Al Capone’s affectionate letter to son shows mobster’s humanity

In the letter, which sold for $62,500 at auction on Monday, the notorious mobster tells his son, 'keep up the way you are doing, and don’t let nothing get you down.'

File/AP
Chicago mobster Al Capone enjoys a football game, Jan. 19, 1931. An intimate letter gangster Capone wrote while imprisoned at Alcatraz has sold at auction in Massachusetts. Boston-based RR Auction said the winning bid came Sept. 26, 2016, at an auction in Cambridge.

An intimate letter gangster Al Capone wrote while imprisoned at Alcatraz has sold at auction in Massachusetts for $62,500.

Boston-based RR Auction says the winning bid came Monday at an auction in Cambridge. The buyer is a collector from the Chicago area who wishes to remain anonymous.

Auctioneers had expected the letter to fetch around $50,000.

The three-page letter was addressed to Capone's son, Albert "Sonny" Capone. The mobster signed it, "Love & Kisses, Your Dear Dad Alphonse Capone #85," which was his number at Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay.

Experts say it shows the notorious mobster who ruled gangland Chicago during Prohibition had a soft side.

An excerpt from the letter as posted on RR Auction:

Well Son, here is your dear Dad, with a letter for you, and pray to God, it will find you, in perfect health…Junior keep up the way you are doing, and don’t let nothing get you down. When you get the blues, Sonny, put on one of the records with songs I wrote you about to Ma, to you, which I sure go to town playing them and about 500 more on my Mandola, I also have to transpose my music, from Piano Copy, as the Music people don’t print Music for the Mandola, So I…transpose to one key to another. Sonny I got a Song like Rainbow on the River, that was sung by Bobby Breen, in the Rainbow on the River picture, I sure hope you seen it as we saw it out here, now what I mean by transposing is the Song, Rainbow on the River, was in the Key of 3b, I have to transpose it down to 1b and Son of mine when I come home, I will play not only that song, but about 500 more, and all mostly Theme Songs from the best Shows. In other words Junior, there isn’t a Song written that I can’t play. You know my Mandola is got eight strings, and tuned exactly as the Tenor Banjo A-D-C-G. The only difference is the Mandola is played mostly for Solo work, but the Tenor Banjo plays Cords in the Orchestra, and I mean it too when I was playing in the band in here. First I learned a Tenor Guitar and then a Tenor Banjo, and now the Mandola, but for Solo work only. Well now Sonny…I am sure happy, to hear about you and your pals, had nice holidays at Miami and that you all had a good time, Well heart of mine, sure hope things come our way for next year, then I’ll be there in your arms, and maybe that sure will be a happy feeling for Maggie and You. Well Sonny keep up your chin, and don’t worry about your dear Dad, and when again you allowed a vacation, I want you and your dear Mother to come here together, as I sure would love to see you and Maggie…Now Son about me please do not worry, as when you see me again, you sure will be surprised, in fact Junior I am 7 1/2 pounds under 200 Ha Ha, and in good shape, my routine here is Morning Yard, I mean the amusement Yard, Baseball, Horseshoes Courts, and Hand-ball courts, Checkers and Dominoes, I and a friend of mine keep all items in perfect shape, and work all morning, and afternoons yard if its sunny otherwise I play my music, until 3 P.M., and from 3 P.M. I write songs…Tell Mother to order for you a Monthly Magazine I get here, Called ‘Fortune’…as to my estimation I think it is the most sensible Magazine written. Well Son, there isn’t much I can write, but chin up, always, and at any time, there is something you need or want, please don’t forget Son, that whatever you ask for, it will be done irregardless…I know Maggie gets out to your College suite often, as that sure breaks up the old Blues, and when you see her again give her a couple dozen kisses Capone style and a first class hug…God bless you my dear Son, and it’s short time Son, I will be with you in less than a year.

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