1930s Letter Shows Al Capone Was a Big Softie

At least when it came to his son, 'Sonny' Capone
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 23, 2016 11:42 AM CDT
1930s Letter Shows Al Capone Was a Big Softie
This Jan. 19, 1931, file photo shows Chicago mobster Al Capone at a football game.   (Uncredited)

Did notorious gangster Al Capone have a soft spot? An intimate letter he penned from prison suggests so. The three-page letter, which being auctioned off next week, is addressed to Capone's son, Albert "Sonny" Capone. The mobster signed it, "Love & Kisses, Your Dear Dad Alphonse Capone #85" (his number at the Alcatraz prison), the AP reports. "Well heart of mine, sure hope things come our way for next year, then I'll be there in your arms," Capone wrote. "It's an exceedingly rare personal letter showing the softer side of the notorious gangster," says the executive VP of RR Auction, which is handling Monday's auction in Cambridge, Mass., and expects the note to fetch around $50,000.

The legendary Brooklyn-born mobster, who ruled gangland Chicago during Prohibition, was charged with income tax evasion in 1931; he was convicted and sentenced to 11 years in prison, much of which he spent at Alcatraz. He was released from prison in 1939; riddled with syphilis, he suffered a stroke and died in 1947 at age 48. Though the letter to his then-college-aged son is dated only "Jan 16th," experts say he likely wrote it in 1938, four years after he transferred to Alcatraz. In a somewhat surprisingly cheerful tone, his letter describes the daily grind in prison, which Capone tried to relieve by playing banjo and mandola. Capone ended the letter encouraging his son to stay strong: "Well Sonny keep up your chin, and don't worry about your dear Dad, and when again you [are] allowed a vacation, I want you and your dear Mother to come here together, as I sure would love to see you." Read more from the letter here. (More Al Capone stories.)

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