Why not take on some money from the mob? It's all in a good cause...

Regular readers of the site will know that there are occasions when a selection of intriguing collectibles can come onto the market as a result of their being confiscated from a criminal by the government.

Bernie Madoff is the most famous example of this in recent times with various fine wines, artworks and watches which belonged to the fraudster going under the hammer - though even ordinary clothing of his such as his underwear and slippers became valuable as memorabilia.

Other criminals, such as the Unabomber, are guilty of even more serious crimes than Madoff, and so it is with Frank Calabrese Sr, a mob killer sentenced in 2009 for killing 13 people. As well as a life sentence, Calabrese was ordered to pay $4m to his victims' families.

As the money has not been forthcoming, authorities have opted to facilitate the process by selling off his assets. A raid on the basement of his Oak Brook home revealed substantial sums of cash but also high quality jewellery and banknote collections.

$1000 1934 banknote
It could buy you a lot of groceries... the $1000 1934 banknote

Gaston & Sheehan are selling the rare $500 and $1,000 bills in an online auction which closes tomorrow. Although they are still legal tender, the bills date to 1934 and are worth more to many than their face value, especially as these are in excellent condition.

Some of the bills have already received bids of double their official value and in total the bills are expected to raise $125,000 to $150,000, which should at least make a good dent in the restitution costs. The auction ends in 24 hours' time (at 3.34pm CT).


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