My Al Capone Museum | home
MY AL CAPONE MUSEUM | F.A.Q.'S | Al Capone's Personal Telephone | Al Capone's Personal Straw Boater | Al Capone Framed Signature | Al Capone's light fixtures | Al Capone's Silver Tray | SVD Massacre bullet fragments | Interesting items retrieved from Al Capone's Lexington office suite and hallway | Alton Hotel Relics | 7244 Prairie Avenue | 93 Palm Avenue | 93 Palm Avenue Part 2 | 93 Palm Avenue Part 3 | 93 Palm Avenue Part 4 | New 93 Palm Avenue home | New Palm Avenue home Part 2 | Artifacts from 93 Palm Avenue | The Capone era Cicero, Illinois | The Four Deuces (2222 South Wabash) | Al Capone's Bathroom Tile From The Lexington Hotel | Inside The Lexington Hotel | Geraldo's Capone Vault Grand Opening | Lexington's Destruction | X Marks the Spot magazine | Capone Magazines and Booklets | Capone Videos | Capone Books | Knick Knacks | Capone's Chicago | Chicago photos | Capone Documents | Capone Photographs | Capone Photographs 2 | Capone Photographs 3 | My History channel Shoot | Gravesites | Gravesites 2 | Capone at the Ballpark | Al Capone's Funeral | The St. Valentine's Day Massacre | The Massacre Pt.2 | Massacre Victim's Stats. | Massacre News blurbs | Some Theories on the Valentine Massacre | Discounted Valentine Massacre theories | Valentine Killers? | The St. Valentine's Day Massacre Wall bricks | The St. Valentine Massacre guns today | The Infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre forensic evidence | The Adonis Social Club Incident | When, Where and How did they die? | Mugshots | Gangster facts and side stories | The Obituaries | Gangster talk | Gangster Molls | William Hale Thompson | Gangland Armourers | The Chicago Typewriter | Gangster Hitspots | Mae Capone | Louise Rolfe | Alberto Anselmi and Giovanni Scalise | Frank Parker | William Niemoth | Jack Guzik | Samuel "Golf bag"Hunt | Jake Lingle | Frankie Yale | Samoots Ammatuna | Jack Zuta | Leo Vincent Brothers | Edward David Vogel | Johnny Torrio | Joe E. Lewis | Rocco DeGrazia | Machine Gun Jack McGurn | Willie Heeney | James "Fur" Sammons | Jack "Three fingered" White | George "Red" Barker | Anthony "Tough Tony" Capezio | Frank Nitti | Dean Charles O'Banion | Samuel Morton | George Clarence Moran | Hymie Weiss | Vincent "The Schemer" Drucci | Fred "Killer" Burke | Fred Goetz | Joe Aiello | Edward "Spike" O'Donnell | The Genna brothers | Angelo La Mantia | Frank Rio | Ragtime Joe Howard | Hinky Dink and Bathouse John | Sol Van Praag | Theodore "The Greek" Anton | Joseph P. Bergl | Daniel "Danny" Stanton | Edward Tancl | Al Capone's tax trial and downfall | Al in Jail | Mario Gomes | Bill Helmer | Rose Keefe | Daniel Waugh | John J. Binder | Allan R.May | Rick Mattix | Robert Gallo as Al Capone | Mr. Joe Walters | Gangster articles | Newspapers of the day | Newspapers part Two | Newspapers Part Three | Newspapers Part Four | The Green Mill | Colosimo's | Alcatraz | Alcatraz Part 2 | Al Capone goes to Baltimore | Gangster sites today | Gangster Sites part 2 | Dead Gangsters | Origins of the Scars | Collecting Al Capone? | The truth about Al Capone's signature | Al Capone and other Gangster related books | In Memoriam | Links | Contact Me
Collecting Al Capone?
Sadly, today there is alot of fake stuff showing up on ebay. Some with no provenance at all, so buyer beware. Take time to do some research. It's your hard earned money!
This webpage came about through the overabundant emails I have received about collecting Al Capone. I have gotten many emails on people getting items that weren't what they expected. Hopefully this will help someone one day and of course will avoid me replying the same song in my emails to future collectors inquiring.
The typical emails I get ask where to find Al Capone related items.
Most emails are unrealistic as they expect a real authentic item to be cheap.
That's the key. You will never find an authentic item with solid provenance going cheap! period!
And on the same token, that doesn't give the right for someone to rape your wallet in selling something that is authentic.
Unfortunately, there is greed in every walk of life.
Can I find authentic stuff on ebay? Sure!!! Absolutely!!!
Although few and far between, it does happen.You just have to know what to look for and be very, very patient.
I recently got an email from a fellow who bought an Al Capone signature. I verified it at first glance and I'm very sure it's authentic.
Although authentic, it will never sell high because as explained in another webpage here, a Capone signature is worth more when it's on a legal document, police record or bank check etc...
Documented signatures and items are very worthy. You need provenance.
Let's face it! Today anyone can even make a coa (certificate of authenticity) or notarize a paper. Even some reknowned autograph authenticators names (Frangipani and DiMaggio) have been forged to peddle the fakes.
Also stay away from overseas signatures!!! Too much forgeries! I have even seen signatures from overseas, in which the crafty devils take blank pages of a 1920 ledger or book, and use an old fountain pen with brown ink in order to forge the Al Capone name.
Got an email from a dear lady who got hoodwinked into believing she had an authentic Colosimo item.
The ebay seller had twisted the words just right into making her believe that it was an authentic Colosimo matchbook printed with Al Capone as manager.
Once she found out it was a dud, she tried to get her money back.The seller would not budge. She lost a few dollars, but there were others and at higher prices.
I had once seen a poor sap lay down $250 on one at ebay.
Jim Colosimo's cafe novelty matchbook.
Novelty matchbook. Many of these are up on Ebay and many people unknowingly dish out hundreds for them much to the delight of sellers. Please be aware that these never existed as originals, and were simply a novelty Item to promote a place called the Gaslight restaurant. They were around in the late 40's and 50'S They were reprinted in the 60's and 70's. Their total worth in pristine condition as a novelty item is $15 dollars tops!
Al Capone would never in a million years accept that his name be put on matchbooks showing that he was a manager. (Proof of employment). That would have lead him to the slammer faster, since he had paid no income tax.
Real Colosimo matchbooks are plain, with no mention of stars and employees. Ask yourself this question, Stars names that appeared there changed weekly, so why would Colosimo's print up costly matchbooks for one event?
Now, I would never disparage the good name of any Autograph auctioneers or Ebay sellers. They are good at what they do.
They must hold their name up to high standards to have their solid reputations make them profits. Unfortunately, as in everything, there are a few bad ones.
But isn't he a reputable dealer?
That does not make them infallable, that of which I'll get to in a minute.
I once had an authentic sig from a Capone relative who had various photos for sale. They didn't want to sell them outright and wanted them put up for auction. They asked for my help and I kindly directed them and their Capone photos over to a very reputable auctioneer (HCA Auctions) who was respectful and didn't overprice things. As a thank-you for sending them to this auctioneer, Al's relative gave me a sig and two photos of Al.
I even purchased a photo of Al and Theresa that came from them that was at this auction.
I decided to offer as an experiment, the sig to another online auction house. Guess what? They claimed it was as fake!!!! LOL!
So you see where they are not infallable. This same auction house was later selling another item that HCA auctions originally had sold for the Capone relative, but now it was at 7 times the price. The item also had no provenance ( I knew exactly where it came from and from which relative).
So the item had done a total of three auctions before it ended up in a private collector's hands.
That's another thing that irks me. Nothing wrong with making a profit, but it's sad to see some people who simply buy these Capone historical collectibles just to sell them immediately in order to make a profit and at an over inflated price. They really don't care about the significance of the item.
One thing to point out. You will never see a warehouse load of Capone items for sale without mention of it in the news. If you start seeing items come out of the wood work at a cheap price and with no provenance, then that's good reason to stay away. If they were real items with any shred of authentic provenance or at least a contact name from whence it came, then you better believe that they would be showing the documents in order for the price to shoot up in their favor. If the price is way low and there is no provenance, then it can be later used as their defence that at such a low starting price, what did you really expect? Something real?
If you google the persons name who signs the COA and come up with zilch then this pretty much tells you that it's not very reputable. It's your hard earned money, so question, question, question! We sure would all love to own an authentic item that's somehow linked to the historical Al Capone. I got an email from another person which pretty much is the same as the all others I got in the past.
I got a brass lamp that Al Capone supposedly gave to my grandmother when she did a favor for something etc....
How much is it worth?
My answer? No provenance or photos or paper work. What does this make it? Just a brass lamp! And it's worth only what an antique brass lamp is worth. The Capone tie-in just doesn't make it worth more because it's just not there. If you have no provenance, then you would be dishonest in representing it as such.
Example of Authenticity: I have the silver plated serving tray from Capone's mansion. The Florida mansion was bought by Thomas Warren Miller from Mae with all the contents inside the Palm Isle residence. I had purchased it from HCA auctions and the paperwork and research was there. I could follow who had it before and what other auction house had it in their catalog. Is it worth millions? Hell no!! and it never will! If I ever would sell it, I would never gouge the next guy who I know must like this stuff as much as I do.
This collection of items that I have amassed over the years was never about money or profits for me. I really care about this stuff and what it means (Preserving history).
I saw some Lexington Hotel bricks on sale for a couple of hundred dollars, Is it worth it?
Hell no! Why? you may ask? Well, the reasoning is that the only things worth that amount of money is the construction material taken out of Al Capone's office.
Example: bathroom tiles, the wood parquet floor from his office with the initials A.C. in it, lighting fixtures, toilet seat, wallpaper etc...Starting in the 1980's, that office was pretty much picked clean by 1995. The hotel was and is no doubt historic, but when you figure that the building was ten stories high and about ten stories wide, then that gives you a good estimation of how many bricks are out there. Way too many!! So actually not so rare. Worth about $15 to $30 a piece (whole bricks).
Don't discourage and keep at it. Items are there, though far apart. I was lucky with Capone objects as the people I dealt with were very honest and their provenance was beyond reproach so don't dismay as there are still a lot of good guys out there! It took me twenty years and many mistakes along the way to see my first real signature. Took another couple to buy one. The guy was very honest and didn't gouge me. I've seen alot of fakes before that. There are alot out there who will give you a fair price for something authentic. Better to save up for something authentic than to squander your money on many low priced knick knack "iffy" items that later turn out to be duds and have no resale value! That is unless you make up stuff as they did, which to me is just not right.
Remember that if you ever get taken, it's at least a good lesson for the next time.
First Posted March 2008