The catalog of upcoming Rock Island Premier Gun Auction is now published on the company’s website and as always, it is full of incredibly interesting, historical and rare firearms. In this article, we’ll take a look at two consecutive lots (#417 and #418) each containing a Colt pistol that despite being regular guns have high values because they are attributed to some of the most feared gangsters of American history – Al Capone and Pretty Boy Floyd.
If you are following our series of articles dedicated to the largest American firearm auctions, then I am sure you have seen multiple times that firearms of little to no rarity are sold for astronomical prices because of the fact that they were owned by historically significant figures, whether heroes or villains. If not the connection to Al Capone, one of the most recognizable criminals of the Great Depression era, this Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless pistol would cost dozens of times less than its estimated price of $35,00-$55,000. This pistol is consigned along with a letter written by Lucille Kahn, the widow of Karl Kahn, a crime reporter working for “Chicago American” and “The Real Detective” who wrote multiple articles about Al Capone. Kahn interviewed Capone while accompanying him to federal prison and according to Kahn’s widow, this pistol was given to her husband during this trip by one of the Capone’s mob members.
This 1911 pistol is attributed to Pretty Boy Floyd, another notorious criminal figure of the ’20s and ’30s declared “Public Enemy No. 1”. After about a year from the “Kansas City Massacre” where he allegedly took part in shooting a prisoner and four escorting law enforcement officers, Floyd was ambushed in Ohio and eventually shot by the team led by Melvin Purvis, an FBI agent famous for taking out John Dillinger. Presumably, this Colt 1911 was one of the two pistols recovered from Floyd’s body. And that’s why the estimated price range of this rather ordinary 1911 is 10,000 to $20,000.
For more information, click on the images of pistols to proceed to corresponding Rock Island Auction Company pages where you can read more detailed descriptions as well as find the scanned letters and articles accompanying each of the lots.
This Rock Island Premier Gun Auction was initially scheduled to take place on April 24-26, however, it has been postponed indefinitely due to the Coronavirus pandemic.