Among all the pictures of evil, that of Al Capone occupies a prominent place in the narrative of ignominy.
Although Scarface (due to his scars on his face) is credited with the murder of a string of people, he ended up in the infamous Alcatraz prison. for tax evasion.
One thing that surprises when visiting that jail, known as La Roca, in San Francisco Bay, consists of discovering details of the existence of the cataloged as a gangster of all gangsters.
Al Capone had sensitivity and a romantic streak. He loved music. He wrote love songs and played the mandolin. No, it is not a euphemism for the submachine gun. He handled the mandolin and the banjo.
Some of Al Capone’s personalized items. AFP photo
Alcatraz closed in 1963 and today it can be visited. In their archives they keep photographs in which Al Capone, a music lover with a taste for opera and jazz, appears armed with one of those musical instruments, surrounded by the other members of the prison band with which they animated Sunday evenings. The meaning of band acquires a double meaning, that of a group of musicians and gangsters.
Photographs of that style, in black and white with a tendency to sepia, will go on sale this Friday at an auction to be held in Sacramento, the Californian capital. The initiative corresponds to the granddaughters Capone. Beyond money and the fear that the usual fires in California, where they reside, will destroy that treasure, they also seek to humanize grandfather.
The event has been titled A century of notoriety, Al Capone’s heritage and offers 174 objects that were his property. When he died in 1947, everything became the property of Mae, the widow, who passed it on to her only son, Sonny, and this one to her four granddaughters.
The pantheon’s sterling silver tea service and furnishings. AFP photo
Pistols go up for auction (the Colt 45 he called “my heart” is the most valued, $ 145,000 output); pocket watches (the Patek Philippe in platinum and diamonds, $ 25,000 to $ 50,000); pocket knives, various jewelry and even furniture.
But the elements that Diane Capone, the granddaughter who acts as spokesperson, stands out the most are those from the inside. Those images of the mobster with his son or the family reunion after Papa’s left Alcatraz, or a letter that he sent from the prison to his son.
“It is an endearing letter that shows a face that most people do not know, those are not the words of a ruthless gangsterbut those of a loving father”, He assured in the ABC chain.
Capone’s Colt pistol, a semi-automatic model 1908 without hammer. AFP photo
“There is no doubt that my grandfather’s name is synonymous with Chicago’s criminal history,” he acknowledged. “As an adult woman I found that there was very little information about his private life, his person and his family ”, so in 2019 he published a book.
“He wasn’t just a villain,” he said. Descendants of their victims should be asked.