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    Description

    1929 Al Capone Signed & Fingerprinted Police Booking Card. It was just three months after the horror of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre that law enforcement got its first significant victory in the battle against Al Capone. The news of the February 14, 1929 slaughter of seven rival gangsters by Capone enforcers dressed as policemen and armed with machine guns horrified the nation, and amplified the volume of calls for Capone's arrest. But without solid evidence to connect the famed Chicago crime lord to the slayings, authorities turned to other methods to get Capone off the streets.

    That opportunity came as Capone left a Chicago courtroom after testifying to a grand jury tasked with the investigation of violations of federal prohibition laws. A search of Capone revealed a concealed weapon, and sixteen hours after his arrest he was convicted and sentenced to a prison term of what would amount to ten months at Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary.

    It has since been theorized that Capone himself orchestrated this arrest, fearful that the intense spotlight thrown upon his syndicate by the St. Valentine's Day Massacre put his own life in peril by fellow gangsters feeling the heat. The murder of three of his own capos for disloyalty likewise left Capone in fear of retribution from within his own ranks. Prison, it seemed, was the lesser of two evils.

    It is from that arrest and conviction that the provided relic derives, the booking sheet for the most famous gangster in American history, bearing his fingerprints and one of approximately ten known authentic Capone signatures that survive to this day. One could safely consider this to be the finest Capone artifact available within the public domain.

    We should stress that an earlier owner of this booking sheet reached out to the Philadelphia city archives, the Eastern State Penitentiary, the Philadelphia Police Department, Legal Counsel of the Philadelphia Police Commissioner's office and the FBI to ensure that clear title could be passed, as other law enforcement documents (like John Dillinger's booking sheet) have been successfully contested and removed from auction. All law enforcement agencies have confirmed that this Capone example is free and clear.

    The single page document measures approximately eight inches square (8x8"), the obverse bearing two sets of Capone's fingerprints--both individually and in groups of four at the bottom--and, above them, the finest "Alphonse Capone" autograph known, rating a perfect 10/10 in bold, black fountain pen ink. Below his signature the booking officer records various personal details, including residence of "Chicago, Ill" and occupation of "Real Estate." He dates the booking to "5-17-29."

    The card displays a heavy vertical fold line that is neatly split at the top, running through Capone's surname but to no significant effect. Our catalog imagery should properly convey that the flaw is barely noticeable. Other scattered wrinkles and creases are likewise of small concern, and must be forgiven in light of the tremendous scarcity and importance of this elite relic of Prohibition-era gangsterdom. A Capone booking sheet from 1929 is the crime world equivalent of a 1927 Babe Ruth contract, each the prime document from his respective year of greatest fame, or greatest ignominy. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.


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    Auction Dates
    May, 2016
    12th-14th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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