Al Capone is remembered as being the classic American mobster, and recreated in various movies with pinstripe suits and an angled fedora.
|Recreation of the infamous St Valentine's day massacre|
Operating in Chicago primarily from the early 1920s to 1931 (when Prohibition was in force) his gang mostly smuggled liquor, and became involved in increasingly violent turf wars over the trade including the Valentine's Day Massacre.
"You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." Capone was once quoted as saying (referred to in Forbes, 1986).
Famously, the authorities decided to pursue him on tax evasion charges as they were concerned that the evidence might not be strong enough to convict him of responsibility for his bloodier crimes.
Last year, a Colt Police Positive .38 Special revolver owned by Capone, and used by him alone during his lifetime before passing to his brother Ralph 'Bottles' Capone. This is confirmed by a letter from Ralph's wife.
The weapon was sold by Alexander Autographs in October 2010 for a relatively modest $20,000 - not that it was a weak sale for the company, which also sold Wyatt Earp's sketch of the infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral for a stunning $380,000 - but it looked like something of a bargain.
Now, the gun's new owner appears to have put their mind to doing just that, as the revolver is going under the hammer at Christie's in London with a considerably more ambitious estimate: £50,000-70,000 ($80,750 - $113,050).
This would perhaps be more in keeping with notorious shooters at auction:
In December, 1991 Jack Ruby's Colt Cobra .38 Special, the gun used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald, was sold at auction for in excess of $200,000, and Buffalo Bill's pistol sold in 1998 for in excess of $120,000. In 2009 John Dillinger's derringer fetched $96,000 at auction.
Collectibles can make excellent tangible investments over time, but it's not unheard of for collectors to re-sell almost immediately at a significant profit. The Capone revolver goes up for sale on June 22. Watch this space for more news of the exciting auction.
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