love to see you and Maggie…
"…please do not worry, as when you see me again, you sure will be surprised, in fact Junior I am 7 1/2 pounds under 200 Ha Ha, and in good shape, my routine here is Morning Yard, I mean the amusement Yard, Baseball, Horseshoes Courts, and Hand-ball courts, Checkers and Dominoes…
"…please don’t forget Son, that whatever you ask for, it will be done irregardless…I know Maggie gets out to your College suite often, as that sure breaks up the old Blues, and when you see her again give her a couple dozen kisses Capone style and a first class hug…God bless you my dear Son, and it’s short time Son, I will be with you in less than a ye
In the letter Capone also talks extensively about playing songs on his mandola, a string instrument he learned whilst in prison. Capone lobbied the warden of Alcatraz to allow inmates to play music, and later started a short-lived prison band called The Rock Islanders, which featured George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly on the drums.
The letter is amongst a catalogue of fascinating historic artefacts on offer in the RR Auction Remarkable rarities sale, which also features a letter written by outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow to one of their former gang members, estimated at $40,000 – $60,000.
Further notable and notorious lots include two rare items bearing the signatures of Presidential assassins: a nine-page open letter to the American people by Charles Guiteau, the man who shot President James Garfield in 1881; and a signed ‘Fair Play for Cuba Committee’ membership card which once belonged to JFK’s killer Lee Harvey Oswald.
Live bidding in the RR Auction Remarkable Rarities sale takes place on Monday September 26.