Up for Auction: Al Capone’s Platinum and Diamond-Studded Pocket WatchBy Sumit Nag
Auction announcements in recent days have been buoyed by the mention of famous names and their personal watches coming under the hammer. Or maybe that was just the massive news of Paul Newman’s “Paul Newman” just last week. But what about an infamous name?
Boston based, rrauction.com has announced a themed sale going by the name, the Gangsters, Outlaws, and Lawmen Auction, which will begin on the 15th of June and receive bids right through to the 24th. Among the 131 items gathered for the sale, which include a variety of personal effects, mug shots and rare documents, is a curiously art-deco styled, triangular pocket watch that was apparently the property of Prohibition era mob boss, Al Capone.
Alphonse Gabriel Capone, was a Brooklyn born Italian American gangster who moved to Chicago in his early 20s and erm, worked, his way up the ranks to lead the organized crime syndicate, Chicago Outfit for seven of its bloodiest years.
His influence garnered him nicknames such as Scarface, Big Al, Big Boy and, most famously, Public Enemy No. 1. The authorities eventually made it a mission to incarcerate the man in 1931 and finally managed to do so on the grounds of tax evasion.
Capone was sentenced to 11 years behind bars, but was released after 8 in light of failing health. He then passed away in 1947 due to cardiac arrest.
But back to the watch in question. We are able to ascertain its authenticity due to an affidavit provided by Eric Griese, the great-grandson of Al Capone. He received several personal effects of Capone’s from his mother, Barbara Prince, who was instructed to pass on the items to Eric by her father, Albert Francis ‘Sonny’ Capone — the only child of Al Capone.
The watch, perhaps, shows a different side of Capone’s who was known to have desired to be identified by his friends more as a well-dressed gent rather than a criminal mastermind.
The Illinois Watch, Springfield timepiece is believed to have been produced between 1928 and 1929. Its platinum case measures about 39mm x 45mm and is set with 72 diamonds along its bezel. The back of the watch bears the initials “AC” formed out of 23 diamonds with another 26 diamonds encircle the letters. It even comes with its original 14k white gold chain.
Listed as lot #2105, the watch is estimated to go above USD25,000. For details and to view other lots from the auction, click here.