Al Capone's Favorite Gun Up For Auction

(AP Photo/File)

Few figures capture the public’s imagination quite like Al Capone. The notorious mobster has been portrayed in a number of films, TV shows, and novels. He’s even had several songs written about him. For a notorious killer, he made an impact.

Now, his family is putting a number of his belongings up for auction, including what they claim was his favorite gun.

The surviving granddaughters of Alphonse “Al” Capone, one of the country’s most notorious gangsters, are auctioning off a slew of the mob boss’ treasures that include his “favorite” gun and letters to his son he wrote from prison.

Among the more eye-popping items listed in the collection is the ruthless racketeer’s “favorite” gun, a Colt .45 pistol that’s been passed down through the generations of Capone’s descendants and will start bidding at $50,000.

They don’t make them like that one anymore, either.

Now, I’m not a big fan of celebrating criminals. I think one of the best things you can do is make it a point to forget as many of these people as humanly possible.

However, Capone was different. While he was a violent sociopath, the mob was a huge part of American culture during the era. Prohibition was in effect that those that supplied illegal liquor were huge. Capone is probably the most recognizable name from the era.

We couldn’t ignore Capone if we tried.

The fact that a gun that was supposed to be his favorite–but has been verified as having been his, at least–being up for auction is a bonanza for some lucky collector. I wish I could buy it myself. Something like this would be quite the piece to build a historic collection around.

And yet, there are those who would actually prefer we not be able to even collect bits of our history. They’re so vehemently anti-gun that they’re offended an auction like this is even allowed to take place. It shouldn’t, in their mind, because guns are evil.

Oh, the problem for them isn’t Al Capone. They’re fine with selling off other bits and bobs from the gangster’s life. No, it’s just the evil of the gun.

Yet that gun tells us a lot about the era. The beautifully engraved 1911 is the kind of thing that was once pretty common but has become rarer and rarer in the years since. We don’t celebrate beauty in our guns anymore. Yet that’s true of so much else from the era as well when you think about it.

Luckily, those who would object to the sale aren’t likely to get much of a say. The auction is going to happen and some lucky schmuck is going to walk away with a piece of history. A beautiful piece, too.

I have all kinds of unkind things to say about the kind of person who buys such a piece, but it’s important to understand that each and every one of those comments is motivated by pure jealousy because it won’t be me.

Good luck to whoever buys it, though.